Allison Adams - 2015 Program Participant
What inspired you to apply for a study abroad program?
I went on a short-term study abroad trip in May of 2014. The course was all about theatre in London and we were there for two weeks. I completely fell in love with London and all the city has to offer, so I decided that two weeks in England was not nearly enough. That's when I decided to go back to London for a semester.
Why did you choose CAPA International Education?
When I first met with my study abroad adviser at my home institution, I came home with an stack of brochures from all kinds of study abroad programs. I knew I wanted to live in a flat in central London and be able to meet locals, but I think the main reason CAPA stood out for me was their internship program. They have amazing connections with companies throughout all of their global cities. No matter where you are placed, you are going to have a beneficial experience.
What did you love most about London?
London really has something for everyone. If you love theatre, you will never be bored. If you love food, you will make your stomach ecstatic, eating your way through the city. If you love culture, everywhere you turn is diversity. London is not just occupied by British people, but by people from all over the globe, each who have their own individual story and culture.
What made your time with CAPA special?
CAPA holds weekly MyEducation events and cultural activities. These are events and excursions put on by CAPA that are free for you to attend. For instance, I got to take a boat cruise down the river Thames, see Les Miserables, attend a Rugby game, and much more.
How supportive was the local staff?
The CAPA London team grew to be some of my best friends while abroad. They are great about getting you out into the city, showing you around, and giving tons of advice and tips. They helped me with anything, from finding good restaurants to booking travel tickets.
What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?
It's so easy to get comfortable in the American bubble since you are living with other Americans. I wish I would have made more of an effort to meet even more locals by getting involved in clubs and organizations.
What was your typical day like in England?
I would get up and make myself a cup of tea like a true Brit and hop on the Tube for 30 minutes to the CAPA centre. I would have a morning class, then grab lunch in the beautiful Kensington or Chelsea neighborhood. Then I would travel to my internship, again via the wonderful Tube. After work, I would either hang out at my flat with my friends or go out into the city for dinner, drinks, a show, or whatever the city had available for us.
What did you like doing when you weren’t busy studying?
Travel! When in England, you are so close to the rest of Europe that I would really recommend traveling to other countries while you are abroad. I ended up traveling to Dublin, Paris, Amsterdam, Prague, and Brussels, and it's very cheap to do this. My flight to Dublin was just $25!
Tell us about your accommodation in London. What did you enjoy most about it?
I was staying in a flat (or as we call it: apartment) in west London. I really loved getting out of the normal campus atmosphere and being able to live next door to local British families.
Do you have any packing tips for students headed to London?
Bring an umbrella, and lots of layers; London is notoriously rainy and you want to be as prepared as possible. Also, don't overpack. You will want to buy your friends and family souvenirs while you're over there and you'll need space to bring them back. I ended up having to buy another suitcase to come home and it was very inconvenient and expensive.
What is one thing you wish you would have known before studying abroad in London?
Commuting in London, or any big city for that matter, can be frustrating. I come from a small town where you can drive anywhere in five minutes. I wasn't prepared for the length of some commutes throughout London. I would say the minimum commute time in London is 30 minutes.
What did you take home with you from this experience?
Studying abroad really changes you as a person. Before I went to London, I was a lot more timid. Going overseas forces you to dive into the deep end away from your comfort zone and that really makes a difference in your character. I am so much more independent and confident after traveling to London.
How has studying abroad in London impacted your life at home?
It sounds very cheesy to say, but studying abroad really has changed my life. I am so much more confident and independent than I was before I boarded the plane bound for London. It really forces you outside your comfort zone and I think it's impossible to not be changed by an experience like that.
If you could study or intern abroad again with CAPA, where would you go?
If I could study again with CAPA I would definitely go to Ireland. I was fortunate enough to visit Ireland for a weekend trip from London and it was absolutely gorgeous. I would have liked to have more time exploring the beautiful Irish countryside.