Julia Frayne is an Ambassador who studied abroad in London
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I chose to partake in studying abroad at CSB/SJU because I knew it would be a life changing, once in a life time experience. I wanted to completely immerse myself in another culture and try something new. I decided on the London program because I wanted to go to a big city, I knew there was a big big world outside of our community here at CSB/SJU and I wanted to explore it! London offered me an urban atmosphere and a million opportunities to explore. Being that I am a management major, I knew London is a booming business capital in our world. The London program also offered an internship program that I took full advantage of. It was an amazing experience being a working member of society in another country. I made great networking connections and it prepared me for my future in business.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
During my time abroad I had the opportunity to work as an intern and as the assistant to the Creative Directors at Belle & Bunty London, a fashion design company. I got to experience every aspect of the business, from financial spreadsheets to modeling. I got to network with designers, celebrities and powerful names in the world of fashion. I got to see real world applications of what I was learning in my courses put in action. A specific memory I have was when I got to deliver designs and fabrics to Pippa Middleton. This experience was one where I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming. It made me realize that this can be my career and this can be my future.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
My study abroad experience was life changing. I was thrown into a foreign country with 24 strangers to live in 2 flats in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, I was taking on the biggest adventure of my life. Not only did I immerse myself completely in the London culture with my studies and day to day life, but I got an amazing position as a working member of society in Britain and I got to do things that not many people could ever have the opportunity to do in their whole lives. Our group became a family and London became our home. The city is so rich with culture and opportunity to try new things and meet new people are endless. Real World London 2012 changed my life! (oh, and meeting George Clooney and Brad Pitt wasn't too bad either!)
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?
The benefits of spending a semester abroad are endless. It gives you the chance to experience a different culture completely. 4 months is a whole lot longer than traveling to a country for 1 week, it allows you to see the city not as a tourist, but as a resident. You will take chances and try new things! You not only will make life long friendships with your flat mates but you also make connections with people who live in London, it makes the experience that much more real. I went to London confused about what I wanted to do after graduation and I came back more sure than ever of where I want my life to go and how I plan on getting there. I became so much more confident and independent after living abroad and working abroad. There is nothing quite like being taken completely out of your comfort zone and making it on your own, its a good feeling. The classes offered abroad helped the transition of leaving home and gaining knowledge about your "new" home, as well as learning about topics you wouldnt have otherwise just staying at CSB/SJU. I had the opportunity to take an Islam course and actually travel to Istanbul, Turkey and visit mosques during prayer time, I got to walk through a world famous bizarre and explore the Islam faith. The benefits of studying abroad are countless, it was nothing but a positive experience for me.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I would be more than willing to sit down and share my experience with someone. It changed my life and I know it would do the same for someone else. It is such a growing experience and I would recommend it to everyone who is able. When will you ever have the opportunity to have this kind of adventure in a foreign country with your fellow Bennies and Johnnies again?
Do you have questions about studying abroad in London? Email Julia at firstname.lastname@example.org.