2019 Travel Grant Winner Rachel Singer on Her Studies in England

Rachel traveled to Wells, England to attend the JACT Latin Summer School, an intensive, two-week Latin course.

A page from Rachel's Latin textbook, showing verb charts
Students at the program studied Latin for fifteen hours a day

Latin is an invaluable tool for a medievalist. It was the lingua franca of elite Europe for a thousand years, virtually the only European literary language before the thirteenth century, and the parent of many of the vernacular languages that eventually replaced it. It was therefore crippling that I had no knowledge of Latin. But, thanks to the Global Medieval Studies Program’s generous grant, I spent two weeks in August 2019 learning Latin grammar at an accelerated pace.

We studied Latin for around fifteen hours a day and covered the major grammatical structures at a breakneck speed. But there was still time to explore Wells Cathedral, which features some gorgeous Gothic architecture and a functioning clock from the fourteenth century! It was wonderful to take a short break from the classical subjects in my Latin course to experience a beautiful medieval cathedral.

By the end of the course, I knew enough of the language to pass a Latin GCSE (which is a British test reminiscent of an AP exam) and to start reading simple, original texts. It was incredibly rewarding to see my work pay off so quickly and I am looking forward to continuing to use my Latin here at Georgetown and beyond.

The Global Medieval Studies Program awards a travel fellowship to 2-3 students each year. Learn more about the grant.

Headshot of Rachel at the British Museum in London
Rachel at the British Museum in London
The interior of the Wells Cathedral in Somerset, England
The Wells Cathedral in Somerset, England