Jordan is an Ambassador who studied abroad in London
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
Study abroad was one of the largest reasons I was drawn to CSBSJU. Learning by experiencing is one of the best ways to learn in my opinion and by living somewhere new for four months, you learn so much more than you'd expect. I decided on the London program because of its close proximity to most European countries, the built-in internship, and London simply has one of the best and largest music scenes, perfect for a music lover like me. It was so easy to apply my Communication major to the program with the electives offered and the internship aspect.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
One of my largest goals on the trip was to see a vast amount of music while I was in London, and most of my favorite memories come from these concerts. For instance, I was able to see a local band, The Kenneths, in a room above a pub in the borough of Camden. The concert was a bit delayed and I arrived early to the show by myself. This forced me to chat with locals, and I met a man about twice my age who was heavily involved in the local scene. We discussed different venues and gigs I needed to attend, as well as his life growing up in London. I also met a college student from just outside of London and we compared music tastes and talked about our different college experiences in our respective countries. This happened all the while the members of the band were hanging out with their friends in the same room. I learned a lot about the United Kingdom’s/London’s culture through this experience and got to see one of my favorite new bands play for a room of about 100 people. It was a truly unforgettable experience.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
While there I was able to take a British Life and Culture class, which is required, but amazing. Justin Lorentzen, the professor was a local Londoner who had lived there his whole life, offering his own personal insights to all the stories and material covered. It was easily one of the most of the exciting ways to learn about everything from the basic structure of British politics, the monarchy, and famous historical events such as the Jack the Ripper murders. I also took Music in 20th Century Britain. The professor was a musician himself, and taught us about London’s music scene through the decades, covering genres like classical, rock and roll, new wave, rave, and more. By learning about the area’s music through the years, we were simultaneously able to learn about London’s history, geography and culture. We saw three concerts through the course as well; an orchestra performance of Holst’s “The Planets,” Glasgow-based band White, and Minneapolis natives, Polica.
I interned at the world music magazine, Songlines. Although world music isn’t my forte, this helped me explore my interest in music journalism and learn the ins and outs of creating a magazine. While there I worked closely with one of the magazine’s editors to write online blog posts, edit pieces for the magazine, and do administrative tasks like request and file images from photographers for upcoming issues and file CDs. Interning abroad was a great way to immerse myself in the culture, working with Londoners in a British office setting. This was one of the most positive parts of my 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?
By spending an entire semester abroad, you are able to become involved with a new culture in a way the you could never get as a tourist. After being in London for this past semester I realized that all of my favorite parts of the city were things I would have never known about just visiting, they were things other than the famous historical sites. Instead I was able to find my own favorite areas and places to hang out, even attempt to make new friends in the culture, and even make some new friends with people from our own school I probably wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t gone on this trip.
Through studying and interning abroad, I was able to learn about things that I really care about by going out and experiencing them whether it was by seeing the music and sites we were learning about in my electives or testing out something I would potential like to do as my career with my internship. All the while these things gave me a better understanding of the UK’s culture.
What advice can you offer for CSB|SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Make the program what you want to make it! Go on a trip that suits your interests and experience it fully. Don’t sit inside, go out and explore and spend the money if you must. If you can make it happen, it’s all worth it. Also don’t be afraid to do something by yourself, if it is a safe area of course, independence can lead to some great things.