Joseph Dolan ’24

Program: London Semester

Major: Social Science

Minor: Secondary Education

Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?

I decided I wanted to study abroad fall of my sophomore year. I wanted to go to Europe, and London was the best fit for me. Around a year ago I submitted my application for the London program. When the flight landed in London, I had a little anxiety and thought to myself, “What did I just get myself into?” I quickly settled in and looking back on it now, I am so proud of my growth and commitment to studying overseas.

Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your program that made a lasting impression.

A cultural experience that I had while in London occurred when Queen Elizabeth passed away. It was Friday and for my Sports in British Society course we took a field trip to Wembley Stadium. It was a very cool tour, especially seeing all of the pictures from the 2012 Olympic Games. The tour took us to the Royal Box seats where the Royal Family sits. All of a sudden, the tour guides got word on a walkie-talkie that the Queen had passed away. Immediately, the tour guides had to kick us out of the Royal Box and make us exit the stadium. As our class was leaving to get on the train to go home, our class of 20 students who did not know each other started to communicate with one another. All of us in the class realized how historical this event is and did not know how to react. It was a memorable cultural experience that I will never forget. To this day, I still have the paper bracelet from the tour with the exact date on it.

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

My overall study-abroad experience was remarkable. I learned that before going abroad, I was in North America my entire life, and did not have any prior knowledge about what goes on in the rest of the world. So, when I got to England, it forced me to get out of my comfort zone and to be more independent. Each day I learned more and more about London, England, Great Britain, and Europe. It was eye-opening to see the world through a lens outside of the United States. I was shocked by some of the cultural differences in Europe. While in London, I also had time to go visit 9 other countries in Europe. Each country brought new experiences and information. I thought I would be excited and ready to come home when the time came. During my last week in London, I realized how amazing my experience was. I thought to myself that it could be a long time until I return to London. While leaving, I reflected on my experience and realized how it was legitimately the best experience of my life!

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?

A benefit of spending a semester abroad is first and foremost the cultural experiences that you get to take in. Another benefit that the London program offered was working as an intern for 7 weeks. This opportunity taught me even more about culture and especially the British work culture. I now have an international intern experience on my resume that will help me when applying for jobs. Last of all, spending a semester abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I am proud of myself for committing to going abroad and making the most of my time!

What advice can you offer for CSB+SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?

Do it! I was a student who highly considered going abroad but thought it would be too much time away from friends and family. I never once regretted my decision of studying abroad, and if I could do it again I would. It is important to realize how much you grow as a person while abroad. Before studying abroad, I was reliant on other people when I didn’t know how to do something. When you are overseas, you learn to do things on your own. You begin to learn about yourself and become comfortable with the person you are. If you have the slightest interest in studying abroad, I 100% recommend you do it. It is an experience you only get in college, and it is during some of the best years of your young adult life.