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Jonathan Bailey

About My Study Abroad Program

Major/Minor: Economics and Political Science
Program: London School of Economics, Summer School
Location: London, UK
Term: Summer 2023


Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
I choose to study abroad for two reasons. The first and foremost reason I choose to study abroad was to broaden my understanding of the world. Spending my life in the United States, it has been easy to neglect how diverse our world is and the differences in living across the world. In studying abroad, I desired to experience new ways of living, culture, and approaches to life. My second reason I wanted to study abroad was to meet new people from around the world. These two reasons made London School of Economics the perfect program for me. It gave me the opportunity to meet so many students from across the world and to experience the history, tradition, and diversity of London which broadended my view of the world.


What did you learn about yourself?
My study abroad experience a time of important personal development for me. The first few days were tougher than I imagined and even just walking away from my family at the airport was hard. Despite the many similarties between the UK and the US, the differences can undermine one's understanding of going about daily life and put you far outside your comfort zone. For example, when I arrived I was embarrased to speak because of my American accent. I also saw myself in situations that I had seen non-Americans been in in the United States. At a large gathering where a fellow LSE student and I were the only two Americans, people were suprised by our accents and our manner of speaking stuck out. At the same time, these experiences helped me to get outside my comfort zone and encouraged me to seek interaction with locals. My friend and I both look back on that gathering as one of our favorite moments. While it sounds cliche, I really just learned that I have to get outside my comfort zone and be bold and brave to venture into unfamiliar territory. In London this was both geographical and social "terroritory." I learned that I can thrive in these situations and while un-comfortable provide me with great self-satisfaction and new insight into our world. As a result of this program I gained skills and knowledge about myself that will aid me in future travels and make my experiences in my life so much richer and more meaningful.


What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
My favorite memory from my program was when I went to Dover, England with my friend. We spent the day enjoying the fresh air outside London and the rich history and natural beauty of the town. We visited the 11th century built Dover Castle and walked along the beautiful White Cliffs of Dover. I was blown away by the amazing color of the sea and the grass. I have wanted to visit the cliffs for years but they were even more beautiful than I had imagined. My friend and I met another traveler in the area and we explored the sites with him. On top of the natural and historic sites of Dover, we simply appreciated the opportunity to get outside London and see life outside the big city.


What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
My biggest advice to future students is to be intentional about making friends and forming relationships. Being by myself in a huge foreign city was a big adjustment and the first couple days I felt super lonely. When I was finally able to meet up with a friend from UNC, I felt some of the biggest relief I have ever felt in my life. While friendships are obviously valuable anywhere in the world, being with other students, many of whom are also likely expericing that country or city for the first time is critical. Furthermore, when you are by yourself you will be a lot less likely to try new things and visit new places. Unfortunately I saw many students over the summer who were afraid to get outside their rooms to travel. I think that if these students had been able to meet people and form relationships it would empower them to travel and see the sites of London more.


How do you identify?
Transfer Student