I decided to study abroad to experience a new culture and get a broader sense of the world outside of the States.
Why did you choose the Athena Study Abroad London program?
I chose the Athena London program because the program offered me the most time to gain experiences in London, and even before I talked to anyone there, I could tell they would be extremely helpful before, during, and after going abroad.
What surprised you the most about life in London?
I think the quality of food was most surprising about London. Everyone in the States says food in England is so bland, but it's actually pretty good. The curry is phenomenal.
What made your study abroad experience interesting?
My program was extremely interesting because the university I attended had a lot of international students from other European countries, and China, who were full time students there. I got to meet so many diverse people and got to go on wonderful adventures, some with the help of the international programs office on campus and some that I went on with fellow students I met there.
What is the best thing about your program that future participants should know about?
This program gives you five wonderful months in London, so take advantage of it! It is so easy and cheap to fly or take the train to other countries, and you get plenty of time to go to them.
Also, definitely do some research before you go somewhere else, especially learning what currency they use, what the exchange rate is, and how expensive things tend to cost. I made the mistake of going to Copenhagen only knowing the Danish Krone to Dollar was 5:1. I did not realize, however, that most things there are also priced way more expensive than they would be in other countries, even after the exchange rate.
What’s one thing you would have done differently during your time abroad?
I would have started planning my trips to other countries and budgeted them out earlier than I did. I still got to go to some great places, but if I planned earlier, I could have experienced many more!
What was a typical day like for you as an international student in London?
A typical day for me was studying and/or going to class, maybe doing a couple chores (laundry/grocery shopping, etc.) then going and hanging out with my group of friends in another housing building.
What was your favorite part about living in London?
My favorite part about London was how easy it was to get around. Sometimes when I didn't have a lot to do I would just go and explore the city by myself. By then end of the trip, I was able to tell tourists how to get around when they would stop and ask me.
How would you say studying abroad has impacted you?
I feel like my world view is less sheltered. I learned more about myself by taking myself out of my comfort zone, deciding to go abroad without other people that I knew, and throwing myself into a new culture.
After your returned home, how did studying abroad impact your educational goals?
In a weird way, it helped me decided on a major. It broadened my perspective and helped me figure out what I really wanted from my education.
How has studying abroad changed your perspective of the world?
It made me think more about the bigger picture when it comes to anything in life. It also made me more familiar with England, which was helpful when I made British friends in the States after I came home.
Kathryn studied abroad in London during the spring semester of her sophomore year at Columbia College Chicago, where she majored in graphic design. She decided to go abroad because she wanted to explore the world and its diverse peoples and cultures before settling down in Chicago, Illinois. ?