Jillian Knapek '21
Program: London Fall/Spring Semester
Minor: Gender Studies
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I went abroad with my Spanish Club for two weeks in the spring on my junior year of high school. After experiencing the different culture of Spain, I was intrigued to try the semester abroad program through CSB. I knew I always wanted to study abroad, ever since I was younger so having both my high school opportunity and the chance through CSB was a big part of my decision on choosing a college. I chose to go to London because of the internship opportunity that is available with the program. I also chose to go because my mom’s best friend is from England so hearing her stories intrigued me to learn more about the culture.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
One cultural experience I encountered was at my internship that i had three days a week. The experience included the importance of having tea time within your work day. My coworkers would take time out of their work day to sit back and have tea with everyone. It is a big aspect of their culture as the way your make your tea can symbolize your class. Drinking tea is something they do to socialize, relax from a stressful situation, boost your immune system or simply make a new friend. Through my internship I learned the importance of tea in British peoples lives.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
My overall experience in London was amazing. I learned a lot about myself as I was away from my norms. I also made life long friends from both my group of individuals from CSB/SJU but also through different programs that were from the states. I was able to make relationships with individuals from my internship placement, in which I still keep in contact with since being back home. I was able to fully immerse myself in the culture of England and learn the social norms. I was able to grow my professional skills through my internship as well. Overall, my experience abroad was life changing.
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?
Spending a semester abroad allowed me to grow in my independence and learn about myself in various ways. I had to go to a doctors office while there, which allowed me to learn how to make an appointment and get around their healthcare system. I was able to better my directional skills while there being public transportation is the main way around. Academically I was able to expand my knowledge on cultural differences between Britain and the United States. I also took a theatre course while there, which gave me great knowledge on the arts in London. Through the opportunity of having an internship, i was able to learn office, interpersonal and communication skills.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Go into the experience without any expectations. This allows for you to be open minded with the experiences that you encounter while abroad. Make sure to budget before and during your trip to allow you to have the best experience while there. Don't be afraid to try new foods/drinks or activities, whether they end up being good or bad, you will have great stories!