Nicole Zapf is an Ambassador who studied abroad in London
Major: Global Business Leadership
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I knew before going to college that I would love the opportunity to study abroad and if I had the chance, I would go to London. It wasn't too hard of a decision for me, being that I heard so many positive things beforehand about studying abroad from friends/family who had previously went. I've always loved London and having the chance to live there for 4 months was something I couldn't pass up.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
In London, football (soccer) is a huge deal. I'll always remember walking past pubs on game days and they would be absolutely packed with locals cheering on their teams. Also, one day on the tube people are normally very, very quiet and don't talk to each other. But there was a football game that night and there were a few people wearing jerseys and the team colors from opposing teams. So instead of being quiet, all of a sudden a bunch of people started talking to each other about the game and began sharing stories and laughing. It was cool to see how so many people could be connected and get along just by talking about football because it is such a big part of their culture.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
You'll hear it from everyone, but it was honestly the best 4 months. Right away, London was everything I'd hoped it would be. I was able to travel to a few different countries around Europe so that was a big plus personally. My internship experience was great and I got to intern for a company that was a great for me, while doing tasks that I would potentially like to do after I graduate, so that was awesome. There were a lot of opportunities to go see something new, which was one reason I loved London so much. There really is something to see every day that you're there. I walked away learning a lot about myself and gaining some awesome friendships as well. Overall, the whole experience was amazing and I would do it all over again 1000 times.
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 think everyone walks away from studying abroad growing personally in one way or the other. You really do find out a lot about yourself. I became tremendously more independent and was able to figure out what's important to me. I was also able to get a lot of curriculum done that I need to graduate, so that was a plus. The London program has an internship, and I could not say enough positive things about the internship I got placed with. I was able to learn so many skills and gain experience in a working environment/field that I would very much be interested in working in post-graduation.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Try to make the most out of every day and enjoy the little things. Be sure to get out and explore different places, while getting out of your comfort zone. Be curious and be adventurous, you won't regret it. Also, it goes by so, so fast. Enjoy every second!