Taylor is an Ambassador who studied abroad in London.
Student Athlete: CSB Fall Dance Team
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I chose to study/intern abroad because I’ve lived in Saint Joseph my whole life. CSBSJU is a great school, but it’s so close to home and I felt that this not allowing me to experience independence and personal growth as if I was farther away. Through studying and interning abroad, I wanted to grow as an individual in my independence as well as academically and personally. I chose the London program because I wanted to not only study abroad but also gain real-world work experience in a completely different culture.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
The British workplace culture really had a lasting impression on me. It’s much different than here in the United States and was something I had to adapt to. Through my internship in London, I learned how to contribute quality work in a different way. The culture is more relaxed in terms of the office atmosphere, and I had to ask for more work versus just being given a list of things to accomplish. I learned a lot by adapting to the difference in work culture and really enjoy how Britain does it. I actually think it’s more efficient, and when everyone is able to get along the work is easier!
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
My overall experience was wonderful but had its challenges. Before you go it seems like it will be a perfect 4 months, but there are a lot of hard aspects and it’s through those where you grow the most. The best part of my experience was growing in my independence. There were a lot of things I had to work through or figure out on my own, and I feel that these hard and confusing times showed me that I wasn’t as dependent on others as I thought. I was able to gain real-world problem-solving skills and learn to enjoy being independent despite my extroverted nature.
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 for either a semester or a short term program has incredible benefits. Specifically with the London program, the international internship sets you apart from other job candidates back in the States. Additionally, spending an extended period of time in a different country and culture teaches you more than just what comes from the classroom. While I learned some great things in the classroom as well, I feel that I learned way more in the experiences outside of it. It’s not often that you get to live a world away for 4 months and learning how to navigate that gives you an incredibly different outlook on life. I learned so much through this that affects every part of my life today, including personal, academic, and professional. The independence I gained that I spoke about earlier is really key.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
The biggest piece of advice I can offer students who are considering studying abroad is to forget about all your fears and just do it! I almost didn’t go abroad, even after I was accepted I considered not going, and I would’ve regretted it for the rest of my life. It’s scary jumping into the unknown like this, and I really struggled with the transition process, but I never wanted to leave London and I miss it like crazy. You can never have an experience like this again. If you have room in your schedule, DO IT. The only way to grow as a person is to do things out of your comfort zone. If I wouldn’t have gone abroad I wouldn’t have met some of my closest friends, grown in my independence, realized how much I love to travel, and so, so much more. Also, I understand that money is a concern for a lot of people and I’m sure parents don’t love to hear this but don’t think about the money. Yes, if you go you need to budget and be conscious of spending, but in the long run, you’ll make more money and you’ll be able to pay it off in the future. Don’t say no to the experience because of the cost. I promise it’s worth it.