Jazmin Sanchez - 2014 Program Participant

Eating gelato at Hedera in Rome, Italy

Jazmin eating gelato at Hedera, a gelato shop in Rome near Vatican City, during her visit in mid-October.

Why did you choose to study abroad in London?

I traveled to Europe on a 19 day, six-country trip in high school and fell in love. I couldn’t wait to go back. When I started applying to CEA Study Abroad, I saw London as an option and knew it was my opportunity to go back. It was just one of those places you add to your “Places I want to live in” list.

Why did you select CEA Study Abroad over other programs?

I liked the locations and universities CEA offered. My university also works with the organization and other students have applied.

What was your favorite part about London?

I loved how accessible everything was by public transportation. I could hop on the tube to get to a place on the other side of the Thames River and take a 24-hour bus back to my dorm.

What were your housing arrangements like? What did you like about it?

I lived in a student residence hall located behind one of the university campuses. Each floor was split into two hallways with three to four rooms on each side. I shared a kitchen with five others, including my roommate. I loved how “homey” it felt once we all got settled in and got to know each other.

What was a normal day like for you as a student in London?

Wake up an hour before class. Get ready and grab a granola bar or yogurt for the 15 minute walk to school. Sit in lecture for an hour, then seminar for two hours. Get lunch somewhere around campus with classmates. Walk back to campus for another hour lecture and two hour seminar. Head back to my dorm. Stop by the grocery store to buy snacks or things to make dinner with. Catch up with roommate and unwind for the day. Make dinner and hang out with hallmates. Prepare for the next school day by reading and checking calendar. Shower and go to bed.

Telephone booth near the Westminster tube station in London, England

Jazmin near the Westminster tube station with Big Ben in the background.

What is the most memorable experience you had while studying abroad?

I visited where my paternal great-great grandfather was from in Valencia, Spain and met family I had never met before. I may have been there only a few days, but I felt so connected to these people and the stories they were sharing. It is the beginning of me piecing together my family tree.

What makes the CEA London program unique?

Each aspect of the program is made to make you so much a part of the city and the local culture.

What advice would you give to others interested in studying abroad in London?

Take advantage of the transportation! There are so many buses and trains going in all directions. It makes it so much easier to get around and see so much more than you normally would.

If you could change one thing about your program, what would it be?

I think the only thing I would change is not having food or a way of it being included in the tuition. Don’t get me wrong, I loved cooking and eating out, but it can get expensive in London.

If you could study abroad again, where would you go?

I would go to a country not part of Europe. It’s not to say I don’t love Europe, because I do, but I think it’s time for me to continue my traveling adventures in another continent. I can’t think of one place in particular, but I’d love a new experience.

Did you experience reverse culture shock after you left London?

I actually did, and felt so weird. I spent three months in another city and was so accustomed to the way I had been living on my own. Something as simple as getting into or driving a car was so foreign to me after using public transportation almost every day. Luckily, I spent a month on winter break and could adjust slowly without having to add school into the mix.

Ceramic poppies outside the Tower of London in England

The Tower of London was surrounded by ceramic poppies, each representing the British men and women who lost their lives during WWI. Jazmin volunteered in the deinstallation of the poppies in November and captured this shot that day.

How has your experience studying abroad impacted your life?

It has been the most impacting experience I’ve had in my 21 years of life. I learned to be my own person in so many ways, from not knowing anyone and starting from scratch to getting a taste of what living away from home will be like in a few years. I also feel more culturally competent after living in another continent and traveling to six different countries. I met so many new people from all walks of life and did so many things I never dreamed of. This isn’t just something you can do and walk away empty-handed; I left with my hands full.