Allie Dickson pursuing her love of history at Cambridge

Local student enrolled in an international summer school program in Cambridge, England.

Dickson is soaking up the history of one of the world’s oldest universities.

Dickson is soaking up the history of one of the world’s oldest universities.

Local resident Allie Dickson is enjoying life in the United Kingdom.

She is currently attending the International Summer School term one program offered by the University of Cambridge’s Continuing Education program.

The University of Cambridge is one of the world’s oldest universities. It comprises of 31 colleges and over 150 departments, faculties, schools and other institutions.

The oldest colleges at Cambride are Peterhouse, founded in 1284, Claire College, founded in 1326, Corpus Christi College, founded in 1352, Christ’s College founded in 1505 and Trinity College founded in 1546 which has notable graduates such as Prince Charles and Sir Isaac Newton.

King Henry VIII was the founder of Trinity College.

Dickson is staying at Newnham College, founded in 1871.

She said to Lakes District News, “During the day I attend three special interest subject classes, as well as a plenary series on the subject of intelligence.”

Her first class is the rise of civilization presented by cultural anthropologist and archaeologist Dr. Nicholas James.

“Dr. James also teaches my second class of the day which is archaeology and the discovery of the world,” Dickson added.

Her third class is with Piers Bursill-Hill who is a lecturer for the department of pure mathematics and mathematical statistics at the University of Cambridge.

“Surprisingly, he’s teaching the history of medicine from the ancients to the 19 century, which is proving to be a fascinating course,” she said.

In addition Dickson said she has a one hour evening lecture on a variety of subjects by a variety of guest lecturers.

“So far we’ve had lecturers such as a former MI5 agent, a lecture on the British Monarchy, by famed author David Starkey and one on a forgetting pill that will help people with post traumatic stress disorder, addiction and more.

“I decided to attend the summer school program here at Cambridge for several reasons, but the most prominent among them is my love of history. For this type of study there is no better place than Cambridge, England to pursue my interests in the field in an environment so rich in history and tradition,” Dickson said.

According to Dickson, Cambridge University is over 800 years old. “It’s easy to see why the history of the place might be so fascinating. I’ve always wanted to study abroad and coming out of high school I also knew that I wanted to pursue my love of history further, which is made difficult by the fact that I’m currently a biomedical major at University of Northern B.C. This program has given me the chance to give something new a try while also getting the experience of a lifetime and I’m enjoying every minute of it,” Dickson added.

In her blog post about her experience Dickson said, “Classes have been awesome, although I have to say the extra lectures have really been the highlight for me. We had a lecture on the current political situation in Syria and how the events have unfolded in the past year, as well as how prior events in their country’s history has shaped the political landscape. The guest lecturer was John Jackson, who also lectured for us a few days ago on military intelligence giving us an insight into the gathering, passing and use of intelligence in modern times as well as some past historical examples.”

Dickson said her favourite guest lecturer up until this point has been Dr. Francis Wells who is a consultant Cardio-thoraic surgeon at Papworth Hospital in the UK. “He is famous for being the first person in history to perform open heart surgery live in 2007. His lecture was about open heart surgery, which had us all more than a little worried as to what we might see and hear during his hour long lecture. However, I believe everyone was very pleasantly surprised that he spent the hour speaking instead about Leonardo da Vinci. It was a fascinating talk that ranged over Leonardo’s early life and education to his final anatomical drawings that are true pieces of artwork both from a scientific and artistic point of view. I sincerely enjoyed hearing what Dr. Wells had to say and learned a lot about an incredibly influential member of world history.”


Dickson is in good company as previous graduates of the university have included Charles Darwin, David Attenborough, artist Quentin Blake, actors John Cleese and Hugh Laurie, as well as 15 British Prime Ministers, nine monarchs and a large number of other royals.