About My Study Abroad Program
Major/Minor: Human Development and Family Studies / Speech and Hearing Sciences
Program: King's College London
Location: London, UK
Term: Fall 2019
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
During my senior year of high school, I visited the UK with my mom and grandma for a week and absolutely loved it. Since that trip, I knew that I wanted to return to the UK and explore the country more. I love learning about history, and I jumped at the chance to visit a country with such a rich and dynamic historical timeline. I knew that I would get the opportunity to visit historical locations that were thousands of years older than the country I live in, which is crazy to think about. I also knew that living in London would provide me with relatively easy access to travel to other countries across Europe, so I would be able to enhance my experience by immersing myself in a variety of European cultures. Finally, I knew that the political climate in the UK is constantly changing right now because of Brexit, and I thought that it would be an amazing experience to be in London during a time of such globally significant political changes. I knew that experiencing the changes first-hand and getting to talk to citizens of the UK directly about their opinions on Brexit would help me to better understand the international consequences of the situation and become a more educated global citizen.
What did you learn about yourself?
My experience abroad taught me that I am more independent than I thought I was, and that I'm capable of going out of my comfort zone and doing difficult things on my own. My family lives fairly close to Chapel Hill, so this felt like my first experience really going far away from them and being "away at school" all by myself. I developed skills such as cooking for myself for the first time, navigating a big city by myself, planning trips all on my own and being willing to find someone to ask for help when I needed it. I gained more confidence in my ability to be responsible and take care of myself.
What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
I have so many great memories from my trip that it's hard to pick! One of my favorites, though, is exploring Borough market. Borough market is one of the popular street markets in London, located right under London Bridge. I first found Borough market by accident - I was wondering around the London Bridge area waiting to meet up with a friend, and I walked through a small alleyway that all of a sudden opened up to a huge open space that was packed with stands full of pastries, hot drinks, produce, meats, and cuisines from around the world. It felt like I had found a secret treasure (even though Borough Market is actually very popular and well-known throughout London). One of my favorite pastimes became going to Borough Market with my friends and just wandering around the space sampling everything we passed. We ate our whole "lunch" at Borough Market sometimes by filling up on samples. I loved exploring this market because I got to see and taste foods from all over the world, not just foods that are specific to the UK. Some of my favorite things I had from Borough Market were a sausage role, meat pies, and Turkish delight. It was a great place to go hang out, eat amazing food, and watch people from all over the world exploring and having a good time.
What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
Take full advantage of your experience in every way while you're there, and don't be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone. You may not know when you'll get the chance to be in a certain place again, so explore everything you can while you're there. Talk to as many locals as you can, try the crazy-sounding foods specific to that country, travel as much as you can, and really enjoy your time because it flies by! But also, don't forget to do some studying while you're there too 🙂
Would you do it again?
How were your classes abroad different than if you would have taken them at UNC?
My classes at King's were much more focused on independent learning than my classes at King's. I typically had one lecture and one seminar a week per class, but the responsibility was on me to read at home to deepen and expound upon my understanding of topics, and reach out to get the help I needed if I didn't understand something. In addition, we didn't have any graded homework or classwork, so all of my grades came from my midterm and my final essays. While it was nice to not have homework throughout the semester, this did mean that I had to be careful to keep up with my readings and practice good time management for my essays because they were all due within the same week.