Margaret is 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?
Travel has always been an interest of mine that had never been explored. Additionally, a large deciding factor of why I chose CSBSJU was the reputation of an amazing study abroad program. On the London program, I got to travel and see the world whilst participating in the amazing program out university offers, the best of both worlds! I've always seen myself as more British than American. That is why I knew London was a perfect fit for me. It was a place where the history always fascinated me and I knew I would get tired of. Also, the internship aspect was what pushed me into really wanting to participate in the London program. Because how often do you get the opportunity to participate in an internship in London? A once in a lifetime opportunity!
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
My internship as a whole made a significant cultural impression on me. I participated in an internship with a member of the British Parliament, and it was a major cultural shift. Studying American politics and having a grasp on American working environments, it was a bit of a culture shock the first few days. I learned so much from my co-workers and met so many amazing people. This was the best way that I experienced British culture and customs. I was completely thrust into it and had no choice but to adapt, which I loved!
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
In one word: AMAZING! I had so many doubts and nerves about living on my own in a foreign country for four months, but they were all for nothing. I ended up learning tons, making friends, and having a fabulous time! Every class I took utilized the environment and surroundings, which I feel definitely enriched my education. Also my internship was super fulfilling. I was able to gain work experience, as well as direct involvement in my field of study. Studying abroad gave me opportunities I never thought possible and I am so grateful for the experience.
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?
Studying abroad is an extremely unique and wonderful experience. It is something that not everyone is able to participate in, so therefore it looks great on a resume! Overall, I feel so very grateful to have studied abroad. There is something so magical about passing St. Paul's Cathedral on the way to art history or spending at Saturday afternoon strolling the streets of Oxford University. I very much enjoyed the new dimension it brought to my studies. You can learn about a painting from a book- or you can visit the original painting in a short, twenty minute tube ride. Studying abroad I got the best combination of taking classes, participating in an internship, and traveling, and that is the greatest benefit of study abroad.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
GO FOR IT! If you are even just thinking of studying abroad, make it happen! This is a once in a lifetime experience that I wouldn't have ever imagined in my wildest dreams. Save up, abroad is expensive, but so worthwhile. There can be a bit of anxiety or stress in the beginning (especially for people who fear the unknown like me!) but you will come out a better-rounded person because of it. Consider all the options and make sure you are doing what's right for you- not what your friends are doing. Basically just take the leap of faith- you will probably become better for it!