AFRICA / ASIA / AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND / EUROPE / LATIN AMERICA / MIDDLE EAST

Perfectly Imperfect: What I Learned During My Program Abroad

Bailey Babcock 10

Education Abroad is the perfect way to further your education in a unique and exciting way while also having the opportunity to see the world and some of it’s famous and historic landmarks. While abroad, you’ll probably have the urge to do some (or all) of the touristy things in that location. By all means, embrace your inner tourist! I definitely did so when I studied in London. For example, I went on the London Eye, saw Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, and visited several museums. While visiting such attractions is very exciting, be aware they may not always live up to your expectations.

During one day of my program, my class had an excursion to Stonehenge. Some family friends had told me before I went abroad that Stonehenge was one of their favorites memories from their time in Europe, so I was really looking forward to it. We had to be ready to leave early that morning because it was a two-hour bus ride. It was a cold, drizzly morning, but I went back to sleep on the bus and hoped the weather would clear up by the time we arrived. To my luck, the exact opposite happened. We got off the bus at Stonehenge, and it was still cold and the light rain had turned into hard rain/hail, and it was extremely windy. Long story short, I spent less than five minutes looking at the rocks and the rest of the time walking around the gift shop and sitting in the cafe. On the bus ride back, all I could think about was how I got up super early to go stare at old rocks for two minutes and hate every second that I was outside. Obviously, this wasn’t quite the experience I had been looking forward to, but reflecting back on my time spent abroad, I realize that it wasn’t the famous attractions that I was so excited to see that I remember the most, but smaller moments with friends I made or time alone that I am the most fond of.

Before I left for my program, I was kind of scared that I would be lonely or wouldn’t make friends because I didn’t know anyone else going, even though the majority of students were from UK. Looking back, it was silly of me to be afraid of that because it was extremely easy to make friends because everyone is in the same situation. When we weren’t doing things as a class, people would break off in smaller groups and do their own thing. One day, I went to a play with some other girls in my class. Another day, I walked around with a girl that was very interested in poetry and European literature and she showed me various places of historical significance in regards to European authors. It was also fun to find different places to eat and just relax with other students in my program. It may sound silly, but little moments like these are some of my fondest memories of my time abroad.

So, my point is, go see and do the things you have always dreamed of seeing and doing, but keep in mind that little moments matter too.

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Bailey Babcock is a sophomore studying Integrated Strategic Communication/Business. She participated in the UK Consortia program CCSA London Winter in December 2015.