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Harry Potter course charms NKU students abroad

Two+students+pose+at+the+platform+9+3%2F4+entrance+at+the+train+station+in+London.+
Two students pose at the platform 9 3/4 entrance at the train station in London.

Two students pose at the platform 9 3/4 entrance at the train station in London.

John Alberti

John Alberti

Two students pose at the platform 9 3/4 entrance at the train station in London.

Michael Stegner, Contributor

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John Alberti believes a study abroad course for his Harry Potter class offers a unique experience that the semester-long course at NKU cannot.

NKU students enrolled in Alberti’s Harry Potter course now have the opportunity to attend Hogwarts and study the magical world of J.K. Rowling’s imagination in London.

Alberti has been teaching a Harry Potter film and literature course at NKU since 2012. Because of the popularity of the class, he decided to turn it into  “Harry Potter on the Page and on the Screen,” a study abroad program he created in 2014.

With Harry Potter being so embedded in British culture, the NKU English professor believes the course in London helps students immerse themselves in the world from which Potter’s story was derived.

“It is a great way to start to explore the cultural background of Harry Potter,” Alberti said. “Not just in the setting, but the political, moral and cultural attitudes of the UK.”

Through the Cooperative Center for Study Abroad (CCSA), students can choose from a select number of courses taught by professors from various American universities and earn college credit hours during this two week trip from Dec. 26 through Jan. 8.

“This is my second time teaching it abroad,” Alberti said.  “Another NKU professor, Andy Miller, was teaching British Fantasy abroad through the CCSA program and starting incorporating Harry Potter into his curriculum.”

Alberti and fellow English Professor Andrew Miller rotate teaching their courses each year. Alberti is teaching the Harry Potter class this winter while Miller will be taking over next year with his British Fantasy course.

“My British Fantasy class loved the Harry Potter part so much that it’s grown into it’s own course,” Miller said.

With Harry Potter being so embedded in British culture, Alberti believes the course in London offers a unique experience that the semester-long course at NKU cannot.

“It is a great way to start to explore the cultural background of Harry Potter,” Alberti said.. “Not just in the setting, but the political, moral and cultural attitudes of the UK.”

Students will stay in a downtown London hotel during the trip. The hotel acts as a centralized location for the CCSA students, and while sometimes classes will be held in conference rooms, the majority of courses offer several field trips.

Besides studying things related to the original seven books and eight movies, students can expect to discuss “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” (a new film that will have premiered by this time) and “The Cursed Child” live plays, which are Rowling’s newest additions to the Harry Potter universe.

Katie Waitman, an NKU undergraduate student who has traveled to London twice for CCSA studies said she took Dr. Alberti’s Harry Potter class at NKU first.  When she learned it would be offered as a study abroad experience, she didn’t hesitate before signing up.

“It was like an extension of my literature class at NKU,” Waitman said. “We spent a lot of time talking about architecture and history, and how they related back to Harry Potter and how J.K. Rowling used those things to create her wizarding world.”

Waitman is not going on the trip this winter, but has contemplated returning again the next time the course is offered because she enjoyed her time so much the last trip.

Waitman highly recommends  for students to take the plunge and study abroad..

“You should do it,” Waitman said. “If you’re worried about money, there are scholarships. If you’re worried that you don’t know anybody, I made tons of friends that I still talk to on a daily basis. You won’t get this experience on your own. I promise.”

For more information on Dr. Alberti’s course, or any other classes that are available during the CCSA London Program, check out their website for details. The early application deadline is Sept. 14, and the final deadline is Sept. 30.

John Alberti

Two students pose at the platform 9 3/4 entrance at the train station in London.

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Harry Potter course charms NKU students abroad