Cassie Naes - 2014 Program Participant

How did you come to decide to study abroad?

I was a junior in high school when I heard about Mizzou's study abroad opportunities. I had originally planned on studying abroad in Australia, but my freshman year at Mizzou I heard about the CAPA London Internship program. I had never left the United States and I liked that being in London would make traveling throughout Europe easy. Earning class credit while interning and traveling abroad made the decision to take part in an international program a no-brainer.

What made you choose CAPA specifically?

I chose the CAPA London Internship Program because getting an international internship is a priceless experience. I was able to work in a successful London public relations agency which allowed me to see how the industry works abroad. I also took classes with CAPA that felt more like weekly field trips. CAPA also has great resources for students in terms of housing, travel, and local events. Their professionalism and willingness to help students gave me peace of mind when it came to leaving the country for a whole semester.

What made London such a special place to study abroad?

There is always something going on in London, whether that means a new place to explore or a new activity to take part in. I lived there for four months and I still didn't see everything I wanted to. London is the best city in the world and each borough that it consists of offers you something different. As Samuel Johnson said, "A man that is tired of London, is tired of life." Another advantage to living in London was how easy it made traveling to other parts of Europe. With four airports, it seems that every European destination is at your fingertips.

In what ways is CAPA’s London program unique?

My particular CAPA London Internship program was very unique because it was with the Missouri School of Journalism. There were 21 students from my school on the program and we all lived in the same flat in Camden, had journalism internships, and took the same two classes. Other schools that participate in the CAPA program get to pick what classes they take, but ours were planned for us. I actually liked that I took classes with the students from Mizzou because we became a lot closer and it helped us bond a little bit. CAPA in general is unique though because I don't know any other program that sets you up with an internship while having you take classes as well. The fact that they set you up in really nice flats in central London is also great because it immerses you into the city instead of being stuck on a University campus.

How did CAPA’s local staff help you throughout the program?

CAPA staff helped throughout my program in numerous ways. They made sure my internship was going well, and that I was accomplishing what I set out to do. They helped me file an insurance claim after I was pick-pocketed on spring break in Prague. They also played the part of mediator when there was some drama between some of the people on our program. In addition to that, they also provided students with travel information and weekly updates on local events happening in London.

Is there anything you wish you had done differently?

The only thing I wish I would have done differently is start traveling earlier. My friends and I did not start traveling until almost half way through our program, so by the time we began in April we were out of town almost every weekend. I wish we would have spread out our trips so that saying goodbye to London wasn't as bittersweet.

Walk us through a normal day in the life of your program.

On a normal Thursday of my program I would wake up at around 9 a.m. and get ready for the day ahead. My friends and I would go to Borough market for lunch before we had class at 2 p.m. Borough has every food imaginable from seafood paella, to burgers, to desserts, fresh fruit and produce, and so much more. Thursdays I had two classes; British Life and Culture class with the CAPA professor and an internship class with a Mizzou professor. Our British Life and Culture class was intended for us to get to know more about the city so we went on field trips every week. Some of those included a tour of Wembley Arena, a day trip to Brighton, trip to Greenwich on a riverboat, and several museum visits.

Our internship class was great as well. Our teacher was from the Mizzou journalism school so every week we would go to different magazines, newspapers, public relations and advertising agencies. After class (we got out at around 7 p.m.) my friends and I would go to a bar called Walkabout outside of Temple tube station. The drink specials are what originally drew us in, but the karaoke and great company each week brought us back. Whenever we would leave for the night the London Eye would be lit up across the street and it always just put into perspective how beautiful London really is.

What was your favorite activity beyond the the normal scheduling of your program?

I think the simple Sunday routine I had with my three best friends was one of my favorite activities. The four of us would take the bus from Camden to Hampstead to get the best crepes in London for brunch (I highly recommend the Crepe Complete or the Banana Maple Cream Dream) and then we would go to Primrose Hill and reminisce on the weekend’s adventures. Crepes and sitting on a hill seem like such a simple thing, but those were some of my favorite moments. The view from Primrose Hill is one of the best in London and you can see the whole city's skyline on a good day. Seeing how big the city is put my experience into perspective; I am one person in this city of millions. Sitting there with my best friends talking about life and about how London quickly became home, and made me savor every day of those four months.

What was your living situation in London like?

While in London I stayed in a flat in Camden, a borough of central London known for its young hipster vibe. My specific flat had three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, living room, and dining room. It was a really modern apartment and a lot nicer than most the of things you see on International House Hunters on HGTV. I loved the location of our apartment because when it came time to go out, we were in the middle of everything.

How has studying abroad impacted your life since the return?

Since getting back from London in May, my life has gone back to normal for the most part. I am finishing out my senior year and making up for lost time with my family and friends. I haven't gone more than a few days without either wishing I was in London or doing/seeing something that reminds me of my experience. My newfound global mindset that came from studying and interning abroad has opened me up to the idea of moving and working in London for a long period of time in the future. My experience also gave me a major travel bug. If I had the the financial capability I would take a year off and just keep seeing all the places that the world has to offer. Since May, I have also become an ambassador for the CAPA program which I have found super rewarding. I get to talk about my experience with people who aren't tired of my stories and recruit people for the program so they can get the life changing experience I did.