John in an Ambassador who studied abroad in London
Major: Political Science
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I chose to study abroad because of the immense benefits that study abroad gives in both providing an incredible education while also developing as a person in an unfamiliar location. The opportunity to travel across the world while gaining an education and earning credits was simply too great to pass up. Study abroad provided me an experience that puts my education and life into a global context, rather than a context based solely around my experience spent in Minnesota.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
One cultural experience that I had while studying abroad in London was a class dinner with our British Life and Cultures professor in the east end of London. Specifically Brick Lane, the east end is highly concentrated of Indian and Bangladeshi immigrants. These immigrants create a cultural experience that is vastly different than what is normally perceived on London. Restaurants are filled with incredible curry dishes, customer service is fantastic, and the whole environment is unique. The dinner provided a lasting experience because it truly made me realize how diverse of a city London was. It is not merely English people, British People, or even Europeans, but it is a global city was citizens of all nationalities.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
Putting my complete study abroad experience into words is a difficult task to be asked of, but what can be expressed is that it is an incredibly unique and worthwhile experience. From nights spent in the thriving entertainment district of Piccadilly Circus to working in the Houses of Parliament, I began to call London home. Study abroad friends became family, co-workers became outlets for activities, and I developed a new sense of accomplishment and adventure. While I only uncovered a small slice of London, it benefited my life and character enormously.
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?
The benefits of study abroad are simple endless. From confidence received from adjusting to a new environment to personal development in the workplace, study abroad enables you to grow in ways you never would have imagined. In terms of personal development, I finally secured and acted out upon the adventurous spirit in which I always believed I possessed. I felt wholly confident in myself as I explored the ins and outs of a foreign location. Academically, I adjusted to a different workload, class expectations, and even three hour classes. Teachers were challenging yet brought great insight into the lives of citizens and importance of London. Lastly, professional development came through the incredible opportunity of interning at the Co-operative Party. I learned that not all workplaces operate the same and that workplace experience does not always mean that you know everything. While you may grow and develop as a person, you should always thirst to learn more.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Do it! That's all that needs to be said. Looking back at the experience, I wish I could do it a thousand times over. While a prospective student may approach the situation cautiously, adjustments take over on day one. Soon the experience becomes a new life that takes its roots in the culture of your location. Ultimately, the opportunity to develop yourself and gain independence while living abroad is unmissable.
Do you have questions about studying abroad in London? Email John at firstname.lastname@example.org