I cannot believe it has been two weeks since I have departed London. Coming home felt like a blur, one second I was hauling my suitcases to the tube and before I knew it I woke up in Philadelphia. While I felt happy to see my friends and family again, it felt difficult to think about the life I left behind. Living in London felt like having the world at my fingertips, and I have never experienced anything like it. However being home and settling in these past two weeks have given me a chance to reflect on my experience and what I have learned.
From an academic perspective, I am amazed at how much I have learned. I know that should be a given, as it is a study abroad program, but I did not realize how influential my classes would be. My 20th Century British History class showed me a whole new side of Britain that I had never seen before, such as the nations deep economic struggles after World War II or the country’s role in foreign affairs like the Partition of India. Having historical context gave me a deeper insight into British culture but also current political events. My Urban Studies course taught me how to experience the city in an analytical way, teaching me to ask how London presents itself, and who the city works for. I also feel like I can see how culture, politics, and globalization have shaped the modern growth of the city. The lessons I have learned in this class were very applicable in my travels, as I felt like I could better compare and contrast other European cities to London. As a result of my academics, I feel that I am a more well-rounded learner, with stronger critical thinking skills.
I have also grown from a professional perspective. My international internship was an incredible experience that I am glad I participated in. Working at my internship enhanced my perspective on the European business environment, through learning about and promoting the EU and Norway funding programs to potential clients across the continent. I also gained critical experience in business development and lead generation, skills that will be very useful in my future career. Having experience working on a diverse, global team has taught me different ways of work and how to be more adaptable overall.
As a result of my study abroad experience in London, I feel that I have grown so much as a person. Balancing both school and work has made me better at time-management and organization. Navigating life in the city has made me more independent and self-reliant. The relationships I have built abroad have made me more open-minded and compassionate. I am so grateful to have had to have had this experience in London, and am looking forward to applying the lessons I have learned back in Pittsburgh.
Goodbye for the last time