About My Study Abroad Program
Major/Minor: Economics B.A., Statistics and Analytics, Business Administration
Program: London School of Economics
Location: London, United Kingdom
Term: Academic Year 2019 - 2020
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
Growing up, I was a “Harry Potter” fanatic and always fantasized about studying at Oxford University, where numerous of the series’ scenes were filmed. Following my sophomore year of high school, I traveled to the United Kingdom for the first time to attend Oxford Summer Courses, which marked my first of three study abroad experiences within the UK. As a high schooler, I fell in love with England’s green landscapes, history, and culture, but hoped to experience life in the UK beyond the countryside of Oxford. As I went into my sophomore year at UNC, I was finalizing my Kenan-Flagler Business School application and hoped to pursue an academically rigorous and culturally rewarding study abroad program. I decided upon attending the London School of Economics for 6 weeks and the program changed my life for the better as I met students from around the world, collaborated with world renowned professors, and traveled to 5 other countries. Thereafter, I learned I could be both an alumnus of UNC and LSE by completing LSE’s yearlong General Course Program, so I packed my bags to study in the UK for the third time. Although my study abroad experiences may not be diverse, I feel as if I was able to completely immerse myself into the culture since I have experienced every season and holiday throughout my time studying in the UK.
What did you learn about yourself?
Studying abroad taught me to be independent, whether it be taking a leap of faith to attend a university meeting without my friends by my side or traveling internationally. Prior to studying abroad, I would be hesitant to attend an extracurricular event without knowing anyone, but throughout my study abroad experience I learned to make friends in every new environment. One of my greatest takeaways from study abroad was that you can meet new people, who will become some of the most significant figures in your life, when you least expect it. For example, two years ago, I met one of my greatest friends after returning from a weekend trip to Barcelona. When I returned to my LSE dorm, the elevators were broken and I had to carry my suitcases up the stairs. Although this was an inconvenience at the time, I crossed paths with a student from one of my classes on the stairway and she asked about my weekend travels. This conversation sparked a friendship that grew throughout my study abroad experience and although she attends another university in the U.S., she has become one of my closest friends. Therefore, to anyone who plans to study abroad in the future, I recommend trusting the process and taking the time to try to meet new people!
What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
While studying in the United Kingdom for an academic year, I had the opportunity to both fully immerse myself into my host university’s student organizations and take advantage of the United Kingdom’s close proximity to numerous other European countries. From traveling to Iceland to Morocco within the same week, to visiting Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland for Christmas, and attending LSE’s Ski Week in the French Alps, I had one of the most eventful years of my life. One of my favorite study abroad experiences was being a member of LSE’s Social Tennis Team and competing in two matches against other universities within the London region. Being a member of the LSE Social Tennis Team meant more than improving my tennis skills. LSE Social Tennis gave me the opportunity to become involved with the LSE student body and also allowed me to meet other international students from different universities at weekend matches. The LSE Social Tennis Team was extremely welcoming and I will never forget the memories I made with my teammates as we traveled to matches together on the London Tube.
What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
Students studying abroad will be given the opportunity to make some of the most memorable experiences of their life, but being far from home and away from familiar faces can present some challenges at times. While studying abroad, I recommend that students proactively become involved from the start of their study abroad program. The best way to immediately immerse yourself into the study abroad experience is to join extracurricular clubs and attend events hosted by your study abroad program. Additionally, even in moments when you may feel homesick while abroad, remember that your peers in your study abroad program are in the same boat. As any person would feel while at home, everyone will go through both good and bad days. Therefore, I recommend that students studying abroad rely on other individuals in their program, whether they are an advisor or a peer. Throughout my study abroad experience, my study abroad advisor, Ben Briggs, was always willing to assist me and if he did not possess the answers to my questions he always directed me to another individual who could help.