University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire


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Harry Potter Film Site To Be Home
To Study Abroad Students Next Semester

 MAILED:  July 30, 2003

EAU CLAIRE - The site for Harry Potter's flying lessons in the popular "Chamber of Secrets" film will soon be as familiar to Crystal Loschko as her parent's backyard in Chippewa Falls.

Loschko, 22, is one of four University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students who will study for the first time this fall at Alnwick Castle, one of the most filmed locations in the north of England. Portions of the first two Harry Potter movies were filmed there, making the historic castle a popular tourist site in recent years.

"The Harry Potter connection has made a really big difference here," said Brandon Johnson, resident coordinator of the study abroad program located there. "At one time about 8,000 people a year visited the castle; this year they expect about 450,000 visitors."

Loschko, a junior public relations major, has seen the Potter films, but for her the big draw in England is the music scene. "I love music and some of my favorite groups are British," she said. "That's my big reason for wanting to live in England for a while. I'm also a Tony Blair fan."

UW-Eau Claire students will join students from St. Cloud State (Minn.) University for the semester-long study abroad program. They will take two British Studies courses from on-site St. Cloud State faculty members and seven additional credits from visiting St. Cloud faculty.

Loschko, for example, will take a communication arts program, which applies to her field of study.

"I'm really excited about living in England. We have field trips every Friday and will spend a week in London later in the semester," Loschko said.

Karl Markgraf, director of the Center for International Education at UW-Eau Claire, said the Alnwick program is designed to expose students to new values, customs and outlooks and to give them an understanding of life in Great Britain.

St. Cloud State began the program 21 years ago. The university leases a portion of the castle for the program, including kitchen and dining facilities and student center. The classes take place in the castle, and students and faculty live in dorm rooms, also located in the castle.

The Duke of Northumberland and his family reside within the castle as well. Located on the River Aln, the castle has been home to the Duke's family for nearly 700 years. His home, which is open to the public during the summer tourist season, is filled with priceless paintings and furniture. Also open to the public is the Alnwick Gardens, which the current Duchess is restoring to its 19th century glory.

Johnson said the program meets students' needs for an affordable program with relevant coursework, a safe environment and the opportunity to interact with different cultures.

Short home stays with residents of Alnwick, a town of about 8,000 people adjacent to the castle, are an option for students in the program.

"The connection between the community and the students is very strong," Johnson said. "The people are so welcoming, and the home stays are very popular on the weekends. They are a great chance to really develop an understanding of the culture in England."

The estimated Minnesota resident program cost for one semester this year is $7,330, which includes UW-Eau Claire tuition, room, meals, round-trip transportation, cultural events, excursions, insurance and administrative fees. Not included is the cost of a passport and personal expenses.

Markgraf said students who qualify for financial aid should note that the financial aid package is based on actual costs in England, including the cost of round-trip airfare. Qualifying students also are eligible for no-interest loans to offset additional costs of study abroad.

"Students also may apply for a travel grant through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation and a VOSA scholarship through Veterans of Study Abroad," said Markgraf, adding that he thinks UW-Eau Claire's participation in the Alnwick program will grow quickly because of its reasonable cost.


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 Judy Berthiaume, Director
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 201
(715) 836-4741

Updated: July 30, 2003