Erin is an Ambassador who studied abroad in London
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
Ever since my first day of college I knew that I wanted to go abroad. To me the thought of having the ability to study for a period of time in a foreign country was very intriguing. At this time not knowing where I actually wanted to study I began to plan my 4 year college career around the idea of traveling abroad. The closer I became to having to apply the more I began talking to people and asking about their abroad experiences. After hearing all of my fellow students life changing experiences there was only one program that seemed to fit all of my needs as a student, London. Making the choice to go to London was a long and involved process but I knew that in the end I personally would benefit the most from traveling there.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
The cultural experience that had a lasting impression on me was life in the Tube or as us Americans know it the Subway. Due to the fact that we lived in the center of London taking the Tube was a part of our everyday life. To me being down in the tubes was a fascinating experience. The list of unwritten rules that the tube had was mind blowing to me. When we first arrived in London our group was most definitely labeled as that "loud group of American tourists," but as our trip went on we learned more how to fit in and how to move with the crowd. Yes at times you just wanted to sprint through the station and push all the slow walkers out of the way but as a Londoner myself I learned the ways. Even now that I am back in MN I find myself on every escalator that I go on immediately moving to the right side allowing the fast walkers to blow right by me.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
No matter how many times I have been asked this question I still find it very challenging to express my experience in words. London was an amazing experience that I will never be able to forget. I had the time of my life! Going to London I was a little nervous because I did not know that many people going on my trip, but in the end I left London with 24 new best friends. Not only was the company amazing but the experiences that I had have helped me as a person grow in many ways. My experience in London was indescribable...it is a time that I never want to forget and a place that I can truly see myself moving to someday in the future. It's a place that you just have to experience and a place that you can never get bored with!
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?
By far the largest benefit for traveling abroad is the experience, followed by the academics and then the personal development. The chance to go to a different country and study for 4 months is a once in a lifetime opportunity. The things you learn, the connections you make and the experiences you have are something that you cannot make up. Although the academic portion is slightly different than the regular course load at CSB/SJU it is still top notch. If you have the ability, although challenging for some majors, making the commitment to go abroad is a commitment that you will never regret.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
If you are considering it DO IT I promise that you will never regret it. Once you decide to finally go my next piece of advice is to make a list of everything that you want to do while there. Although 4 months seems like a long time it will go by crazy fast. Without having a detailed list you may just miss a few of those really cool places along the way. Also talk to people. Anyone that you know of that has previously been to your country of choice ask them what their favorite places were...everyone loves something different, you might as well see it all when you are there. Finally, my last piece of advice is to save money. Although they say it's not about what you do it's about who you are with do as much as you can. Never again will you get the chance to travel with your classmates like this so live it up.
Do you have questions about studying abroad in London? Email Erin at email@example.com