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Blending Literary Learning with International Adventure: Barbara Rooke Travel Prize

Mary Wollstonecraft's quest for self-determination inspires Heidi Dienesch to trace journey of 18th- century author throughout Scandinavia


Having previously studied abroad in France as a Trent University student, Heidi Dienesch is no stranger to international learning. Thanks to the Barbara Rooke Travel Prize, the recent graduate of English Literature, French Studies and the Queen’s-Trent Concurrent Education program, is eagerly packing her bags once again.

Awarded the prize for academic excellence in her English Literature, Ms. Dienesch is off to Scandinavia to follow in the footsteps of a favourite author and personal hero, Mary Wollstonecraft.

In addition to her broken-in passport, Ms. Dienesch’s packing checklist includes a copy of Wollstonecraft’s, Letters Written during a Short Residence in Denmark, Sweden and Norway; excitement and self-discovery.

“One of the things that really resonated with me about Mary Wollstonecraft, was her simultaneous dedication to her independence and desire to improve the world around her,” stated Ms. Dienesch. “As a new graduate who will be going into the field of education, I also feel motivated to live the life I choose for myself while contributing to the lives of others. The Barbara Rooke Travel Prize is giving me the invaluable opportunity to expand my horizons on how I might accomplish this.”

Having written an essay about Wollstonecraft’s work, Ms. Dienesch feels the author is a woman ahead of her time who took charge of her own life. She admired Ms. Wollstonecraft’s courage to travel to unfamiliar countries and was struck by her vulnerability, humour and engagement with social justice.

Following her travels this July throughout Scandinavia, Ms. Dienesch will blog about her adventure and attend a celebration at Trent to share her experiences with fellow students.

She stated, “I feel so fortunate that Trent has given me the chance to go abroad once again! I hope that over the course of my journeys through Scandinavia, I’ll be able to challenge myself by stepping outside my comfort zone, by traveling independently and exposing myself to a new culture.”

Recognizing travel as a valuable way to learn about herself and the world around her, Ms. Dienesch feels the Barbara Rooke Travel Prize is a clear indication of Trent’s dedication to experiential learning.

Posted on Thursday, July 7, 2016.

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