Amanda Floden is an Ambassador who studied abroad in London
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
While I was applying to colleges, I knew that I had to go to a school with a great study abroad program. I have known I wanted to study abroad ever since high school. When I heard about the St. Ben's abroad program, I knew that this was the place for me. I have always wanted to travel to London, and I knew that I could not pass this opportunity by. London is such a central city for Europe, and the world. Being one of the most diverse cities, it has a lot of offer. I also knew I wanted to experience life in a big city. And what better place than London?
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
I traveled to a lot of different countries while abroad, but my biggest cultural experience happened while in London. I do not have one specific memory, but an experience that made an impression. The Tube (the subway in London) is one of the most diverse places I have ever been. While sitting on the Tube, if you are going one stop or ten, you see such a diversity among your fellow Tube travelers. Many different languages are spoken, and many different stories are being told. Every time you step on the Tube you are bound to have a different experience. I could sit on there for hours and just watch and listen.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
To put it bluntly, studying abroad was the best experience of my life. I have been back for about four months and not a day goes by where I am not thinking about and missing London. The directors, the students, the city, everything was just amazing. It is hard for me to put into words just how much I loved London and the study abroad experience. Our group became extremely close during the program, and I can truly say that I made 24 new close friends. We will always have that bond and love for London that will always hold us together. I think that every student should have the experience of being abroad. You learn a lot about yourself and your future goals.
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?
There are endless benefits to studying abroad. Personally, I learned a lot about myself as a person while abroad. It was my first experience living and surviving on my own with little help from my parents. I became more independent and resourceful, more adventurous and outgoing. Living in London on my own really made me feel like I can conquer anything. Academically, I learned just how different being a student in a different country can be. I loved getting to experience being a British student and how their school system works. I also enjoyed having professors from London and getting their views of London and their opinion about topics around the world. This experience made me want to spend more time being a student abroad. Professionally, my future totally changed after being abroad. I am an education major, and after being abroad, I have decided that I want to take a couple years to teach abroad. I loved the experience of being in a new country and learning how to live life like the locals. I think that teaching abroad will allow me to continue to grow and experience life in other parts of the world.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Take the leap. It may be scary and intimidating knowing that you will be over seas for multiple months, but you will never have an experience like this again. It is a great opportunity to go with a group who is similar to yourself (they become your family while abroad) and to experience this whole new life with them. I highly recommend studying abroad to anyone and everyone. It will be the best experience of your life!
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