School of Athen by Raphael

Janet Grafton: English and Liberal Studies

Alumna Focus

Janet Grafton joined the Liberal Studies Minor program after first experiencing our distinctive approach to learning during our study abroad program in Italy. Since graduating from VIU she has taught English in Japan, co-managed a hostel near Florence and entered the MA program in Children's Literature at the University of British Columbia.

“Going to Florence with the [VIU] Liberal Studies Abroad program was a serendipitous move in my BA experience. It opened up my academic career, introduced me to an incredible range of talented people, and furthered my love of both travelling and the Humanities.

“For the first 3 years of my BA, English was my declared major, and I was content with my studies. The prospect of going abroad reeled me in, though, and the winter term prior to the trip was brightened by plans for spring in Italy. In Florence, I was impressed by the dynamism of the lectures and seminars, and with the variety of assignments. After being entrenched in traditional studies so long, the creative, all-inclusive nature of the LBST format was very appealing. I was granted a new perspective on academia.

“I continued with LBST courses the following semester, enough to declare a minor. The dynamism that I fell in love with in Italy never faded. Being part of a community of creative, intelligent, articulate people, and being immersed in the best the Humanities has to offer, gave the bones of my English BA some flesh. In retrospect, the only thing I would change about my LBST experience is starting it earlier.”