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Sierra President

About My Study Abroad Program

Major/Minor: Media and Journalism: Journalism and Political Science double major
Program: London: Criminal Justice, A Burch Field Seminar
Location: London, England
Term: Summer 2023


Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
I specifically chose this program because I have always been interested in criminal justice reform. Since the United States' legal system is mirrored off of the United Kingdom's, I knew that by visiting, I would be able to see what our system is doing well at, and also learn where we can improve. This program also allowed me to explore health policy, which I have had no formal training in prior to this experience.


What did you learn about yourself?
From my experience in London, I learned that studying law is something that I can achieve, even if I decide not to go to law school. Through being introduced to many people, each with different jobs and backgrounds, I have found out that I can easily apply my love for criminal justice procedures and practices to whatever I decide to choose. In short, from my program I realized that the opportunities available to me are vast and that I should not feel the need to limit myself.


What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
All of my favorite program memories have come from going in person to watch court cases! Throughout the summer, we visited the Royal Courts of Justice, Central Criminal Court, and Westminster Magistrates' Court. In each place we went, we were shown how the judicial system in the UK works in cases ranging from minor to severe. After the cases, we were able to make important comparisons and contrasts between what we witnessed and what goes on in the US. Alongside this, we went to see a play called Witness for the Prosecution, which gave us an inside look into what it is like to be a juror!


What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
My advice for any student studying abroad would be to remember that your experience will not be linear, there may be downs, but there will also be some ups. Understanding when to take time to focus on your personal needs is imperative to having a successful trip. Alongside this, I would remind students that this trip will provide numerous learning experiences, even ones outside of the traditional classroom. The growth you will undergo will be beneficial to both your personal and academic life. Also, most importantly, try to have fun!


How do you identify?
Student of color, Military/Veteran/GI Benefits, $5,000 Summer Study Abroad Fellowship Recipient


Could you share any experiences where your identity played a role in your time abroad?
One of the great things about London is the diversity. Leaving the country as a Black student made me wary at first, but seeing how well so many cultures coexist allowed me to feel comfortable sharing and expressing who I am. My program also had many students of varying identities, which gave me a shoulder of support when needed.


Is there any advice you would give to other students who share your identity?
My biggest piece of advice would be to not let your identity put you in a box. Although you should never ignore your identity, do not let it stop you from going to new places, trying new things, and making memories that will last a lifetime. I would also recommend making connections with people similar to you and reaching out for help when needed, because you should never have to feel alone.


If you faced any challenges abroad, where could you turn to get the support you needed?
My program group was very diverse, and since there were people who shared my identity, I knew that I could confide in them if needed. The professors that I had also welcomed each student with open arms, so if any problems occurred, I knew they would be great listening ears.