Name: Gale Collins
Type of project: Study Abroad
- Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project.
My study abroad trip was a month long stay in London, with visits to Edinburgh and Oxford. Our class was focused on the history, culture, and politics of the UK. as part of the class I attend a several performances, including a musical, some slam poetry, and several plays.
- What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project?
I have traveled a lot in my life before this, including all over the US, 2 trips to Canada, and a trip to Romania, and every place I go has taught me a lot. I also have been interested in one day living outside the US, so being able to have a trial run, where you have to manage traveling overseas, getting to class on time in a brand new city, budgeting for your own food and supplies, all mostly on your own was really helpful. This was the longest I had ever been away from Columbus before as well, so it helped me get a real feel for what it would be like to live in another country, even one relatively similar to my own. It helped me feel more confident in my ability to be a functioning independent adult.
- What events, interactions, relationships, or activities during your STEP Signature Project led to the change/transformation that you discussed in #2, and how did those affect you?
Being able to navigate my way around a city as big and crowded as London was a challenge for sure. It was a confidence boost once I felt confident in getting to where I needed to go (class or an event for class, or someplace during my free time) and managing to reroute as needed if there was a tube closure of delay, and still getting to class on time. It was sometimes stressful, but the longer I was there, the easier it got.
Another thing I had to navigate was the language. Even though they also speak English, and I had watched plenty of British TV shows, the accent and dialect was still somewhat difficult to navigate. Often when ordering food, or if i was just talking to someone I had met, I would need them to repeat something they said so I could understand it. I think it helped thought that my accent immediately let them know I wasn’t British, so they knew I might not know all their slang.
I think the thing that was most important however was having to budget money and time to do things like eating, or buying any supplies I needed. I had to track down the nearest grocery store, and find things in my budget to eat. Most shops tended to close a lot earlier that I’m used to, so I also had to make sure I didn’t put it off til the last minute. Weekly shopping (as opposed to every few weeks here) was really different, and making sure I bought good food without having to carry too much back to the dorm.
- Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life?
Learning to sustain yourself in a new place, especially a new country I think is an important skill,and one that isn’t really taught. I think traveling abroad has helped me feel more independent, and has given me confidence to work towards living abroad in the future. I have lived in Columbus my whole life, but but by traveling I have been able to experience things I never could have here, and become an individual with more worldly experiences.