Imagine seeing A Midsummer Night's Dream at Shakespeare's Globe Theater in London! That's the dream Mike Dodaro fulfilled on an early summer night through Purdue's Department of English. Mike and six other students joined Melanie Shoffner, assistant professor of English education, for two courses on teaching secondary English language arts. The group also enjoyed many cultural attractions, including the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain, Westminster Abbey, St Paul's Cathedral, Imperial War Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Highgate Cemetery, The Ragged School and Oxford.
Hometown: St. John, Indiana
Major: English Education
Career goal: High school English teacher
Favorite pastime: Reading comic books
One thing most people don't know: Mike plans to buy a boat and turn it into a floating library.
Why he studied abroad: "I did it at the very last minute when my summer plans had fallen through and Dr. Shoffner sent me an e-mail. I've always wanted to travel but was afraid. I thought studying English in London would be nice because I could speak English and ease into it. Plus, all six credits went toward my major."
What he thought of Shakespeare's Globe: "It was such a neat performance. I had never seen professional theater before. I really liked it except the guy that played Thisbe. I played that part before and thought I did a better job."
Highlight of the trip: "Dr. Shoffner and I went to the symphony at St. Martins-in-the- Field in Trafalgar Square. We had bread pudding in the crypt of the church while they played Vivaldi's "Four Seasons." It was the first time I had really interacted with a professor outside of class and had such a cultural experience."
Favorite attraction: "The James Bond exhibit was cool. The museums are free but the exhibits cost money. That one was worth it."
On the people of London: "We had such great tour guides. They were fun and helpful. People were friendly. Everyone would say, 'Oh, you're from Indiana? Indiana Jones!"
Craziest story: "The very first night there, I got a sandwich at a coffee house and had a lot of reading to do. They asked me if I wanted to wake up or sleep. When I said 'wake up' they gave me a triple shot of Espresso. I had never had strong coffee before and was bouncing off the wall. I had to write one journal entry and wrote four."
Trip benefits: "As a recent student teacher at Lafayette Jefferson High School, it's cool to have seen the places about which I am teaching. For example, in 1984, they describe the church Dr. Shoffner and I visited. I could tell students I've been in it."
On whether he'd recommend studying abroad: "I'd recommend it in a heartbeat to anyone. It's important to take advantage of these opportunities while we have them before a career becomes consuming."
By Marydell Forbes