Final Reflections on the Study Abroad Sink or Swim

It feels like I got off my plane in Luton and arrived at Acorn for our first day of orientation just yesterday, let alone landing in Copenhagen three months ago. My first blog post on the similarities between London and the States also feels like it was written just a day ago. After a few learning curves in Copenhagen during spring term, I thought life in London was going to be a breeze. However, I quickly learned no experience abroad comes without its set of challenges. During our first internship class, one of my classmate’s made a joke about something being “sink or swim,” and I think this idea describes studying abroad perfectly. If done right, like in this program, spending time outside America presents, new experiences, challenges, and opportunities for us to push outside our comfort zones. I think I gained a lot out of my “sink or swim” moments this summer, and I’m glad I had them.

I think this trip did a great job highlighting the common links and differences between the United States and United Kingdom. With the common language and big-city culture, I found it easy in the beginning to call London “New York without the high rises.” However, the combination of the Contemporary Britain Class, weekend trips, and internships highlighted the attributes that make London and the United Kingdom unique. The weekend trips, especially, presented opportunities to visit cities I wouldn’t have otherwise. Bath especially was such a cool city, and somewhere I would have gone on my own accord. Being in the United Kingdom during Brexit made all of these experiences even more meaningful by linking what we were learning about the British economy and political system to a landmark news event.

London week was an important component of this program as well. Being in a variety of business environments before beginning the application process next fall gave me a better idea of what areas of the business realm I want to focus my attention on. Visiting firms in London rather than the states made the the process more interesting by showing the globalized nature of the modern-day work environment.

Finally, one of my favorite aspects of this program was the people I met and the friends I made. This summer was full of incredible experiences, and I wish I could re-wind to June and do it all again.

  • I also felt that this program went incredibly fast. My first day in London also felt like it was yesterday…mainly because it was a little traumatic (my fault for booking my plane ticket to arrive Monday instead of Sunday). The program certainly did highlight the differences between the United States and the United Kingdom as you mentioned. I too thought there would be little to no differences, but was quickly proved wrong. I quickly had to adapt to the differences in spelling, writing the date, and “British words” that I needed to use for my internship.

    I visited London before in high school, but living there and having to get around on my own made me see the city in an entirely new light. If I could go back, I would go and explore many parts of the city that I did not spend a lot of time in or see at all. London is such a big city and can seem overwhelming at times, but I feel we all did a good job of making the most of it for the short amount of time we were there (also considering all the weekend excursions we made).

Leave a Reply