Dear past me,
Studying abroad is dramatically different than what you anticipated. You weren’t sure what to expect and you figured you’d get homesick and you were right about that, but the experiences that you have had will make up for this homesickness and allow you to grow as a person, being more open and fearless to new situations while embracing different cultures.
Something I wish I came in with is the mindset of not to worry so much about money when it comes to travels. Life is expensive but as my dad tells me, this is a once in a life time opportunity, you can’t let the stresses of life and in this case my finances prevent you from taking full advantage of being so close to everything. However, when it comes to spending money on going out to eat, you really shouldn’t have done that so often when you first got here and if you spread it out more, your dollar(or pound) will stretch much farther.
The trips that you have taken are the absolute highlights of your abroad experience. You’ve gone to 5 different countries other than England so far, you’re going to a 6th this weekend and the program isn’t even over yet. You have been able to experience cultures and your surroundings in a way much different than what you’ve ever experienced before. The way people act, the way people talk, the way you’re supposed to act in a restaurant, what people eat and even what activities different cultures like to take part in. Breathing in the smells of the various markets you’ve gone to and seeing the different government buildings and prized possessions of different countries has been absolutely riveting.
Not so strangely, while you travel, you’ll have started to notice and analyze how international brands advertise in different areas. You know what they’re doing due to previous knowledge and the knowledge you have gained through your courses here at CAPA. You see Coke everywhere, and you’re extremely surprised on how popular KFC is in Europe and the whole idea of analyzing these brands fascinates you and just adds to the experience of being in a different country.
The classes you’re taking are amazing, so good job planning that with your advisor. One thing to remember that I constantly forget is that you are not only here to travel and explore, but you are also here to work and do class work. Working here had caused my brain to not fully process that I’m taking classes and have assignments that must be done because I only go to class twice a week, while I attend my internship 3-4 days a week. Luckily, because my internship was so greatly matched with me, I’ve been able to establish my love for market research and am considering it as a future career path. The techniques that I have learned through my internship, paired with concepts I’ve learned in my classes have been extremely beneficial and interesting to my learning.
Something you would have really looked forward to is reawakening your love for the arts through taking a modern art class and studying the artists, their pieces and the stories behind all of it. Additionally, through the tours you’ve taken both inside and outside classes has exposed you to beautiful street art (which you’ve always loved), that are given even more powerful meaning by knowing the stories behind them and the motivation of the artists in the city of London.
The world is big, there’s so much to see. You’re going to get lost, so just avoid the Circle Line – because that’s where it gets you, and you’ll be fine and always find your way. Don’t be scared and greet your experience with an open mind and heart.
Trust me, I wouldn’t lie to me!