Visualising America: The Student Experience in the United States

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KJ photoTo lauch our online photo exhibition of images from your year (or semester) abroad, Dr Karen Jones writes:

A key part of the American Studies programme at Kent has been the study abroad experience.  Many of our graduates will undoubtedly look back fondly on their time spent abroad – getting to grips with staying in a different country, navigating Thanksgiving Holiday, Independence Day, Spring Break and the esoteric rituals of the sorority and the sports field , not to mention the subtle rules of beer pong.  And, of course, the work…with its grade point averages, mid-term papers and pop quizzes.

These days, the UKC student can go to the United States (and, indeed, Canada, Europe or Latin America) as part of their American Studies degree for either a year or a term. Study abroad remains an integral part of the student experience and a fabulous way of examining American Studies ‘in action’ on its home turf.

Since 2005, the Centre for American Studies has run a successful study abroad photography competition for students spending time in the United States. Each year, all entries have been shown in gallery space at the University of Kent and prizes awarded for the best images at a special reception hosted by the Centre. Each of the winning photographs are shown here – providing a worthy testament to the vitality and diversity of the student experience in the USA as well as offering up a stunning visual compendium on the ‘United States’ as a visual subject (which turns out, all told, to be pretty photogenic).

In this 50th anniversary year of the University of Kent, and to celebrate our inaugural alumni newsletter, we would very much like to take the opportunity to invite all American Studies graduates to submit their own snaps of their study abroad experiences in the United States – digital or old-school prints (probably not slides!) equally welcome.  All will be displayed in the second edition of the newsletter.

Dr Karen Jones, Senior Lecturer in American and Environmental History


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