Name: Michelle Noethen
Type of Project: Study Abroad
I chose to study abroad in London in May 2015 for my STEP experience. I studied British culture and history through reading British Literature in class and going on field trips. We lived in flats in central London for a month and got to experience what it was like to live in a major international city.
The STEP experience completely changed my life. I had never been out of the country before, nor had I ever been outside of the state of Ohio, away from my parents for this long. Living and working outside of the U.S. is something I want to pursue someday, so this was a great opportunity for me to see how I would react. I was surprised how comfortable I was living so far away from home for an extended period of time. I learned so much more about myself and matured in the process. I have made friends for life, not only from Ohio State but from all over the world that I still keep in contact with today.
One of the things I love about traveling is that you get to throw yourself in a completely different world that you are not familiar with and then have to learn how to live in it. It almost feels like trying to navigate out of corn maze. Every day in London was such a challenge because we would have ideas for places we wanted to visit after our classes and field trips ended each day, and we would have to find a way to get to them in the least amount of time with the lowest cost.
I learned that I am much more capable and mature than I thought I was. I was 20 when I went so I still felt I was in that weird transition from teen to adult. Being in London on my own helped me to move to a point where I feel like I can say, “I’m an adult.” It has always been my dream to travel outside of the US and learn more about the world. I had assumed going into London that the city consisted of mostly British people but that was definitely not the case. Like New York, there are people there from all over the world.
The one down to this experience is that we didn’t get the opportunity to take classes with students from different parts of the world. Everyone in our class was from OSU. But this didn’t stop me from meeting new people from all over the globe. I was always trying to interact with people who I didn’t know, particularly on the tubes. For example, I met a woman on the tube who was 15 during the Blitz. She was sent out of London during it which has resulted to her living in over 40 different cities around the world. It’s people like her who I meet and am just so happy I was able to talk to someone like that. These types of interactions you are not likely to have in Ohio so I definitely tried to make the most of being in London.
My experience in London is definitely valuable in my life. Something that I know OSU strives for, is for their students to be well-rounded. I felt like being in another country and meeting people not only from the UK, but from all over the world, got me very accustomed to being able to talk to people who are different than those I meet in the U.S. This will be very helpful to me in the business world.
My time spent abroad has definitely enriched my academic experience. I have learned so much about British literature, history, and culture. This is very different than what I am currently studying as an Accounting major, so it was refreshing and only enhanced my leaning. Part of the STEP project was to create a budget. This is definitely something that I can apply to my major and just to my life in general. Creating a budget was very helpful in knowing how to manage my money abroad.