Study Abroad / Saint Mary's Programs


Talking Tolkien in England

Short-term Study Abroad Program

PH 388 – Talking Tolkien will cover primary, secondary, and even popular aspects of the life and fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien. Students will better appreciate biographical, historical, and intellectual influences on the life and work of both Tolkien and on England itself.

January 8, 2024 by 4:00pm is the last day to withdraw (and not have to pay the course fee). Please inform the Study Abroad office if/when you choose to withdraw. Withdrawal after this day/time will not eliminate the requirement to pay the course fee. By January 12, 2024, the course fee will be set & adjusted if necessary.

Course Information
  • PH 388 – Talking Tolkien in England
  • 3 credits
  • Spring semester course
  • Satisfies general education CE requirement
  • Engage with Tolkien’s primary texts before traveling to England to explore related sites.


Travel Dates

May 5 – May 15, 2024


Trip Highlights / Tentative Itinerary

London: Millennium Bridge, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, London Eye, Parliament, and the Imperial War Museum

Oxford: Bodleian Library

York: Tour of Pembroke College, St. Anthony of Padua Church, and Wolvercote Cemetery.

Alnwick: “Pasture walk”, Alnwick Castle

Cambridge: Walking tour


Sunday, May 5:  Depart from Minneapolis International Airport

Monday, May 6: Arrive at Heathrow.  Take tube to accommodation site (2 nights) near Kings Cross.  Check baggage and take tube to Piccadilly Circus.  Walk to Leicester Square for late lunch at Bella Italia.  Walk to Trafalgar Square and across Millennium Bridge to London Eye, then the Parliament, Big Ben and on to Buckingham Palace.  Take tube back to Piccadilly.

Tuesday, May 7:  Breakfast at accommodation site; depart for museums.  Tour two museums in the a.m.  Take tube back into city center for late lunch at Pizza Express, Imperial War Museum visit after.

Wednesday, May 8: Breakfast at accommodation site. Take train to Oxford.   Arrive at Oxford accommodation site (2 nights) and check in.  Go for afternoon walk around Oxford and late lunch at the Turf Tavern.  Attend lecture at the Bodleian Library, then back to accommodations for class discussion.

Thursday, May 9: Breakfast at accommodation site.  Tour of Pembroke College and chat with Tolkien scholar, then lunch at the Head of the River.  Bus tour to see 20 Northmoor Road, Oxford and 76 Sandfield Rd, Headington (where Tolkien lived), and St. Anthony of Padua Church where he worshiped.  Finally, a stop at Wolvercote Cemetery to view JRR and Edith Tolkien’s grave site.  Back to Oxford.

Friday, May 10:  Breakfast at accommodation site.  Tour of Merton College, then depart for York.  Check in to York accommodation site (1 night), then do evening walk of The Shambles, town walls and York Minster, followed by evening meal at Ye Olde Starr Inn.

Saturday, May 11: Breakfast at accommodation site.  Free to shop downtown and/or go to Jorvik Viking Museum in the a.m.  Leave at 11:30 a.m.  Stop in Durham.  Do a town walk and view Durham Cathedral.  Lunch on your own.  Depart for the north around 4 p.m.  Arrive in Alnwick at approximately 5:30 p.m.  Check in to castle (3 nights).  Welcome dinner at Dirty Bottles at 7:30 p.m.  Town walk afterwards.

Sunday, May 12: Breakfast at Greggs.  Do the “pasture walk”, then tour Alnwick Castle at 10 a.m.  Depart for day at Bamburgh at 2 p.m.  Early dinner at the Copper Kettle at 4 p.m.  Early evening lecture, Lion Tower Classroom, Alnwick Castle.

Monday, May 13: Breakfast at Greggs.  Depart for Edinburgh.  Arrive at 11 a.m. and do walking tour of Royal Mile.  Free time for a couple of hours, then meet up at the World’s End to do a hike of Arthur’s Seat.  Depart at 5 p.m. and return to Alnwick.  Late Farewell Meal at Lilburns at 8 p.m.

Tuesday, May 14 : Breakfast at Costa Coffee.  Depart for Cambridge.  Stop for rest and lunch along the way.  Arrive in Cambridge approximately 3 p.m. and do a walking tour of Cambridge and meal at The Eagle Pub.  Leave at 6:30 p.m. and arrive at Heathrow Hotel (1 night) at 8 p.m.

Wednesday, May 15: Breakfast at hotel.  Depart for Heathrow via shuttle.  Fly home.

* itinerary subject to change at any time

Course Fee

$2,850-$3,400* – Course fee covers all housing and some in-country meals, most activities and in-country transportation.

Cost of airfare, passport and some meals are not included in the course fee and are the responsibility of the student.

New 2024 U.K. Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) costs may be implemented before travel.

*Cost will vary based on student enrollment.


Students will stay in hotels or hostels.


Eligibility is based on a minimum GPA of 2.0 (2.5 preferred); Sophomore status or above; a review of applicants behavior record at Saint Mary’s; and faculty recommendations.

Application Process

Students must apply by December 8, 2023. Once accepted, students will be enrolled in PH 388 for the spring semester. Accepted students will have until 4:00pm on January 8, 2024 to withdraw or the full course fee will be non-refundable.

England Application



While the United Kingdom is slightly smaller than Oregon, England’s size is about 50,363 square miles (130,357 square kilometers), or about the size of the state of New York.

England is one of three nations that make up the island of Great Britain. The other two are Scotland and Wales. The United Kingdom is composed of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Low mountains and rugged hills to the north are set against level and rolling plains in the south and southeast. Nearly half of the land is covered with meadows or pastures, while 29 percent is used for farming.

London is the capital city of the United Kingdom. It has an estimated population of 7.5 million and a metropolitan area population of between 12 and 14 million.


The climate is temperate, but skies are overcast more than half the time. Winds often blow from the southwest. The weather in the north is wetter and slightly cooler than in the south. Although winter temperatures rarely drop below 25°F (-4°C) and summer temperatures rarely exceed 75°F (24°C), humidity levels ranging from medium to high can make it seem colder or warmer than the temperature indicates. In the United Kingdom, temperature is measured in Celsius. F=(C*1.8)+32.  Ex: 21°C = 70°F.


When Central Standard Time is in effect in the United States, London is six hours ahead. Daylight Savings Time is also observed in the United Kingdom.


British currency (sterling) consists of pounds (£) and pence (p), sometimes referred to as “quid” and “p”. 100p = £1. Notes are issued for £5, £10, £20, and £50 and coins for 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1, and £2.

More Information

For More Information

Joseph Tadie, Ph.D.
Faculty Leader
Associate Professor Theology and Philosophy
Saint Mary’s Hall, SM 328
Campus Box: #1504

Vicki McDonald, M.A.
Coordinator of Study Abroad
International Center
The Heights 103
Campus Box #51

Find Us

The Heights International Center, Room 104
Winona Campus
Hours: Monday–Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.