Jordyn Reed is an Ambassador who studied abroad in London
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I chose to study abroad because I felt that it was a good way to expand my horizons and gain skills that would help me in my future. I wanted to develop a better understanding of a culture (or cultures) that were different than my own. I chose London because it is a country that has always fascinated me. Since I was 13 or so, it was a place I was just drawn too. The more research I did and things I learned the more I wanted my dream of going to London to become a reality. I also wanted a cultural experience that would push me out of my comfort zone, but not to the point where I was so uncomfortable that it would hinder my learning or not be enjoyable. London was the perfect fit.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
It's so hard to choose just one! For me it wasn't just one specific experience, but the cultural experience as a whole. The mentality in London that they have related to everything was just so different than here in the United States. A specific instance of where this is most relevant is in the workplace. Londoners don't live to work, they work to live and that is emphasized in every aspect of their lives. It was refreshing to experience, especially having been raised in a culture where the mentality surrounding work is very different. It just made for a more relaxed society as a whole because people try really hard to balance work and play and not dedicate too much to either.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
Amazing. Life changing. Indescribable. Ok, so I'm stating the obvious, but it truly was the experience of a lifetime. I gained so much more out of it than I ever thought possible. I was able to grow as an individual and re-establish myself in a way. It may sound funny, but I feel like study abroad really helped me to grow up and realize what I am capable of. It gave me the confidence to trust my own judgment and not lean so heavily on those around me. I was able to survive on my own, for 4 months. I navigated my way around a totally foreign country, planned weekend excursions, and a two-week post travel trip around three European countries, all by myself. I prayed with Muslims in mosques in Turkey, mastered the tube system, saw the Queen, and all on my own accord. Through study abroad I was able to define myself and become the person I was always meant to be.
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?
I guess I kind of answered this question in the question above, but I think the reasons to spend a semester abroad are almost too many to count. It helps you to grow as an individual, expand your cultural basis and understandings, gain independence, and have a once in a lifetime experience. Study abroad has helped me in numerous ways because it was opened up many doors for me and shown me that opportunities in life are truly endless. It was beneficial to experience a new type of teaching method and see how people outside of the United States live.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Take full advantage of every opportunity and pack light. Four months may seem like a long time, but you blink and it's over. Enjoy every last minute.
Do it, and do it well. It's something just about everybody should do. When you're there, don't think about home, don't think about what you're missing, just BE THERE. Because will probably only get to do this once, so take advantage of every minute.