Name: Emily Wander
Type of Project: Study Abroad
For my step experience, I studied abroad in Great Britain for four weeks. We spent most of our time in London where we had class four days a week usually to learn about the politics, culture, and history of Great Britain. After class, we went on different trips to actually see what we were learning about and experience it firsthand. We also took a weekend trip to Edinburgh, Scotland to learn about their history and how different Scotland was from England even though they are both a part of Great Britain. We usually got evenings off and some Fridays and weekends to do with as we pleased. I used my time to explore all the different parts of London and see what laid outside the central of London.
From my time in Great Britain, I learned so much about myself. It was my first time overseas and my first time traveling with family or someone I knew so I was really nervous and had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know if I would be able to adapt to living in such a large city like London. But I ended up doing so well and adapting and learning so much about myself. I found a new level of confidence in myself and gained a new sense of independence. I also got a new view of the world and got to experience so many different cultures while abroad. Even though most of my time was spent in London, there were so many different people from all over the world living there. Before my trip, I never really thought about how much history is out there for me to learn about. It was amazing learning about the good and bad of Great Britain’s history and how far it goes back in comparison to the US.
The very beginning of my trip was a new challenge for me. My program didn’t have a group flight so we had to book our own flights to London and get there ourselves. I ended up flying there with three other OSU students in my program which helped a lot. When we got off the plane at Heathrow in London, one of the biggest air ports in the world, we had no idea where we were or what to do exactly. We had all of our luggage and get to our apartment by ourselves. We ended up taking our suitcases on the packed underground, which the others on the underground didn’t appreciate very much. But we ended up making it to our apartments with very little drama. We were really thrown head first into the experience of London.
It also helped me a lot that I took some time to do a few things by myself and really depend on myself while in Great Britain. Traveling outside the center of London and exploring really taught me to be self-sufficient. If something went wrong it was on me and I didn’t have any means of communication unless I could get Wi-Fi, which wasn’t very often. So when I decided to go to Kew Gardens, which was outside the city, I had to make sure I knew what I was doing. It was okay if I got a little lost because I got to discover new things that I wouldn’t have otherwise. It helped me be okay with everything not always going as planned and being able to roll with it and figure out a new plan.
There were so many instances where I was able to learn about different cultures in Great Britain, other than English and Scottish cultures. London was a very international city, there were so many different types of people other than the English. Just sitting on a bench in the city I would hear so many different languages and see looking around I would see so many different shops and restaurants from different cultures. At lunch on day I was able to talk to one of the waiters for a little while and learned that she actually lived really close to where we were staying and that she was originally from France. It was so amazing to hear about another person’s experiences in a foreign country and how they saw things from different perspectives than I did as an American student.
My trip abroad was so valuable to me in so many ways and would not trade it for anything. It really taught me to be confident in myself and know that I’m capable of doing so much more than I can think I can do. My time aboard has really made me want to get out and travel more. There are so many places I know nothing about that would be amazing to go experience and learn about. I’m now thinking about looking for jobs or internships abroad and see how I can apply what I have learned here at Ohio State and in the US to help me become more successful abroad and take what I have learned abroad and apply it here at home. I am always looking for a way to go abroad again.