When most UT students wake up in the morning, the Global Leadership Scholars have already been busy for hours.

Those students have a head start; they are currently living in London as part of the program's signature trip. The College of Business Administration sends the small group of scholars to study abroad in England during the second semester of their sophomore year.

Louis Trapnell, a sophomore in GLS who is a marketing major, was attracted to the collaborative nature of the program.

"I've always seen the importance of being in a community that shares the same values as I do," Trapnell said. "GLS pushes me to excel academically, in leadership and to develop a global perspective."

The program begins in the first semester of sophomore year, as students begin to take honors pre-business courses and attend leadership seminars.

The second semester sends the scholars abroad, as the 27 UT students studying in London right now enjoy the sights and sounds of a new setting.

Studying in London gives students the opportunity to take classes in an environment different than at UT. Because there are only a small number of GLS students studying in London, they have become a close-knit group outside and inside the classroom. They are able to help each other through the rigorous courses and learn from each other.

Robert Graham, a sophomore member of GLS majoring in finance, said that the curriculum demands they work together.

“Each of us has different strengths,” he said. “The courses are designed so no human can complete them with full sanity intact by the end without utilizing the entire group.”

The courses are challenging, but they also provide students with experience and knowledge that will be useful for a lifetime.

“The courses are no cupcake by any means, but are very rewarding,” Trapnell said.

Students in GLS also get the chance to experience the culture of England firsthand.

“The classes are arranged so that we have a lot of free time to experience London,” Graham said. “Class is from 9 to 11 a.m. and then 1 to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, leaving plenty of time to have snowball fights in Russell Square, visit Buckingham Palace or take a trip to Oxford.”

Last week the students got the chance to take a weekend trip to Oxford. There they went on tours of the city and visited many business sites. Students also toured author C.S. Lewis’s home. Trapnell said that even though some students got sick from the weather, they all still had a blast.

Graham and Trapnell both agreed that their favorite part of GLS is the friendships and connections they are building with other students along with faculty. By the end of the trip, students expect to leave with 26 new friendships formed.

“There is no possible way to get through three years of honors classes, thesis work and internship hunting without a group that can keep you laughing along the way,” Graham said. “I had high expectations for the program going in, and GLS has met if not exceeded every hope I’ve had.”