Olivia Bogdan - 2009 Program Participant

Conwy Castle, Wales

Olivia’s new friends and the first trip, Conwy Castle, Wales

You were a child development major at The University of Memphis when you went abroad, why did you decide to apply for an international program in England?

I wanted to branch out of my comfort zone, and England seemed like a good start to my journey of exploration. It was totally different than the U.S., yet I learned so many similarities between the countries. I am a curious person, so I wanted to learn and understand the perspectives of others and their take on everyday life.

What set Edge Hill’s program apart from others when comparing programs overseas?

I did do my research because I wanted to find the best fit for me. I asked a lot of questions, which I think is completely necessary. The advisors in the University of Memphis international office were very helpful in pointing me in the right direction. Based on location, expenses, and classes offered, I knew this was the best fit for me. Also, even before I made it abroad, Jane Clarke and those in the international office at Edge Hill were so incredibly helpful. This put my mind at ease, and I knew I made the right decision.

Why would you encourage students to study abroad during their collegiate career?

It was by far one of the best decisions I have ever made. So naturally, I would encourage every student to do the same. I was actually encouraged by an older friend to study abroad because she regretted not doing so!

I grew so much as a person during my experience abroad. I learned a lot about myself and gained a lot of independence. If your circumstances allow it, it is definitely worth taking the time to research if it is right for you.

View of Paris, France

Paris on Valentine’s Day!

What did you enjoy doing most outside of your coursework?

Hands down, traveling! It can be so inexpensive if you plan it out right; hop on a train or a cheap plane ride, and you are in another country! Take a day trip to a nearby town and it could be completely different from the next. Of course, make sure to balance that with your school schedule, you must keep focus on what you there for!

What was the most memorable part of your study abroad experience at Edge Hill?

The most memorable part of my study abroad experience were the friendships I made. I met one of my very best friends while studying at Edge Hill University. Why not go abroad to get a great education, have fun, travel, and meet new people all at one time? Traveling was an extra perk; I was so fortunate to see different cities in the UK, as well as different cities in Spain, France, Switzerland, and Italy. Immersing yourself in new cultures is priceless!

What was the biggest challenge you faced as a international student in the UK?

From my experience, my classes were taught much differently than back home. It was a hard adjustment at first, but I think everyone needs to be challenged when learning. However, each person’s experience is different. Being away from my family and friends was also tough at first, but everyone was just so welcoming at Edge Hill, which made my transition much easier.

Tourist with local man holding a soccer ball in Venice, Italy

Olivia’s new soccer friend in Venice, Italy

How did the Edge Hill staff support and guide you throughout your program to help you achieve success?

Everyone was so kind and nurturing. Those in the international office were helpful and encouraging. You could go to them for help at any point, which was very reassuring. From the very first day, they were very organized in getting us from the airport.

The Edge Hill staff showed us around, had tea and snacks for us, and encouraged us to push ourselves that day to sleep well the first night because of jet lag. They really had an open door policy at all times.

All my professors were also great! They were open to any questions or concerns that I might have had.

What advice would you give to others interested in studying abroad at Edge Hill?

Take the leap, and do it! It’s honestly something that will change your life for the better. It is such a big world out there, and at the same time, so small. The culture, the history, and everyday experiences were so interesting to me. There was never a dull moment, and you are constantly learning in and outside of the classroom.

Why is Ormskirk such a great location to study abroad?

Besides being so quaint and sweet, Ormskirk is also central to the big cities of Liverpool and Manchester. You could have the best of both worlds. I loved that Ormskirk had everything you needed in one spot, and that the city center was within walking distance from campus. The essentials were always near by, shops, grocery stores, restaurants, etc. It felt more like home to me, which helped me adapt quicker. 

You went on to pursue a master’s in childhood studies from Leeds Metropolitan University in England. How did your experience studying abroad at Edge Hill impact this choice?

It had everything to do with going back abroad. Based on receiving such a good education, and having such a happy experience, I needed round two! With my parents’ blessing, I am glad I chose this route. I was able to receive my master’s degree in a year’s time.

Beach in Barcelona, Spain

Beachin’ it in Barcelona, Spain

What impact has studying abroad had on your life?

Studying abroad was one of the most influential and memorable experiences of my life. It gave me the courage and independence needed as a 20-something woman. It encouraged me to continue traveling, which I did!

After I graduated from college, I moved to Munich, Germany as an au pair. And later, I moved back to England to pursue my masters at Leeds Metropolitan University.

It has really shaped me into the person I am today. I see a lot of things differently, and it has opened my eyes to new experiences that I will cherish forever.

You’re currently a customer service representative at Accurate Healthcare, what skills from your experience at Edge Hill do you use in your current role?

My experience at Edge Hill has given me the confidence to pursue my goals no matter what the circumstances. As far as a career, I pursued something on the other end of the spectrum, versus pursuing options that I was comfortable with (and what I went to school for). I have learned that timing can be funny, so you have to take each day as it comes, and enjoy it. I was able to do that at Edge Hill, and learned so much from it. With this in mind, I am now approaching almost three years with Accurate Healthcare. I am so grateful for the experience!