Elyse Beine - 2010 Program Participant
During her undergraduate studies in Business Management at Ripon College, Elyse had the opportunity to join ACM in both London and Florence for a study abroad program that allowed her to explore places outside the normal classroom and subjects outside her major. The experience changed her perspectives, of the world, of time, of different cultures, of people, and of education.
2010 Ripon College ACM London-Florence Group and the London Bridge. Photo by Elyse Beine
Why did you choose to study abroad?
I chose to study abroad because I wanted to travel and experience a different culture.
What made you choose ACM in particular?
I chose ACM because my college, Ripon College, offered a majority of the study abroad programs through ACM.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while abroad?
The biggest challenge I faced while studying abroad was finding the courage to travel by myself. We often had a long weekend to go on day trips or weekend getaways. There was usually a group of students interested in any given trip. However, one weekend I ended up on a bus trip alone and I almost decided not to go. It was the first time I officially traveled by myself without a group – it was scary, but an amazing experience!
What are the things you miss the most from London? Florence?
I miss the public transportation in London! I loved riding the tube and exploring London with convenient public transportation. Not to mention, I miss hearing the recording on the tube platforms, “Mind the Gap.”
I miss the home cooked five course dinners from Florence. Every night, our host mother would cook us an elaborate dinner (normal for Italians) consisting of at least five courses. We never had the same thing twice in the eight weeks we were there!
What lessons or things did you learn while studying abroad?
I learned how to live more in the moment and not try to plan things to a T. Sometimes the most enjoyable moments were taking the wrong tube line, getting off at the wrong Italian bus stop, missing a bus trip to Oxford after we had booked the tickets, or walking two miles in the rain from the ferry to our hotel. Things did not always go the way they were planned, and I came to accept that and go with the flow.
Would you recommend the program to others?
I would DEFINITELY recommend the program to others. It was an amazing experience to live in two countries and study subjects outside of my majors. I learned many things about myself, met a ton of new people, and visited some wonderful places.
What important tips can you give to future participants of the program?
Packing - if you ask anyone who was on the trip with me, my motto was “Don’t pack what you can’t carry.” There are often no elevators and you will end up in a hostel on the fifth floor, or you have to carry ALL of your luggage with you for spring break. The more layers and separates that make different outfits you pack, the easier it will be to pack light.
Also, many items can be bought over there that you do not even need to pack and can just throw out along the way. But ALWAYS pack one pair of underwear for each day (laundry facilities permitting). Otherwise, as one of the guys on my trip can tell you, you might end up wearing rain soaked underwear for two days.
How did studying abroad affect your life after your program?
I appreciate and welcome cultural differences that I was not aware of before the study abroad experience. The only way we learn new things is by being exposed to new people, places, and ideas. I now seek new experiences in my daily life and love meeting new people, visiting new places, and people sharing different viewpoints and ideas.
If you could study abroad again, where would you go and why?
I would DEFINITELY study abroad again and would like to go to Spain. I was there for a few weeks on a high school trip. I would like to experience the culture for a longer period of time and re-learn Spanish.