Jason Wolbeck is an ambassador who study abroad in London
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
The day that I arrived in London is something that I will always remember. I traveled alone and had to count on myself to find where I needed to go. After figuring out the Tube system (which is pretty easy btw), I was shocked to hear multiple languages spoken by those around me. I never expected them to speak anything other than English based on how the people looked but I quickly learned that in London you can't count on appearances alone. After making it to my destination and stepping onto the street I quickly became lost. It took me a while to realize that the street signs are located on the sides of buildings rather than on poles as in the U.S. This, along with having to look the opposite direction for traffic, both threw me off a bit (especially after a very long flight). But I of course adjusted and these became things that I came to appreciate about the wonderful city of London.
Why did you choose the program in which you participated?
I chose to study abroad in order to experience something completely new and different. It was the perfect way for me to leave the comfort zone that I built up at Saint John's behind and truly go off on my own. I wanted to emerge myself into a culture that I'd never had the opportunity to deal with before and see what it all had to offer. The reason that I chose London specifically was that I love city life- the culture and always being able to find something to do is great. Being a management major, it was awesome to have an internship in a different country as well.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
I'm sure by now you've heard what a 'once in a lifetime' experience this is and all that good stuff. Well its true. But more than just that studying abroad is fun. You get to make your own decisions and make new friends that you will still spend time with after you get back to CSB/SJU. Of course it will be tough at times missing friends and family back home but this will make you realize how much more they mean to you once you return. College is all about new experiences and this is one that I encourage everyone to try. Trust me, you will be glad that you did.
How has the trip affected you? How are you different for having completed the experience?
The semester that I spent abroad was much more than just a trip. It was a learning experience- not only about a different culture but also about myself. I definitely became more independent and less timid about trying new things while abroad which has come back with me here in the U.S. I have also become less ignorant about other cultures since I was actually able to experience them first hand through trips that I took while in London. Overall I have noticed that I grew as a person and I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to study abroad.
What advice do you have for future Study Abroad Students?
Do as many things as you possibly can while abroad. Time goes extremely fast, especially towards the end of the semester. But also realize that you can't possibly do everything that you might set your mind on which is okay. Don't be afraid to try new things as well because you never know what you might end up liking, and in the end studying abroad should be a way for you to grow as an individual and find out new things that you never before had the chance to uncover.
Do you have questions about studying abroad in London? Email Jason at firstname.lastname@example.org.