The purpose of this post is to sum up my study abroad experience in London, which is very difficult to put into words. I experienced so many firsts–including my first time out of the country, first time being away from my family for more than a month and my first time trying curry (I hated it). Post program, I can definitely see the growth in myself personally, professionally and academically.
Personally, being responsible for my own travel, food, security and budget in a foreign currency made me more mature and confident in my abilities to “adult”. Navigating around London was a challenge at first, but now that I have conquered it I know I will no longer be intimidated by the bus system in Pittsburgh or the Subway next summer when I live in New York City. Also, having to plan out my days in advance really helped hone and develop time management skills, which was a major takeaway from this program. Time management that I learned while abroad is definitely something I will be able to apply to balance school, health, extracurriculars and social life next semester.
Academically, I got a lot more experience in analyzing my surroundings and trying to determine how they define a city’s character. I also learned about current issues that are happening in large cities across the world, such as gentrification and rising housing prices that are pushing the working class out of the neighborhoods they grew up in. Overall, my urban studies class really made me think about the underlying factors that are apart of a place that aren’t highlighted in mainstream media. This analytical mindset is definitely something I can take back to Pittsburgh and use when taking my political science classes this semester.
Professionally, being placed out of my comfort zone in a foreign country and into an international internship was a huge developmental step for my workplace confidence and communication skills. As I have mentioned in previous posts, my office at Scottish Pacific was very diverse, so naturally this presented some barriers in communication. This made me ask more questions and actively listen to instructions and tips on how to complete my work. Also, I became more confident in my ability to send professional emails and talk in the workplace. I definitely will be able to take these qualities back to my internship for the remainder of the summer and to Pitt when interviewing for internships.