Date published: June 26, 2017

Student Gareth returns from a jam-packed year studying at Virginia Military Institute

Contemporary Military and International History student Gareth Staples-Jones has just come back from a jam-packed year of studies in the United States as part of his course. 20-year-old Gareth spent his second year of studies at Virginia Military Institute learning about colonial America, the US civil war, Russian politics and maritime operations. He was even taught first-hand about seamanship and military science by US Navy .

“In my final semester, on top of my normal classes, I was also doing part-time physical training with the Navy battalion and riding on Virginia’s equestrian team where we competed against other colleges like James Madison University,” says Gareth. “I made lots of friends while I was there – there are French, German and Lithuanian officer cadets who I would now consider friends.”

Gareth’s once-in-a-lifetime experience studying at Virginia is a great example of our ICZ objectives in action as it gave him the opportunity to learn directly from industry insiders. He also managed to do some travelling while he was over there, including spending two weeks in Washington DC for Thanksgiving, Los Angeles for the winter break, Alabama for Mardis Gras and Spring Break in New York City.

He adds: “Soon I’ll be going into my final year at Salford and preparing to write my dissertation which is due in January. I’m currently in the Manchester and Salford Royal Naval Unit and would like a career in the Royal Navy as a Warfare Officer Submariner.”

Lecturer in International History, Dr Dan Lomas, said: “Gareth was the first of our students to go out to Virginia Military Institute and it’s great to see him return home with so much valuable experience under his belt. By the sound of it he really excelled over there and I’m sure he’ll go on to carve out a very successful career in the Royal Navy.”

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