While studying abroad is a lot of fun, it isn’t a vacation. There are still classes to take and homework to do. This sometimes puts a damper on things when you have plans to go out and explore the area you are living in for such a short time, but the lessons you learn in the classes you take abroad are very useful and transferable.
During my time in London, I took two courses, Urban Studies and International Marketing. My Urban Studies course meets twice a week. Mondays we have lecture about the components of a “global city” and what advantages and disadvantages come with that. On Wednesdays we have field studies where we go to a borough of London and learn about the history and how the area has changed and regenerated over time. London has been around since Roman times and obviously a lot has changed since then. This course allowed me to visit parts of London I never would have seen on my own. My favorite part was when we learned about the history of Shoreditch and Brick Lane which is famous for its Indian cuisine and street art. I now have a new appreciation for both.
International Marketing was essential for my major, and it was a lot of work. We had multiple papers and presentations to squeeze into the 6 week time period. Because it was mostly group work, meeting with my group mates was challenging since we all have such busy schedules to work around. However, the things I have learned in this class were extremely relevant and applicable to the real world. Our final consisted of creating a detailed marketing plan for a company that we think would succeed in another country. My group wrote about the British fast-casual restaurant Nando’s expanding into Japan. The project gave me valuable insight into cultural differences and the steps in writing a real marketing plan.
Studying abroad is an amazing experience where you learn a lot outside of the classroom, but it is also essential to pay attention and learn inside of the classroom. After all, we still need the credits!