It was during the middle of my third year in college when I realized just how quickly time had gone by and that I would be graduating before I knew it! I wanted to make the most out of my final year by trying something new and taking advantage of the activities and programs that my university in California had to offer.
After doing some research and connecting with study abroad returnees, I decided that studying abroad would be a phenomenal opportunity for me to experience a different education system, make new friends, travel, and accelerate my personal development by breaking out of my comfort zone. These reasons to study abroad may seem like some of the same statements that are listed on study abroad pamphlets or articles on the internet. Some may think that the benefits of studying abroad and the whole idea that it will be “one of the best decisions you’ve ever made” all sounds a bit cliché. Well, I am here to tell you that for me, the clichés were indeed true. Studying abroad was by far one of the most rewarding, exciting, and story-telling experiences I have had so far.
Traveling is something I have been passionate about for as long as I can remember. Although I love different things about each country I have visited so far, choosing to study abroad in England was an easy decision for me. From the rich history, gorgeous landscapes, and some of my family members being from there, I knew it would be a great fit! I ended up choosing to study at King’s College London (KCL) where I completed courses through King’s Business School. Why King’s you ask? First of all, it’s located in the heart of London, one of the most vibrant, unique, and culturally diverse cities in the world, must I say more? I also chose KCL because it offered a wide variety of classes I could complete and count towards my major unit requirement back at my home university. Lastly, King’s is one of the most international universities across the globe, which really appealed to me due to my love for exploring the world and meeting people from different backgrounds and cultures. This was very different from my home university in California, where I met very few people from another state or country.
Studying and living in London for a semester consisted of going on many adventures. From trying delicious foods at famous markets, enjoying world-class shopping in Covent Garden, and learning how to navigate the city via the iconic London Underground. Although I had previously visited London while on vacation, living there for an extended period of time allowed me to learn much more about the city and begin to feel what it is like to be a real Londoner. Power-walking through Waterloo station during rush hour on the regular, having an evening drink at the pub with friends, and enjoying either a Sunday roast or the amazing Nando’s peri-peri style chicken at the end of a busy and eventful week. I was able to experience the contrast of living and going to school in an extremely busy and fast-paced city compared to the more laid back and beachy atmosphere I was so very used to in California.
At the end of the day, I believe that is what it is all about; being able to immerse yourself in places different than what you are accustomed to. Places with different education styles, people, foods, means of transportation, history, and much more. If you find yourself longing for an experience to learn not only about the world around you, but understand more about who you are and what makes you tick, choose to study abroad. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to study and travel at the same time and make memories you will truly never forget! It is very important to understand that studying abroad may also come with its challenges such as feeling home sick now and then, having a difficult time managing your budget, or getting lost during your first solo day-trip. I am not saying that your experience abroad will be perfect, mine certainly was not. Therefore, it is important to remember that although many of the clichés are true, what is not included in many articles or reviews about studying abroad is that your experience will not be completely smooth sailing. However, I am grateful that my experience abroad was not entirely cliché, because the different challenges faced or problems solved, only helped me learn that much more along the way!