The British are Going, the British are Going!

By Summer Bontrager, CALS Communications Service

A group of students from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will travel to Great Britain this month to learn about the potential implications of the country’s Brexit vote.

Terry Alexander, senior lecturer in the economics department, and Amy Brandau, an academic advisor in economics, will take 20 students to England and Scotland during spring break as a part of a CALS study abroad program. The students range from freshmen to seniors.

Brexit is the term used to describe the impending exit of Great Britain from the European Union, or EU, a group of 28 European countries that have been bound together in a political and economic alliance for 60 years. This agreement has allowed a majority of the countries to use the same currency, the euro, and allowed the freedom to cross borders without a passport.

Great Britain intends to leave the EU to regain border control and reclaim individual business rights. Students will be focusing on how Brexit will impact trade and the economy.

Brexit:  The British Vote to Exit from the EU ... History and Possible Outcomes is the title of the spring break trip. The students will explore the government and history of Great Britain, specifically both England and Scotland. Prior to the trip, the students were required to enroll in Economics 496, a three-credit course.

“We hope our students gain knowledge they can apply to their future and career,” Brandau said. “We want them to gain an understanding of the role Great Britain and the United States play in global economics.”

Students will visit the Palace of Westminster, which houses the United Kingdom's Parliament. 

The students will arrive in Edinburgh for the first leg of the 10-day trip. Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and is the location of the Scottish Parliament and the National Museum of Scotland, which are stops on the itinerary. The four-day stay in Scotland will focus on its history and economics and the effect of Brexit.

The group will then journey to London, to visit the British Parliament and identify the differences between England and Scotland. The students also will visit the Bank of England Museum to understand how Brexit may affect the British economy.

Adam Willman

“I am anxious to speak with members of both the Scottish and English parliaments to hear their take on the issues,” Adam Willman, a senior in agronomy, said. “Specifically, I want to hear how they think the exit from the EU with help or hurt UK farmers.”

The instructors also wanted to incorporate an agricultural experience into the trip, so the students could relate it to their fields of study.

“We hope to make a trip to the University of Reading, which is England’s main agricultural university to integrate agriculture,” Alexander said. “We will speak with their faculty and then visit their research farms.”

Celeste Swanson

At the end of the eight-week course students will have background information to understand economic implications of Great Britain’s vote to exit from the European Union.

“I am looking forward to visiting London, and be immersed in the beautiful countries of England and Scotland,” said Celeste Swanson, a sophomore in agricultural business, economics and international agricultural. “I am also very excited to get to spend time with our instructors and other classmates.”