As a result of this program, I have developed a deeper understanding of not only my own identity, but who I want to become. It has made me aware of my strengths and deeply aware of my vices. This program has allowed me to recognize my limits and what happens when I spread myself too thin, as well as allowed me to find methods to cope with my deteriorating mental health. Just from simply coming to this realization, I feel that I have achieved growth. By recognizing some faults, it creates an opportunity to work on them, and to fix them.
I wish that I had known the timing schedule of this program. This CAPA program does not allow its students to catch a breather. As soon as you arrive you attend orientation jet-lagged and then start to attend classes while getting used to the city. If you have an internship, you have classes and work everyday, with little time to travel or explore. Then, at the end, you have to leave at 10 am the Saturday of finals week, making packing, studying, cleaning the flat, and completing assignments an around the clock activity. From this, I felt my mental health suffer and I struggled to complete assignments from my lack of sleep. Although I do recognize my professors for being extremely accommodating, I felt that it was hard to explore the city. Additionally, although I am incredibly thankful for my internship and am grateful for that experience, if I was to do this program again, I would tell myself to really consider what I valued more, getting to know London or completing my certification.
I also wish that I had known which cafes were open until late and how to time-manage my work. The apartments that we are put in are not very student friendly, with multiple people in a room and no desks, making a cafe or a loud kitchen your only places to get work done. Public libraries and cafes are open, but almost all close at 5 pm, which is inconvenient as I ended class at 5:15 pm. As such, I wish I had known that the Starbucks in covent garden was open until 9pm earlier, as it would have made completing my academic work a lot easier.
Something that surprised me the most is the vagueness of instructions in the UK. At first I thought it was my boss but my professors directed in a similar fashion as well. Although it was hard to adapt to in the beginning, in many ways I am thankful. At work, it gave me a lot of direction to be creative and complete tasks in ways I deemed to be efficient. From this, my own personal work was published and it provided the company with new methods on completing projects. When it came to classes, it helped me develop a confidence in taking the initiative in asking questions. I felt that I often had to raise my hand to ask for clarity on an assignment which I had always found daunting. However, without this I could not complete the assignments correctly. This experience has made me realize to never be afraid to ask questions because people are always willing to help.