Mark Verdun

Mark 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 study abroad because it gave me an opportunity to experience something different. I decided on London because I was able to do an internship while abroad, travel was relatively easy to other parts of Europe, and I got to see a few soccer matches.

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

On a weekend a group of us decided to go to a market that was mainly comprised of food vendors. There were massive crowds of many cultures, to go along with the various types of food. It showed us, truly, how multicultural London has become. Some friends got curry, others tried the Thai, and countless other dishes to try. I stuck with the crepe.

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

The British Life and Cultures class, for me, helped to enrich the overall experience abroad. Each time we went to class we learned something new, whether a story our professor told, something on his lecture, or our own experiences which we shared. Our collective curiosity led us to continue to explore, and I attribute a great deal of that to my own study abroad experience.

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 brought me out of my comfort zone enough were I was growing personally and placed in unfamiliar or uncomfortable situations, but not enough to break me. This helped strengthen inner confidence to be able to succeed, even in the face of an unknown situation. I was able to get to know 24 new people in the four months of living with them, which also helps in learning patience and group cohesiveness with housemates. Having an internship allowed me to get a glimpse of what working in a small business firm abroad may look like, and it provided me with working experience that I can then use upon graduation. Finally, it renewed an academic interest, in that we were learning about our environment, which allowed us to take what we learned from the classroom or on our field trips and apply it to our own time in London.

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

Save money before hand, and do not feel the need to spend it within the first month abroad. Pick a program based on the values and interests of yourself, and not on others. Plan your academic schedule with space to allow study abroad. If you cannot do a full semester check out the May term and ABE opportunities (they are just as rewarding). Do well in school now, it will show you can do well later (when you are abroad). Stay out of trouble (assume it will follow you abroad, which is bad). Apply! Go to the information sessions, talk with people who have been abroad to gain insights, and check out the Career Resources to help with the study abroad resume and interview.

Questions?

Do you have questions about studying abroad in London? Email Mark at abroad@csbsju.edu.