Ashley is an ambassador who studied abroad in London
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I wanted to travel outside of the United States and actively participate in another culture instead of being the typical tourist. I chose London because of how globalized and diverse the city is, plus I am from a small town and wanted to experience living in a large city. In addition, I wanted to participate in the internship to get an inside look of the work environment and tendencies of a different country. I loved how historical and modern London was and was curious to see how the two have molded together.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
My internship in general made the best and most lasting impression. I described London as being diverse, and with 6 people working on the main floor one was muslim, one hindu, one from Spain, one black, one atheist, and me the american (and christian). Everyone worked cohesively with only interest in everyones' differences and never judgmental. I learned the proper way to make tea, I hopped in the wrong side of the vehicle, was taken out to their weekly pub events, and made lasting friendships.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE. Now it just seems like a dream that seems to linger with you just teasing you to come back. But I learned a lot about myself religiously (due to learning about the religious history of England and visiting numerous churches), my values and what a keener eye of what going on in our own country. I can't even describe my experience so shortly because of how impacting studying abroad is.
Based on your experiences abroad, what are some of the benefits of spending a semester abroad? How has studying abroad contributed to your personal, academic, and professional development?
Academically study abroad helped me get my common curriculum out of the way but nothing specific to my major. Professionally, I now have an edge on the competition to have studied and worked in a different culture. Plus with my internship I was able to analyze and get a different perspective on my career goals. Personally I have become more independent, culturally aware, positively developed my morals and character, and so much more.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Do it. Do not hold back. Take risks (but be safe especially as a woman in an unknown location). Talk to people, learn from their experiences, advice, and knowledge. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Save up so you can do/see more. Get out of your room and see something. Explore. Get away from the group and travel in small groups so you are more likely to talk to others (you are there to experience the culture not just a pocket of America in another country).