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Office of International Programs

Jackson, United Kindgom, Academic Year 2010-2011

What was your motivation to travel abroad?
What motivated me to study abroad was that I wanted to know what it was like to go away on my own for a year and start a new experience. I wanted to experience a new culture, where I didn’t know anyone or anything.

How did you decide to go on a year-long program, compared to a semester?
I consulted with a friend of mine that went to England for a year and she explained to me how difficult it would have been to leave after just one semester. After my first semester, I realized I was making good friends and I was just getting comfortable. It would have been hard for me to leave then.

What were your experiences with culture shock? How did you deal with it?
For the longest time I felt like I was just on a long vacation, but after a few months, my friends all started to return home throughout England and I was stuck in Plymouth. During the breaks that we had off from school, my friends started inviting me to their hometowns and staying for holidays, like Christmas and Easter.

What was your biggest adjustment?
Using public transportation and walking everywhere was a big adjustment. After spending time in London, I became familiar with the Underground and other transportation systems. Another adjustment was to the British accents and lingo. I was surprised with how many dialects that there are in England. I picked up on it easily and now I can understand many dialects.

What was the biggest surprise that you noticed when coming back home?
One of the things I realized after being back in the United States is that I've still been referring to everything in British pounds rather than U.S. dollars. It really confuses people because they hear me ask how many pounds something is and they think I'm talking about a weight not a price.

Was all the preparation worth it?
Oh yeah! In the beginning I had some problems with my visa and with all the stress from it that I almost wanted to give up and not go. Although, once I got to England, I was all set and I could just relax and enjoy my time there. It was a great 10 months.

Are the classes you took apart of your degree in Plymouth going to transfer back to MSU?
One of my biggest concerns was if my classes were going to transfer because I didn’t want to get set back.  When I got to England some of my classes were not available, so I ended up taking a few that didn’t go towards my degree. Upon returning from my experience, I’m not concerned that they didn’t transfer, because I knew, what ever classes I was going to take, my experience would have been the same. Just going to a different country and taking classes was a great experience.

Any advice that you would give?
If you have an interest in studying abroad, you really need to put yourself out there and not wait until the opporunity is gone. Look beyond the paperwork, time and stress.