Have you ever had the desire to step out of the flow of your everyday life? Ever dreamed about testing your boundaries, immersing yourself within a different culture, and seeing places in which you’ve only read about in books?
If you have, taking an opportunity to study abroad during your undergrad may be something of great interest to you. Recently I’ve been accepted into a short 4-week study abroad program during this up coming summer. Since I’ve never really had an opportunity to travel outside of my own country I couldn’t be more excited to take on Europe in just three months!
A girl from my sorority is studying abroad at a public research university located in London, United Kingdom. While on her adventure she took time to give us some feed back from within her own experience of studying abroad.
Kelsey is twenty-one years young, currently in here senior year studying Public Relations.
Tamara: What made you want to study abroad?
Kelsey: I have always wanted to study abroad, even when I was a kid. However, I could not financially support the trip until this year. I also wanted to be sure I made the most of my college career.
T: What are you studying abroad? Classes?
K: I’m Studying communications and writing. The classes that I am taking include: fictional writing, media and multiculturalism, history of London since 1960, and fashion journalism
T: How long is the program?
K: The program is 5 months long
T: How long did the application process take? When should I start?
K:I started my application process in the summer and didn’t finish until September (for my spring program). I would say start-doing research as soon as possible to figure out where you want to go, and then find the program that suits you best. Research is key!
T: Since this university is located in another country has there been a language barrier at all?
K:I am studying at the University of Westminster. No language barrier, just awesome accents!
T: Culture differences?
K: I would say a big cultural difference is the college experience. For instance I live in a ‘dorm’ but it’s more like a small apartment. I make my own food, I only have one class a day, there are no required texts, and so everything is on you. The British school system is very much independent learning.
T: Contact with family & friends? Laptop, cell phone?
K: I use Skype and face book on my laptop! I bought a pay as you go phone for contacting my new friends in the UK. Leave your cell phone at home and make sure you have a Skype account.
T: Favorite/least favorite part of the experience?
K: Favorite- immersing myself in the culture. Least- Nothing I love London!
T: Interaction with locals, other students studying abroad?
K: My main group of friends is half American and half British. I met the Americans through our study abroad host university (Arcadia) and I met the Brits when I moved into my dorm. Most of my interaction with other British students is in class and at the student bar. That sounds terrible, but you meet so many people on Monday night (which is a huge bar night, and I have no idea why!?). In class teachers will put you in groups and I have meet multiple Brits, Americans, and students from around the globe.
T: Advice/recommendation for other students planning on studying abroad?
K: When you get abroad, it is really easy to just do what you do in the states i.e. sitting in your room on your laptop. Get out and explore! Don’t be afraid to do things by yourself. Never say no to a new experience or adventure! Make friends with the locals and overall dive into the culture. Take a break from being American and be an honorary member of that culture!