Hogwarts or Bust


“This is epic.”

Those three words became the go-to phrase for a group of Blackhawks during a nine-day study abroad trip through Scotland and England in May.

Keokuk professor Jodi Cook spent three years organizing the trip with an educational tour provider.

“It’s really important that we offer this opportunity to our students, who may not otherwise get a chance to travel overseas,” Cook said.

The pair leveraged the popular Harry Potter book series throughout the trip, mixing the fictional references to historical and cultural sites.

Students took in sites in Edinburgh where J.K. Rowling wrote the series, walked around London to visit locations that inspired the movies’ sets, and visited Warner Bros. Studios to see actual sets, props, and costumes.

They also walked the same centuries-old steps as millions before them to tour Edinburgh Castle and learn about monarchs, catch a glimpse of Buckingham Palace, and even create their own student Stonehenge right next to the real thing.

Nearly 20 SCC students and alumni participated, with half having never stepped foot in a plane.

“I’ve dreamed of traveling outside of the country someday, I just didn’t know when or how,” SCC student Kami Miller, Hamilton, IL, shared. “Then I learned about this trip and it was perfect.”

Miller liked that all of the details were planned out, so everyone could rest easy and enjoy the experience.

I really like that we had some time to just explore,” Miller said. “We could venture off and see different parts of town that interested us.”

Perhaps the best part of the trip was the bond forged amongst 20 travelers who hardly knew one another before boarding the plane on day one.

“It’s important for students to see the world outside that exists beyond our region, and to take in the rich history and different cultures. It’s fun to consider how the two are illustrated in present day literature,” Cook said. “But the friendships formed and the lasting shared memories are my favorite part of the experience for the students.”

Plans for a trip to Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and France are already in the works for 2024.

Although students can earn credits for going on the trip, Cook stresses that anyone with an affiliation to SCC is invited to join.

“Current students, alumni, even family members. We encourage everyone to take the opportunity to travel abroad with us.”

To learn details about registering for the next trip, contact Cook at jcook@scciowa.edu.

Find photos from the trip at bit.ly/SCCIowaPhotos.

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