Lydia Johnson - 2015 Program Participant
What inspired you to go abroad?
My grandmother and my mother inspired me to study abroad. Traveling to over a dozen countries (and countless cities!), she was always traveling and meeting different people. After college, my mother spent a year in London. Growing up, I would see photos of the Eiffel Tower and Venice, Italy and I would dream of visiting another country. Nothing inspired me more than my mother and grandmother to study abroad.
Why did you sign up with CAPA The Global Education Network?
I chose the CAPA program because it is linked with my college, Albright. I am allowed to take a full class load when I cross the sea and explore the unknown world of London. This program gives me the option to “personalize the experience,” by allowing me to both take a full load of courses and participate in an internship or service-learning opportunity.
It was a dream come true to intern in London, and the CAPA program helped me fulfill that dream.
What was your favorite part about London?
My favorite part about London was that it is a fashion-influenced city. London is simply in style. Pops of colors come from tall beautiful flowers growing out of window boxes. Colorful row houses stand tall on a long windy street. London is also home to a vast number of parks. From High Park to St. James Park, you can walk from tall city buildings into the peaceful world of nature in a matter of minutes. The mix of city and country makes London a very interesting place to live and work.
What made your internship abroad unique?
Going with some of my classmates made my study abroad experience unique. The Albright in London program offers a special semester program in London, England working with CAPA The Global Educational Network. I was able to pay my Albright tuition with a study abroad fee in exchange for spending a semester taking courses and participating in an amazing fashion internship. I was also able to take all my federal and Albright financial aid with me as I studied abroad.
How supportive was the CAPA staff in London?
Daniel and Ezra were the front desk assistants at CAPA London. Every day when I walked in, I would get greeted with a friendly "hello" (British style, of course). As a student council member, I worked closely with Carla and Clair. We had weekly meetings, where we would discuss event plans and activities for the other CAPA students. I served as public relations person and my job was to advertise to the other CAPA students about our events. Carla and Clair were very engaging and helpful. At the end of the semester, the student council member brought Carla some flowers and we each received a personal thank you card from her.
What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?
I wished I took advantage of the clubs at the local international university. They offer over 50+ clubs, ranging from sports to arts to humanities. I was originally interested in their fashion, modern dance, and choir clubs. One day, after a CAPA event, my friends and I went to see the campus and visit. It was very spacey and colorful. If I could study abroad again, I would better manage my time and join a club abroad.
Describe a typical day in your life in London.
I would wake up around 6 a.m., shower, and get dressed for the day. Then, I was off to classes on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The CAPA office was about 45 minutes away from my homestay, via the underground. During lunchtime, I usually ate in a little café or I brought food from my homestay. After afternoon classes, I usually headed back to my homestay to find out what my housemate and friends had planned for the evening or weekend.
On Mondays and Fridays, I was at my fashion Internship from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. That tube ride was longer than my normal 45-minute commute. On those days, I had to wake up extra early to get ready for my busy day.
What did you enjoy doing in your free time?
Most of my free time was spent going to fashion events in the city or exploring the city with friends. We went to some of London's park and carnivals. Londo has a lot of free and low-cost events for students to participate in. Piccadilly Circus is a like a bigger and older version of New York's Times Square. It has shops, restaurants, and pubs for Londoners and tourist to enjoy. On my fall break, I had the opportunity to travel to Barcelona, Pisa, and Cinque Terre. CAPA provided us with several trips, including a trip to Bath and Paris.
What was your accommodation like? What did you like best about it?
I lived in a homestay with a Turkish family. There was a mother and twin girls living in the house when I came. I later met the father and my American housemate. What I liked the best about the house was that I was on the first floor with my own bathroom, and I was very close to the kitchen. British houses are small and compacted. Unlike most American homes, British families do not own or use a clothing dryer. The washed clothes are either hung outside in the summer and on the heaters in the winter. My room was a good size and it came with a closet, dresser, mirror, a rug, and two twin beds. In homestays, students do not have to share bedrooms.
What is one thing every participant should know before joining CAPA The Global Education Network abroad?
CAPA is global; CAPA offer programs in London, Dublin, Buenos Aires, Florence, Shanghai, and Sydney. Students should know that they can capture the world with CAPA. CAPA is very helpful and informative when it comes to studying abroad. They have been global leaders in studying abroad since 1972. They also offer internships; out of the 10 percent of American students who study abroad, only 3 percent intern abroad.
How would you express the importance of this internship abroad experience?
Going to London was the best decision that I have ever made. The three and half months that I spend in the UK (and traveling) helped me see the world. It helped me checked off cities on my bucket list, meet new people, and become a citizen of the world. I got to experience how to work, live, and learn in an international city.
This experience has forever changed my personal and academic life.
Would you recommend CAPA to others? Why?
As a CAPA Ambassador, I one hundred percent would recommend the CAPA London program to other students. On my college's campus, I have talked in classrooms, given info sessions, and help at a table held at our study abroad fair. The CAPA program is life-changing and has been ranked top in study abroad websites. I am very pleased that Albright partnered with CAPA to give me and other students a chance to capture the world.