Winter evenings in England fold in with soft gray and blue tones and a breeze of cool air, often accompanied by a light drizzle. Streetlamps cast halos of light, and the cozy city buzz drones on as people pop umbrellas, board double-decker buses, or duck into Tube stations heading for home.
Inside two stately Victorian mansions on 27 Palace Court in Kensington, the evening glow from lamps reflects cheerfully on forty-one college students, two resident managers, and four faculty members, who, with their families, bow their heads in prayer, and then meet at the large oak tables for an evening meal. Some students eat quickly and don coats and scarves to guard against the cold night—there are shows to attend, plays to see, and a whole new side of the city to explore.
To Be or Not To Be . . .
The London study abroad program began small but determinedly. The program kicked off in June 1975 with twenty-eight students directed by Stanley A. Taylor, a political science professor,
and John B. Harris, an English professor. Students and faculty lived at the Onslow Gardens hotel and attended classes nearby at the Hyde Park Chapel.1
It was not the first program of its kind. The first BYU student international study program began in 1958, with students studying French in Canada. A few Spanish-language programs in Mexico cropped up at the same time, but they were held inconsistently with professors primarily working on their own. Dean Harold Glen Clark, of the Division of Continuing Education, questioned the possibility of regular study abroad programs in the early 1960s. At Clark’s request, Richard H. Henstrom, associate dean, conducted a national study of existing study abroad offerings at other universities. Henstrom worked with Robert C. Taylor, Department of Travel Studies chair, to examine BYU’s options. Both decided BYU would benefit from such programs.