Emily Cole - 2010 Program Participant
For a class trip Emily went to the Lake District in England, so she decided to get out and hike.
Why did you decide to apply for an international program? Why England?
For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by learning about other cultures. This revealed itself in the extensive amount of French and Italian I took in middle school and high school. I was lucky enough to participate in a short-term exchange program in Italy in high school. After participating in this program, I knew I wanted to study abroad in college.
I chose England because I am a bit of an anglophile. I love Jane Austen novels, as well as the other novels by great British writers like the Bronte sisters and JK Rowling. I love soccer (football), tea, and studying British history. I wanted to experience what it is really like to live in England, and I wanted to see the great historic sites in Britain.
What set Edge Hill’s program apart when comparing other study abroad programs?
Edge Hill’s program stood out to me for many reasons. Perhaps the biggest reason was location. I did not want to study in a big international city, like London, rather I wanted to really immerse myself in English culture. I liked that I had never heard of Ormskirk before and that it was not a big tourist destination. I also liked that although Ormskirk is only a small town, it was still nearby a large city. I also liked the idea that I was going to study in a historic market town. Once I got to Ormskirk I found that the town surpassed my expectations with a lot of great shopping, restaurants, and pubs. I loved how well it was connected to the rest of England, and I absolutely loved Liverpool.
Emily by the Edge Hill University sign when she arrived in snowy England
Another aspect of the program that set Edge Hill apart was the campus setting and school size. I liked how Edge Hill University was easily walkable and that all the campus buildings were on one main campus. The school size seemed large for me coming from a small private university, but I was happy to find that it was a large school with a small school feel.
Finally, Edge Hill University had all the coursework I needed and was able to provide the course listing well in advance. They made it easy to plan ahead to study abroad and make study abroad fit into my degree pursuit at my home university.
What were your housing arrangements like in the UK? What was the best part?
I lived in an on-campus dorm known as Forest Court. I was comfortable with my housing arrangements; I had a single room with a bathroom sink in my room which was nice. I enjoyed not having to share a room. I did share a bathroom with my hallmates, but it worked out well. There was also a shared kitchen. I think the best part of my housing arrangements was living with both British and American students. It made it easy to meet British students, and it was a lot of fun living with them! My dorm was in short walking distance from my classes and the dining hall which was convenient.
Describe a the life of an Edge Hill University international student.
Outside of campus there is a beautiful field with the traditional stone wall. The houses neighboring the field are distinguishingly English. Every time I walked by that field going into town it hit me that I was really in England. I would walk to town at least three to four times a week. It was an easy walk and I loved walking through the town’s streets to get there. There was so much to see and do in town. Twice a week there was a public market with everything from baked goods to jewelry. There were all the best shops including my favorite clothing store, New Look. There was the train station that would take me and my friends to Liverpool and beyond.
A class day was always busy. I would have two to three classes a day. I loved learning from my English tutors and classmates, and hearing their different perspectives. I would often find myself in the library on campus preparing for a paper. In the evening, my friends and I would usually end up at the dining hall, the Venue, or both. The Venue was a great place to go for dinner, for drinks, to watch football, and to even go dancing.
The beautiful castle in Conwy, Wales
Why was England such a great place to study tourism management and marketing?
Edge Hill University offered some unique courses that my home university did not, including a heritage management course and an environmental tourism course. The courses I took offered a unique perspective I would not have gotten in the U.S. For example, in my marketing class we often talked about Americanization. It was interesting to learn about the global influence of my native country from an outsider's perspective.
What was the most memorable part of your study abroad experience at Edge Hill?
The friends that I met and the places I got to visit were the most memorable parts of studying abroad. I made some great friends, both American and British, that I am still friends with five years later. I also will never forget seeing the castle in Conwy, Wales, horseback riding in the Lake District, and seeing Everton play Manchester United to name just a few of my favorite memories.
What was your favorite activity outside the normal day-to-day schedule of your program?
I loved how easy it was to travel around Britain. There was always so much to explore, and you did not have to travel far.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while studying abroad in England?
The biggest challenge I faced while abroad was homesickness for the first few days while I was abroad.
How did the Edge Hill staff support and guide you throughout your program to help you achieve success?
The Edge Hill staff was there to greet me upon my arrival to the U.K. They supported me with an orientation and a check-in meeting halfway through the semester. I always felt that the International Office was welcoming and I could go there for support anytime I needed it.
What advice would you give to other Niagara University students who are interested in studying abroad at Edge Hill?
I would advise students to make friendships with the local students and not to only hang out with the other American students. In addition, I encourage other students to get out and really explore Britain. Of course there are a lot of other great countries to see, but there is so much to see just in Britain. I know I have a huge list of places I would like to see in the U.K. the next time I go back. Also, I would encourage them to take part in the host family program. I had a wonderful experience with that program and the best host family!
Emily on a day trip to the Lake District with her host parents and friends
Why is Ormskirk such a great location to study abroad?
In addition to the above, I felt really safe studying in Ormskirk. All the locals were so friendly and helpful.
How has studying abroad impacted your life? Your career?
My experience studying abroad directly influenced my career path. It encouraged me to pursue a career in international education. I work to motivate students to study abroad in order to gain international understanding. It influenced my work as it has made me more empathetic and allowed me to better support the international students I work with. It allows me to better advise my students who will be studying in the U.K.
It has influenced me personally in that it made me more self confident and a more independent women. After studying abroad in England I was able to move to Ireland for a short time for an internship, where I lived and traveled on my own. Both of these experiences abroad helped me in my transition of moving to Connecticut from Western New York, as I used the same adaption skills I had to use in England.
Studying abroad in England is one of the most influential and memorable experiences of my life!