Nicole Herrin - 2014 Program Participant

Hiking in Abergavenny, Wales

Nicole leaping in excitement at having hiked her first "mountain" in month, in Abergavenny, Wales during a much-needed weekend trip with her best friend.

Why did you choose to study abroad?

I chose to study abroad because I wanted to see a new part of the world. I was tired of the monotony of living in the same city that I’d been in for 21 years, and I knew that studying abroad would be the eye-opener to new experiences, skills, and opportunities that I needed it to be.

What were your housing arrangements like in London?

My housing arrangement was a flat of six people and a shared kitchen. I had my own room and bathroom, so I always had the privacy that I needed, but sharing a kitchen and therefore mealtimes with my five flatmates was wonderful.

Explain a day in the life of a student in London.

A normal day as a student at Queen Mary University of London was very similar to what it is here in the States—get yourself ready for the day, spend a few hours in class, do what you please in the evening (grocery shop, go to a club meeting, have dinner with friends and/or flatmates, explore the city, etc.) and use whatever time you could during the day to keep ahead of homework and an abundant amount of reading that one was expected to do for lectures and seminars.

The London Eye in London, England

The London Eye lit up in December, with some luminous clouds over the River Thames.

Why do you want to go back to London?

London is the most incredible, exciting, diverse, and action-packed city one could want to spend their free time in. Put simply, I want to go back because London feels more like a second home than a travel destination. There are places I didn’t get to see that I wish I could, and friends that I miss dearly waiting for me back there.

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

If I could study abroad again, I would go to New Zealand. Now that I’ve lived in a new city in the Northern Hemisphere, I’d love to spend an extended amount of time in the Southern. New Zealand looks to be an absolutely beautiful country, and after spending so much time in a very urban place, I’d love to spend multiple months in the wide open spaces of New Zealand.

Even though you studied abroad in an English-speaking country, did you experience reverse culture shock?

Surprising as it was to me, I did experience reverse culture shock upon coming back to the U.S. I kept walking to the left of people, expecting to pay in pounds, expecting to just seat myself at a restaurant, and to suddenly hear all of these American accents was a little harsh on the ears, to be honest! I had to get used to driving myself everywhere again (as opposed to taking the tube and walking), and it became evident how much more likely it is for someone to look you in the eye and smile as you pass them on the sidewalk here.