Living in a Castle.

My summer trip abroad at Harlaxton College in England.



In that incredibly small number of days, I am going to board the plane at O’Hare to embark upon my journey to England. It is there where I will spend five weeks on an EIU faculty-led study abroad trip, living at Harlaxton College in Grantham, about an hour north of London. Essentially we will be reading, traveling, adventuring, and learning, all of which happen to be a few of my favorite things.

In my wee high school days, I remember perusing through Eastern’s website and stumbling upon the page for this trip [ ]. As I read through the description and itinerary, I realized how perfectly this program fit my personal and professional interests (I am an English Education major), and I couldn’t help but imagine myself living inside that gorgeous manor.

Seriously, is this not a shot right out of Downton Abbey, or what? I can just picture Mr. Carson in there ironing the morning newspaper, awaiting my arrival…

However, at that time, I never thought the trip would ever actually happen, and I simply continued to dream about it from the comforts of my good ole’ pumpkin capital hometown. It wasn’t until I began my freshman year at Eastern that I realized how feasible of a reality studying abroad really was. I went to countless fairs and information sessions before deciding that I really couldn’t let this amazing opportunity wait any longer. With the encouragement of one of my great friends and future roomie, Danielle, we basically decided “I’ll go if you go!” and thus we are going. It is nearly impossible to wrap my head around the fact that the countdown we started back in the fall is already down to my mere fingers.


Only ten days!

I am creating this blog fulfill the requirements for both my Honors Experience (one of the provisions of being a Presidential Scholar) and service hours for the Office of Study Abroad (through which I was graciously awarded a bit of scholarship). However, I am also hoping this blog will serve as a way to record the adventures I anticipate having and to keep my family and friends updated on my whereabouts. I owe an immense amount of gratitude to those people and others for making this trip possible. Thanks go out to…

  • the ladies in the Office of Study Abroad for helping me through the preliminary steps of planning and making it as simple as possible.
  • Dr. Hanlon and Dr. McGregor for leading us, as well as the other EIU English faculty who have undertaken this trip in the past.
  • my former teachers and mentors for inspiring me to this point in my life and for composing several letters of recommendation as I planned for the adventure.
  • my friends, who I already know will get sick of my thousands of photo uploads on Facebook and my future inability to say anything other than, “This one time in England…”, and especially to my boyfriend, who will have to endure yet another five weeks without my face (although I’m sure he can’t wait for a break from my crazy self).
  • and finally, my amazing parents for their continual source of inspiration, love, encouragement, and support (both emotionally and, of course, financially).

In my mind, I am so ready for this journey to begin, although packing-wise…that’s another story. I cannot wait to fill this blog with my own traveling stories during my trip to England this summer.


Author: Helen Plevka

Lover of books, warm beverages, nieces, and cats. Graduate student in Comparative Literature at Indiana University. Clarinetist. Former English teacher and study abroader.

2 thoughts on “TEN DAYS.

  1. Helen, we are loving your very VERY happy face in these photos 🙂 Can’t wait to follow along on your adventure.

  2. Pingback: sitting in an airport – RESONANCE

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