Abby engages in a typical tourist photo while inside one of the red British telephone booths lining the streets of Canterbury.
Overseas Study Program
Abby’s majors: Art History and History
Year abroad: Academic Year 2007-2008
Reason you chose this program: It was a year-long program in English in Europe that offered immersion in a major university and the opportunity to live with other students from the UK.
Favorite classes: The History of British Cinema During WWII
Housing situation: I lived in a flat on campus with three other European girls. We each had our own room and shared a living room, bathroom, and kitchens.
Staying on campus vs. studying abroad: Campus doesn’t change. It’s exciting to come back to Bloomington but after a while you realize everything is the same. Studying abroad is a great opportunity to experience life outside of campus. Plus, it’s much more exciting to travel five hours to Scotland than five hours to Illinois.
Best memory: A nine hour train ride from Munich to Milan and playing soccer for the University of Kent women’s team.
Greatest challenge: Spending the holidays overseas was very hard. No one cared that it was Thanksgiving! But, on the upside, I’ve never appreciated my family more than I do now.
What you know now that you didn’t know before: Take half of what you think you need. Nothing was worse than traveling with a ton of stuff, plus you'll come home with twice what you had and end up having to leave things behind.
Culture shock vs. reverse culture shock: As far as reverse culture shock, I’ve never appreciated the accessibility of things in the United States more than I do now. I went crazy the first time I went to the grocery store in the United States and had so many choices. In Europe there were smaller, specialty grocery shops. Decisions weren’t as hard when I only had three options!
Fact about Britain that you think people would be surprised to learn: Universities in England require a ton of independent work. You don’t spend much time in class, but you spend a ton of time researching on your own.