Taylor Akins-Rollins - 2015 Program Participant
Why did you decide to apply for an international program?
I had always longed to go abroad and learn about new cultures and this was the best way possible.
Why did you choose to study abroad?
It was the best financial way for me to leave everything I knew behind and throw myself into something new.
What is one thing you wish you would have known before studying abroad in London?
I knew this before I left but I underestimated how expensive England is. Budgeting got better after about two weeks of being there.
What was the hardest part about studying abroad?
The hardest thing about studying abroad was throwing myself into a completely new culture and learning to navigate on my own. At first it was difficult to not to stick out and be called out for being an American. But it got to be easier after two weeks. The tube, buses, and getting to the airport for traveling were confusing at first, but there are people around to help you and even complete strangers help you as well.
What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?
Budgeted better. England is expensive, so save up as much as possible.
Describe a day in the life of your program.
Wake up, get ready, and go to my one class on Mondays. Eat breakfast before class. Go to class. Done for the day. Grab lunch, and then after all of my friends went to class, sat in the coffee shop, and read and enjoyed my time alone. When 3 p.m. would roll by I would walk around in Regents Park and enjoy the weather even if it was cold. Walk around my area and soak in what was around me.
What was your living situation like?
Lived in the halls with a girl I never knew, and she is now my best friend.
What was the most unique part of your experience?
I met my best friends there. We came in as strangers and now I don't remember what life was like before I met them.
What surprised you most about London?
How kind people could be to foreigners. I've been out the country a few times but I've never felt such hospitality and kindness from strangers. In the States you tend to keep to yourself and not bother anyone. In London, random people in pubs will talk to you, sit there and discuss life with you for an hour, and you leave each other knowing that you had a great conversation that will stay with you.
What was your favorite part about London?
How easy it was to talk to people, to get around, and how incredibly cheap travelling was.
What do you feel the biggest benefit of studying abroad is?
As I stated before, being culturally sensitivity has been a really great benefit. My family originates from Grenada (an island in the Caribbean), so I've been around a different kind of family than your typical family. But from being abroad, I have become so patient with people who aren't from this country or don't speak English very well. People in Europe are real kind to Americans, so I feel like we need to do the same for them.
Now that you're home, how has studying abroad impacted your life?
Being back in a place that I no longer call home makes me realize how much I have grown in the last four months. It's different now. I am more independent. I don't mind being alone and doing what I want. I work harder now than I ever have. I have a better control and view of what I want.
Would you recommend Regent's University London to other students?
I would recommend Regent's completely to everyone. You're located in the beautiful Regent's Park. You're very close to a lot of things. You can basically walk everywhere. The tube is close by. I honestly would go back to Regent's university if I was able to.
If you could study abroad again, where would you go?
I would probably go to Ireland or Italy. I really have no problem seeing new countries and throwing myself in their culture and being culturally sensitive.