Mariya is an ambassador who studied abroad in London
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
The Education Abroad Program at CSB/SJU was one of the main components that drew me to the university in the first place. I was even more convinced that it was the right choice for me after attending the Study Abroad Fair in the fall of my sophomore year.
I specifically chose London because of its proximity to other European countries, as well as its internship component. I wanted to be situated in Europe so that I would be able to travel elsewhere easily and on a budget. The internship portion makes this program especially unique. The opportunity to intern abroad is unrivaled, and I knew it would be an incredibly rewarding professional and personal experience.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
Interning in the British workplace was quite possibly the biggest culture shock I encountered while studying abroad. Luckily for me, it was a positive one. I learned how to use skills that I obtained in America and adapt them to British standards. Though it took a while to get used to their reserved attitudes and lack of stress in the workplace, I found that I actually enjoyed this environment quite a lot.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
This is an experience I will remember for the rest of my life - and certainly one that I will never regret. I tried to constantly remind myself how lucky I was to be living and working abroad, which meant I was never idle. I experienced something new every day, whether it was a new food, a new activity, or a new sort of transportation. London was the perfect hub for these experiences because of its multicultural and creative presence on the world stage. Not only was I able to connect with people and places in London, but I was also able to experience cultures from around the world.
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 studying abroad are endless. Most importantly, perhaps, are the life lessons you learn along the way. These especially include learning how to make decisions independently and how to choose a path that suits you. In addition, you get the opportunity to completely submerse yourself in another culture and learn from the ways that others live around the world.
My future goals have changed since studying abroad in London for a semester. I now realize the potential professional and personal experiences that are available to me, and I have become more ambitious in my goals. I no longer fear the unknown, but I embrace it.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Just say yes. This was the motto that I stuck to during my entire study abroad experience. I found that I second-guessed myself less often and was more confident in my decisions by following this. Studying abroad is the experience of a lifetime, and it is important to make the most of it and cherish every moment. By saying "yes" to the opportunities available to you, you will be able to learn more and do more, making for an incredibly rewarding journey.