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Kimberley Thompson '05 Promotes Study Abroad in U.K.

As a Student Ambassador, the senior shares her experiences from R-MWC's program at Reading, England

11/12/2004 4:39:43 PM


Kimberley Thompson '05

To say that Kimberley Thompson ’05 is an Anglophile is an understatement.

“England is magical,” says Kimberley. “It’s the land of King Arthur, C.S. Lewis, and Harry Potter. When I left for England, I set out to be enchanted by everything I saw. I was not disappointed.”

After spending her junior year abroad with the Randolph-Macon Woman’s College program at the University of Reading, England, Thompson returned to campus ready to recruit other students, hoping they would have an experience like hers.

Her enthusiasm did not go unnoticed. Thompson has been named a Student Ambassador by the British Council USA, the United Kingdom’s international organization for educational opportunities and cultural relations.

As one of 50 Student Ambassadors throughout the United States, Thompson serves as a resource for students who are interested in studying abroad in the U.K. She presents programs and slide shows, hosts events, and speaks to prospective participants at study-abroad interest fairs.

“It’s an honor to be selected, but any one of my friends could just as easily have been chosen,” she says. “We’re all out there recruiting and talking up the program. We’ve got several sophomores interested in next year.”

A second Reading program participant, Safia Dirie, a student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, was also selected.

“Kimberley is very enthusiastic about her Reading experience, as are most of our students,” says Program Director Paul Irwin. “If you read their journal entries in the Tales from Reading section of our Web site (, you can see that they’re having adventures. It’s not just about going to class.” Kimberley was nominated to be a Student Ambassador by Irwin and program Resident Director Randolph Ivy.

While in Reading, Kimberley sought out new experiences such as fencing and change ringing.

“Change-ringers go to these wonderful English medieval churches and ‘ring changes’ (ringing the bells in slightly different patterns each time),” says Kimberley. “Mostly I rang rounds (just following the person next to me) rather than changes, as the ropes are more difficult to handle than you might think. It's all about finding a rhythm! After practice there would always be a trip to the pub; the Hobgoblin if we rang at St. Mary's and the Hopleaf if we were at St. Giles. Once we went on a trip to London and rang at five churches in one day.”

All of these experiences provided a balance to the academic challenges Kimberley had in England. “I’m a better writer and researcher after going to Reading,” she says. “It really helped prepare me for the kind of work I’d be doing in senior seminar.”

Kimberley recently did a presentation on the Reading program at an open house weekend for prospective students. And after her slide show, a young woman approached with questions. “She attended the same high school I did,” recalls Kimberley, “and talking to her made me think about how far I’ve come and how much I’ve grown since I was in her shoes. When you study abroad, you become a different person. I know it’s a cliché, but it really does broaden your horizons.”

>>> Learn more about R-MWC's Program at Reading...

The Student Ambassador Program

Selected by the British Council USA, Student Ambassadors serve as a resource for others who think they might like to study in the U.K. Students who have been to a British university and are currently enrolled at an undergraduate U.S. institution are eligible to become Stu

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CONTACT: Brenda Edson, Director of College Relations