Jen Ritinski - 2013 Program Participant

In Trafalgar Square
In Trafalgar Square.

What made you decide to study abroad?

I love to travel, and I had always planned on studying abroad during college. I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone and really immerse myself in a new culture. 

Why did you choose CAPA International Education in particular?

From the start, CAPA International Education distinguished itself as a truly comprehensive program; not only are the academics exemplary, but students are encouraged to take advantage of extracurricular excursions to immerse themselves in each city’s diverse culture.

What makes CAPA stand out as a winning program?

Since I choose to do the London program, the sheer amount of diversity within the city made the entire experience culturally rich and exciting! CAPA did a wonderful job of offering numerous activities to better acquaint ourselves with the many facets of London living.

What is one thing about your program that future participants should know?

Future students should know that the best way to have a valuable experience abroad with CAPA is to take advantage of the free MyEducation activities they offer! These are great ways to get to know your peers, experience the culture, and try something new. Activities ranged from seeing plays, watching football and rugby games, museum tours, and many more.

What was your favorite part of the program?

My favorite part of the program was the group day trips we took to Stonehenge and Bath. Both of these places were farther outside of London and I probably would not have planned to see them on my own. It was a great chance to visit these places and to do it with other students in the program made it even better!

Now that your program is over, what’s one thing you would change going back?    

I wish I had planned to study abroad for an entire academic year, rather than just the semester. I was able to do and see so many things while abroad, yet my time there still seemed to fly by!

What was a typical day like for you studying abroad in London.

 I would take the Tube from my flat in Ealing, west London into central London in the morning. I would then spend a few hours exploring different parts of the city. Since my classes weren’t until the afternoon, this gave me the perfect opportunity to visit some of the more popular tourist attractions at off-peak hours. Classes consisted of both lectures and field trips, which helped everyone see some parts of the city they might otherwise not have known about. After a three-hour class in the afternoon, I would travel back to my flat to cook dinner, and then make plans with my flatmates for that night.

London is a huge international city - how did you handle the culture shock?

The first week of the program was when I noticed the culture shock the most, partly because of the jetlag. I think the best way to overcome it is just to realize that you will experience culture shock, but that it is only temporary. By creating a routine for yourself, you’ll be surprised how quickly you can adapt. In fact, for me it was more difficult dealing with reverse culture shock when I returned home!

How has studying abroad changed your life?

I’m much more inquisitive and adventurous than I was before. I feel confident exploring new places on my own, and studying abroad has made me want to travel even more than before!