! First, the hands on, up close and personal experience gives you a totally different perspective of the industry than you would get by looking at pictures on a slide. Seeing so much of the industry in person really gives you a clearer view of it. For me, this program really solidified my previous view that I love the industry from a veterinary medicine standpoint, but other aspects of it are better for me to watch than participate in.
I worked in the creative East London, where people pursue the most creative fields and dreams. That atmosphere was so inspiring, and made everyday seem like I was living out a real dream. Art draped every corner of the city and that culture made me feel so well-rounded as a person. I was exposed to things I never had been before, and because of it, learned new things about my interest, thoughts' and personality.
While U.S companies focus on brand recognition and ritualistic designs, European packaging is focuses more on private labeling and assessing the next innovative idea. Seeing these ideas and designs instilled a priority in my mind to think outside the norm of things, and retrieve an ingenious idea that will collaborate with a product while giving the consumer an enjoyable experience.
. I ended up meeting a wonderful group of people from all over the world. We were able to laugh and have fun, yet still have serious conversations about our classes and the wider issues that face our increasingly global society. We were able to explore the historic city of Cambridge on a deeper level as students rather than tourists. We became closer than I ever would have thought possible over the course of a month.
As President of the Black Student Alliance & a member of MSU's Homecoming Court, I plan to use these platforms to create more dialogue on Spartans practicing being inclusive. Had I never been stuck with these individuals for three weeks, I would have never known the need for these spaces on our campus. I have much more to say about this experience, but to sum it up, I endured and because of this program, I am a better Spartan and will be able to make a greater impact at MSU.
Despite this program only lasting ten days, I learned a lot of marketing from these little projects and at the same time experiencing the culture. I was able to see Big Ben, rather, hear it because I learned that "Big Ben" is actually the bells and the tower is called Elizabeth Tower. Walking through shopping centers I could smell all the different restaurants: pasta, Indian food, tacos, fish, and more!
. It is the most incredible thing to learn and live in a different country and immerse oneself in the culture. And even though some situations can be uncomfortable, I have found that I was able to grow the most from those experiences.
Our first major stop was a French military cemetery, giving us a small glimpse into who the brave individuals were who fought and died for France in 1916. This moment, emotional at its core, was only the beginning of a truly eye opening experience.
If you are a student contemplating studying abroad, I am personally telling you that you should go. Like myself, it was very hard to decide whether the program was worth the expense and I questioned whether I would truly grow from it. From the bottom of my heart this study abroad program changed my life.
What makes the museum itself so special is that it is only open to medical staff and students, not to the public. So to have the chance to explore it was a real treat. It was strange and weird to see jarred organs that were mutated. Everything there had a call number and a book to reference what was on display.
You then realize that something as simple as a dinner with your colleagues is more than just dinner, it is an experience you will never forget. An experience that you will only share with those three Spartans.
Leaving my own country for the first time in my life not only opened my eyes to new cultures and countries but also helped me to understand the world from a different viewpoint, a necessary asset to any teacher. It allowed me to understand that there is so much to be learned from the world and its people.
One thing that surprised me about my experience was the difference in culture, having English as my first language I assumed that there wouldn't be much difference between English culture and American culture, but what I found was the differences are just harder to pick out until it's too late and you've made a terrible (oftentimes hilarious) mistake, like talking about how you only packed three pairs of pants, which in England means underwear.
I had an incredible time. I got his opinions on the history and politics of England, and he threw in small facts that were not mentioned throughout the museum. This was a new experience for me and I loved it. It showed me how easy it is to talk with professors, and how much they care about so many things.
As someone who grew up in an embarrassingly small town with not a lot of opportunities outside school, I could have never dreamed about having such an amazing experience halfway around the globe.
I wanted an experience that put me out in the world away from the people I felt comfortable with family, friends, and even my boyfriend. I wanted to have a unique life experience to reflect back on, an experience that would be all my own. What better way to get that than to trek across the pond by myself?
Prior to Warner Brothers, we got to visit ITV studios, a huge British network. We got a tour of the studio and got the chance to sit through the taping of the Alan Carr Show, guess who performed 20 feet in front of us? Maroon 5. They sung their hit single "Sugar" and all of us screamed and danced in complete awe.
As many may know (or not, it's okay) Florence Nightingale was from the U.K. and she is the founder of modern nursing. Therefore, in London, we spent a lot of our time learning what Florence Nightingale did and how she did it.
Instead of a traditional on-campus lecture, my peers and I learned about international marketing by physically living it. We were required to constantly maintain a global perspective when creating our work. This alone separates studying abroad from studying on campus.
I am a packaging major and even though this study abroad was focused on Mass media and advertising the experiences I had and things I participated in will most definitely help me stand out in my field of work. Packaging engineers work closely with the marketing and advertising teams to complete a project and now that I have been exposed to both points of view it will help me work more efficiently in the future.
The most amazing part about Wales were the people there. I was fortunate enough to tour large advertising agencies and speak to the creative director there. Then, we got to meet other students from Wales studying the same majors we were. The whole agency also invited us to a social afterwards for some leisure time. I had a great time getting to know these students and learn about the advertising industry.
One thing that stuck out to me, while in London, was their race relations. Living life as an African-American in the U.S. is very different than what I had experienced in the United Kingdom.
Before leaving for my study abroad, I was nervous it would be hard to make friends on the program and the days would be filled with classroom lectures and have a very structured schedule. My preconceptions couldn't have been further from the truth. All the students on my study abroad were eager to make new friends and explore the cities we visited.
I went on behind-the-scenes tours of worldwide manufacturing powerhouses and sampled foods fresh off of the production lines. I visited the United States Embassy in Paris to learn about trade between the U.S. and France. I validated my entire six years of French language studies when I bartered at Paris street markets and conversed with locals who praised my French-speaking efforts.
It is my belief that food can teach us more about other cultures than if one was to just read a history book. There are markets, street vendors, even statues dedicated to street vendors. An example is Molly Malone's statue on the streets of Dublin, so you'll be proud to note that I did try mussels, and hated them!
Studying abroad gave me the utmost confidence in myself and taught me that not every situation will go your way. While in every location abroad, our professors were there to give us guidance when it came to academics but other than that we had to figure out how to navigate each city on our own.
As communication students, studying abroad was a particularly valuable experience. Here we were, thrown into an entirely new situation – we didn't know anybody (not even each other, in the beginning), we couldn't speak the language, and yet we still had to function.
. I realized that with just a little change in my pocket and nothing but time to kill I really could head anywhere I pleased and still end up where I needed to be, even if I didn't know where that was to begin with.
From the company visits to global companies such as Lear to the visits to US embassies and presentations from the European Union, my knowledge about the international comparative dimensions of business in Europe is above and beyond what I would have learned in a classroom setting.
I was so close to not going on my study abroad because I didn't think it would justify spending the money. After landing back in Detroit and getting off the plane to come home, I can honestly say I would spend 1.5x the amount of money I did if I knew it was going to change me and my view on life so drastically.
As we traveled up to the highest point in a chair lift, I fell into a state of shock, in awe of how breath taking of a place I was in. As soon as my friend Meghan and I got to the front of the line, my stomach dropped.
The greatest experience of my time abroad, however, was watching a production of War Horse at the New London Theatre. This production was so inspiring to me that I decided to change my research topic for a class's final presentation. I chose to cover theatrical adaptations so that I could use the production I had just seen as an example.
Before I had even signed up for International Food Laws, I pictured study abroad as just being an extended vacation; boy was I wrong. Even though my three weeks abroad were filled with great food, great scenery, and great friends, I learned more on this program than I had ever thought I would.
My professor made it clear that she wanted us to talk to locals to get the "real feel" of the brits. It was a lot of fun and it was really eye opening to see their perspectives on American culture.
Upon reflection, I realize that even the most rudimentary tasks were somehow morphed into moments of powerful insight. In fact, I've coined a phrase to help me describe this cross-cultural phenomenon, simply titled "The Coffee Effect." Why coffee? No reason, specifically. I merely noticed that it's a drink consumed around the world.
One of the really cool things that I was able to do that differed widely from the normal classroom was attending the Kings College Museum where they had thousands of human organs, bones and body parts preserved inside of jars. Not only was it amazing in seeing these but also very informative because each remain had a specific disease and you could look up why and what happened to that patient and then see the physical result.
Coming back from my program I can truly say that I have made 32 amazing friends. Each person was unique and yet we all fit together like a perfect puzzle.
Most people can't say that they studied at a university Prince William attended, or that they studied at one of the oldest universities in the world. This study abroad expanded my horizons and opened my eyes to just how different our world is.
There is this whole myth about study abroad that it's easier. That is completely false. I would say it can even be harder because you are talking credits and still have to go to class but what you really want to do is be out and exploring this new city you are in. For study abroad you definitely have to be more focused and motivated to actually do the work.
I will always cherish my experience and apply what I have learned back to my own life with the intention to one-day return to London as either an intern, expat, or full time associate at an international corporation.
I heard of study abroad but I still thought it was only for students who came for higher class family yet I start to see some of my friends who were also minority students from low come families being to go on study abroad trips to place such as China, Australia, and Scotland.
Prior to studying Mass Media in the UK, I had never traveled anywhere outside of North America. Doing so with 20 other students was the greatest personal growing opportunity. Being off on my own in major cities and exploring the unknown was something I feel everyone my age should experience.
We had many opportunities for hands-on learning experiences, including a project in which we were to create an international ad for a global brand of our choice. We were encouraged to include famous French landmarks in our ad campaigns, and thus, got a chance to explore the beautiful city while also expanding our knowledge outside of a typical classroom setup.
One of my favorite projects was going to Harrods, which is a big shopping center and picking an item to research and examine in order to understand how different types of customers are targeted.
Our professor prefaced our trip with this simple statement; “Barcelona is like a children’s storybook, inviting, captivating and easily navigated by the reader. London is slightly more complex, much like a chapter book, with the tube for public transportation and a faster pace of life. Paris is like a complex intricate novel with history and layers that you have to unfold.”
My favorite project was when we had to create an advertisement by taking a picture anywhere in Paris and using the atmosphere and culture to represent whatever brand you had chosen.
We talked about global marketing strategies, and in what better places could this be taught than Barcelona, London, and Paris? These studies there makes me want to see what business abroad can offer, so now I am pursuing a minor in international business.
Going to college in Paris is very different compared to school at Michigan State. During our stay we studied at Novancia Business School, which is in downtown Paris.
In addition to class time we got to see so many spectacular views of the city and went to various field trips including: Parliament, the London Eye, the British Museum and Museum of London, St. Thomas’s Hospital and the Florence Nightingale museum, St. Mary’s Hospital, the Gordon Pathology and Fleming Museum, Churchill’s War Rooms, and the Old Operating Theatre, just to name a few.
For one project, we had to choose one department to focus on in London’s world-famous department store Harrods and present their marketing strategy for their various brands. The real life experience of observing and analyzing their marketing techniques gave me a valuable insight and lesson in marketing.
Another great memory is when we took a Sunday trip to Oxford with one of our professors. We toured the university and had dinner there. It was beautiful. We got to see where some scenes of Harry Potter were filmed and got to punt down the river.
Our final stop was Paris, France where we would spend most of our time and attend Novancia Business School. Getting to know and interact with the France students and faculty was a unique and eye-opening experience.
In my Sustainable Energy Group Design project, I was put into a diverse team environment where we designed and manufactured the rotor and shaft of a wind turbine from scratch. This gave me practical experience in having to design and manufacture these components and leadership skills.
I also want to be actively involved in improving the United Stateâ
Going into the program I was extremely nervous because I was worried that I would be behind in the curriculum because of my major. However, this experience allowed me to open my eyes to many different things and also got me thinking about my future career.
It is one thing to read about Thomas Carlyle or John Maynard Keynes, but to be able to visit the places where they worked and lived puts everything into perspective. I dined where Dickens once wrote some of his most famous works and walked the same paths as Marx did while he was working on The Communist Manifesto. Being able to not only see but experience these historical sites and moments enhanced my understanding of things that we learned in class.
The studies there made me want to see what business abroad can offer, so now I am pursuing a minor in international business. I canâ
Although we had lecture in a classroom, we carried out multiple group projects which required us to explore various destinations such as Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, or street restaurants, and use our observations paired with classroom knowledge to complete our presentation. Being able to use the new cultural knowledge we picked up on made learning the classroom concepts much easier and much more enjoyable.
We worked with students of different academic and scholastic levels and were able to really learn about cultural and societal differences between our American students and the Swedish students.
My study abroad experience in the United Kingdom showed me how different schooling systems can be around the world. It opened my eyes to a lot of things and made me better for it.
During my freshman year, I noticed a recurring theme, which was to embrace diversity. Several past graduates of Michigan State University either praised studying abroad or resented not studying abroad. I always had admiration for people that could recollect on their experiences outside of the U.S and I wanted the ability to do the same.
It was not by any stretch an outlandish dream, but it was a journey that I needed to take. It was also nice getting four credits out of the way; however, the best part was the experience that will further my growth as a marketer and as a Spartan.
I believe my time spent in London will have direct and long lasting effects on my life as a theatre professional. I have spent years in American theatre, mostly in an educational environment, so to dive so deeply into another country’s theatre world has opened my mind to the possibilities not only on stage but outside of my own country.
In a team of six, our goal was to create a marketing campaign to bring citizens of the UK to travel to the state of Michigan. Our group had so much fun with this project, and we learned about the British culture during the process.
Being an African American first generation student I would hear my fellow peers express their enthusiasm about studying abroad and I wanted to be apart of that experience, without creating more debt for myself. Many students face some of the same financial struggles and I want to inform students that there are many scholarships and faculty members willing to help us students find ways financially to take advantage of this great opportunity.
In my study abroad experience, I learned to appreciate a more global viewpoint on issues in business that I would never have seen otherwise.
Studying Abroad has been a wonderful experience for me because I got to grow on a personal level. This trip helped me realize that there is so much out there to offer and see and is just a start to my travels down the road. Studying Abroad helps a student become more culturally aware and helps to step outside of your comfort zone.
We worked hard in class together as we studied marketing techniques and strategies and we played hard as we celebrated MSU winning the 100th Rosebowl game together. The friends I made and the laughs we shared are priceless.
When I came home, I got the obvious question, “How was the UK?”, and I never really knew how to put it into words. How do you describe the greatest experience of your life to someone that wasn’t there? Every time I would just reply by saying “simply, the best”.
By observing and comparing values and policies of The United Kingdom and The United States, we can identify areas in which change may be useful. We can all learn from the people and the environments surrounding us
After studying abroad I feel like the biggest step to becoming the melting pot we preach of is opening ourselves up to view the culture and life experience of others in a non-judgmental form.
This was a huge cultural experience that I may not get ever again and how fortunate that I am able to be in this part of the world to experience it.
Studying in this picturesque city made spending all day carrying a camera more enjoyable than usual, and I did not think I could enjoy it anymore than I already did.
The greens and fairways were a stunning green color and were obviously taken care of by a professional. There are very few words to describe the beauty of this course, it leaves one speechless.
Firstly, I was taken away by both the rich culture and rich history. As England is located very close to the mainland of Europe as well as London being majorly tourist oriented, people from across the world could be found in every corner of the city.
Actually being in the same places and walking in the same locations as these famous people is such an experience that I would recommend to anyone. It is one thing to read about Charles Darwin and his experiments, but it connects on a deeper level when you visit his house and see how he lived his everyday life.
Studying abroad brings people together in a way not many things can
Through this experience, I have not only learned so much about myself but also the value in the people around me and the beauty of new experiences.
I have become more independent, as I had never traveled out of the country before, and have made friends with similar interests and goals that I will have for a lifetime. The course that I took abroad was perfect for England, since it is full of beautiful historical places, many of which heavily emphasize science.
Because of this opportunity, I will never be the same. London forced me out of my shell. It pulled me into an entire new world, culture, and outlook on life.
It made my heroes seem less surreal, even people like William Whewell and Joseph Banks. I walked around these places where they have lived, and it just clicked that they were merely human. They didn’t have super powers, just a lot of self-discipline and brilliant minds. It made me realize that I can accomplish great things as they once did.
I was the only Indian person on the study abroad and I did not feel any different from everyone else. In my opinion anyone from anywhere and any country can do study abroad. It gives a student tools to learn about a culture, themselves, other people and the world around them.
This program was the perfect capstone to my career at Michigan State University, teaching me to further respect cultural differences and step out of my comfort zone.
One of the amazing things we did was go on a boat cruise down the Thames River in London. Not only did we get to see the city from the river point of view but all of England’s packaging engineers also were on it.
One of the most memorable moments of the program was a Packaging Boat Party that was held on the River Thames. We got to interact with packaging professionals and watch the sunset on the river.
One of my favorite experiences from the program comes from New York City when a few people from my study abroad group created a fake band and decided to stage an impromptu photo shoot for our sham album cover in front of a 1970 Cadillac convertible parked in the street.
Studying packaging in the UK was definitely a great learning experience. Touring around with twenty classmates to different packaging manufacturers in the UK, and to actually observe how packaging materials are produced from labels to glass bottles to plastic to corrugate board and BOPP film making, has definitely changed my perspective in packaging in a positive way.
I was able to visit Down House and walk along the sandwalk where Charles Darwin worked on and contemplated his revolutionary On the Origin of Species. Experiencing the environment, the birds chirping and fresh country air, in which Darwin devised his great work gave me a greater appreciation of the development of his theory.
I had never been punting before and I was very excited. The group I was with and I all had a great time trying to figure out how to steer the boat and trying not to fall into the water.
My specific program included no time in a classroom whatsoever. It was not until I met other students studying abroad in London that I realized exactly how fortunate I was to be a part of the program I was in.
I learned that despite our different upbringings, the Romanian students and the American students still had many things in common. We were able to build many friendships in an academic setting, and collaborate minds to work on an assignment.
I am a non-traditional student who funded this program without help from my parents. It is very possible to do this on your own. I highly recommend study abroad to anyone on any income level.
Project after project of flawless hand drafting and rendering skills left me speechless. What was even more impressive was the fact that the projects I was looking at were actually all done by first year students.
I became introduced to a variety of career paths that incorporated my passion for food and required a science-based degree.
This palace was called the People’s Palace and we had the opportunity to visit it during one of our days in Bucharest. All of us girls loved the palace and were astonished by how grand and beautiful it was.
I feel as though there is no better way to experience a culture than through eating their foods and that is exactly what I was able to do on this program. I was so full of culture by the end this program and I will always be hungry for more!
The great thing about this study abroad program was the experience of visiting the World Health Organization, the World Trade Organization, and the Food and Agriculture Organization. There is only so much one can absorb from a document or photograph. The true impact comes from the firsthand experience.
I traveled to four European counties not knowing what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised in each by the people’s kindness, the ease of commuting and the overall educational value of the 4 different cultures in each city.
I studied in 5 cities, 4 countries, with 3 different languages in 4 weeks; talk about amazing. This experience turned out to be a huge boost to my academic and career goals.
I had professors not only from the U.K., including England, Ireland, and Scotland, but also from Sweden and Africa. I met students from Hong Kong, Denmark, Norway, and Korea, among many other countries.
My friends and I climbed 680 steps to the top of the dome to overlook all of London. It was simply breathtaking- a memory of a lifetime.
I was exposed not only to an entirely different intellectual environment, but to a whole new style of teaching.
This program allowed me to experience international business first hand by taking visits of American Companies and connecting their differences in the States. The amount of group projects that I participated in London is larger then being at MSU for three years.
By studying their culture, I was able to contrast their value system with that of Americans. As a result, I was able to lose my US-centric view and develop a more international perspective – something that would not have happened without the study abroad experience.
Between educational scavenger hunts across the beautiful city of London, exciting projects critiquing famous museums, or hands-on learning at some of the finest companies in the world, I finally realized what study abroad was all about. I saw more beautiful sights, interacted with more interesting people, and learned more about myself in two weeks that I ever thought imaginable
Instead of passively reading or hearing about the subject, our group was able to actively take part in this hands-on international experiment. No textbook or lecture hall in the United States could ever have provided such an insightful learning opportunity.
This study abroad experience is something that cannot be replaced and I wish that I did not wait until my senior year to embark on the journey with great professors and new friends.
To be able to go out into Edinburgh and strike up a conversation with locals about their opinions on independence and devolution of political responsibilities was an otherworldly experience.
It was four weeks filled with exploration, independence, and lifelong memories that were made. The host culture was an enriching place full of diversity.
Though I could have learned the benefits of pushing clients at Michigan State, lecture would not have had the same impact as my firsthand experience.
I knew coming into college that I wanted to go into speech pathology. However, this program really confirmed why I chose this field. Seeing new technologies such as a palatograph and ultrasound, being a part of a stuttering therapy session, and studying at Trinity College in Dublin are not experiences I would have gotten from a textbook in class.
Being able to study international business management at the 600-year-old school of St. Andrews University was great. My most memorable moment had to be playing the Old Course.
Study abroad can give you the opportunity to experience more hands on learning. Not to mention, you are learning in a completely different culture.
I have a whole new look about my future goals and life and I know this experience is going to help shape my future choices and end product.
Not only was I able to study what I wanted to do for a living, I was able to do it in London, a place where I was able to have the comfort of being able to speak English, but someplace different than what I was used to.
We had an intensive Osteology class there, and it was amazing. I learned so much about forensic and also myself. I learned that if I put all of my efforts in, I can achieve greatness.
For those of you nervous parents, don’t worry; we did actually attend class. However, instead of listening to a professor speak about methods developed by a famous, distant forensic anthropologist, the noted anthropologist himself, Dr. Doug Ubelaker, came to speak to us about how he found a way to use a cranial feature more unique than a fingerprint to identify a missing woman’s remains.
The guest lectures that we had from people all over the world brought together many different interpretations and opinions on how the field of forensic anthropology works and what is expected and what is not. Being away from my comfort zone at Michigan State made me much more confident as a student and as a person overall, the friends you make do last a lifetime and you build so many memories that will last.
We also visited The Old Operating Theatre and saw how surgeons used to perform amputations before modern medical practice was in place.
Studying abroad and learning about a different political system has reassured and enthused me about my field of study and academic pursuits at Michigan State University in Political Science.
What made my study abroad experience unique in an academic approach was the hands on touring of the packaging facilities we were given access to and the international business scenarios we were introduced to.
The feeling I experienced when I got to put on a real with lab coat with rubber gloves to examine the human specimens was indescribable.
Some of these graves were those of great scientists whose work I have basically dedicated my life to studying so that I could someday be a doctor, and I was both speechless and inspired as I walked through this part of the Abbey. This was a piece of British history and culture that significantly affected me, making me realize the contributions of the British people to the world through science, music, literature, industry, and leadership.
As a professional I have a much better understanding of the different health policies used by different countries and of how health policy will affect my role as a physician.
Class was memorable as well. In our historical studies of Europe, we focused primarily on World War I, known there as the Great War. It is certainly beneficial to learn about this period in a place where the consequences were more evident and far more severe than what was felt in the United States.
Academically, the program was an absolute success.
One of the most unique and most fulfilling experiences for me while studying abroad was participating in the group excursions outside of the classroom with all of my fellow students and one of our professors. This was a great way to continue our learning as a class, but in a completely different atmosphere that is a unique opportunity only students studying abroad will get the chance to experience. It not only creates a new arena to enhance your experience and learning,
I never understood why nursing was constantly growing and how nursing was influenced from the past. The past kept building the blocks that is the bridge of nursing today.
I took almost every opportunity to talk to the lecturers who spoke to our group. Many of these lecturers were significant figures in the British media industry and offered invaluable advice to a budding media student, as well as their contact information for future interaction.
The best part of this experience, though, was eating all of the food at this wonderful place! I got to try delicious fruits that I had never seen before, ostrich hamburgers, salted beef sandwiches, licorice sticks, sausages, fresh bread, exotic oils, and I could go on and on.
That is the secret behind study abroad; if you never go, you may always be blind to something you love.
On campus it is rather difficult to build bonds and relationships with classmates; but, spending every day with those on my study abroad program allowed me to enjoy the learning experience more than I would have on-campus.
My study abroad experience in London was a rewarding experience that played a pivotal role in my development both personally and academically.
The toughest but most interesting experiences were learning the Tube (subway) system and being surrounded by so many people. Being from Michigan there isn’t a city here that is as populated as London, there is a big difference. It took a couple days to get adjusted to riding the Tube.
This is definitely a program that I would suggest to many people and if not this just choose the best one for you, or you and just do rock paper scissors. Whatever works for you but it truly is the experience of a lifetime!
Studying their health policy versus our own and discussing specific, real world medical cases and the ethics that surround them really felt like I was prepping to be a surgeon, which is exactly what I want to do so the entire program suited me perfectly and made me think very in-depth about situations in a physician-like point of view.
As we exited the busy tube station and reached the chaotic streets of downtown London, I found myself breathing in excitement. A few blocks ahead, visible from the main roads, was the beautiful City Lit School.
I had never traveled across the pond before-I hadn’t really traveled much at all-and my study abroad program to the United Kingdom could not have been better for me.
I was not sure what to expect going into the program, but I definitely had a great educational experience both in and out of the classroom. One really unique experience as a part of the GBL 395 class was having the opportunity to participate in a tour of Parliament.
Not only did studying in another country allow me to master the course material in ways that would have been impossible if I had remained in the United States, but it gave me the chance to grow as an individual and dramatically increased my independence and self-confidence.
This was the first time I have ever been out of the country, my first plane ride, my first time leaving my family for more than a week, etc. I am a first generation college student and my family was really excited for me to have this opportunity, but also really nervous because it was six weeks long.
I expected to only be served fish and chips, but I could choose from Italian, Bangladeshi, or Asian cuisine. My favorite experience with food was the Haggis that I dared to eat near the end of my time abroad. Haggis is sausage cooked in sheep’s intestine. As disgusting as it sounds it was actually really delicious.
I lived in a really luxurious flat in West Kensington (posh area in London) and I met friends in London that I will be keeping in contact with for the remainder of my life. Words cannot explain how much fun I had and the knowledge I learned in London but I will try my best to express the most memorable events.
My favorite experience was attending Anne Boleyn at the Shakespeare Globe. I’ve read Shakespeare in classes since high school, so it was extremely strange and exciting to see a theatre recreated to demonstrate how plays were performed during Shakespeare’s time.
Seeing many different performances in London as well as being able to talk with some of the characters from the performances in class helped me to realize how intriguing and important the arts are for expressing oneself and growing intellectually.
That entire year of plans and expectations quickly changed when the earthquake hit Japan and my program was cancelled. Within two days I went from studying marketing in Japan to history and social science in the United Kingdom for five weeks.
I balanced all this personal growth and discovery with my classroom learning, as well. In my modern literature course, I analyzed works by great British writers such as Virginia Woolf, Simon Gray and Zadie Smith. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to read stories about characters strolling through Regent’s Park, only to leave class to take a walk there myself.
I experienced the Spanish beaches along with the Spanish Steps. The Fountain of Trevi holds a euro of mine, and the Blarney stone holds a kiss. I am so grateful and so fortunate to have been able to study abroad.
Even as I write now I can still feel the great range of emotions from proud at the American Cemetery to dejected and empty at Buchenwald. Not only do you get to experience the subject you may already know so much about, but you get to see it within the context of another culture.
Studying abroad takes this learning opportunity to an entirely new level. By studying in a foreign country, you are personally immersing yourself into a culture and living it firsthand instead of just imagining it. This information is absorbed and the observations that you see, hear, smell, and interact with affect you in a more personal way.
Nearly every day of the program was similar in the mix of different kinds of experiences—academic and personal. From learning to navigate the tube in London to walking the streets of Edinburgh after class to visit museums and galleries, I gained both personal confidence and experience, and saw things that I have always wanted to see, for both personal and professional reasons.
While in Hull, our group took a day trip to a river that needed restoration. We had been learning about the health of both the fish and the rivers they live in for the previous two weeks. This learning did not happen in a classroom and there was barely any lecture time.
A new love for communications and the people who work in this field grew in me and with it came excitement for all of the things that my future will bring.
Now that I have returned back to Michigan State University for my final year as an undergraduate, people are continually asking me, “How was your summer?” Instinctively, I almost reply “Good,” but then I remember that I studied abroad this summer in the beautiful city of Cambridge and my answer changes to “Amazing. I studied at the University of Cambridge, in England.”