Grace Lin stands on Westgate Tower with a great view of Canterbury Cathedral in the background. One of her most memorable overseas experiences was playing violin with an orchestra in the Cathedral.
Overseas Study Program
Grace’s majors: Biochemistry, Biology, and Latin
Year/term abroad: Academic Year 2004–2005
Reason you chose this program: As a classicist, I have always been interested in the history and culture of Europe and so I took this opportunity to spend a year there. This program also offered science classes that I could apply toward my undergraduate degree completion as well as other classes of interest.
Favorite classes: I really enjoyed my Roman history module (Rome: The Imperial Republic) which was a small yet diverse group seminar with fascinating discussions. Also, my Infection & Immunity module took a cool field trip to the British NHS labs where we saw the techniques we had learned in bio lab being applied to “real-life” disease cases.
Describe the housing situation: I lived in an apartment-style townhouse with four other international and British students arranged by the university. The Parkwood neighborhood was a pleasant 10 to 15 minute walk to the main campus, and it had its own shop and bar.
Greatest challenge: It was great to learn how to cook, but the process was not without its challenges. The best part, however, was sharing meals with friends from many different cultures who all contributed a dish.
What I wish I knew before I left: The language is more or less the same, but cultural values often differ unexpectedly.
Experiences with culture shock or reverse culture shock: I loved experiencing British and international culture whilst abroad; I probably experienced more reverse culture shock simply because a year had gone by and I was returning to the rigid scheduling of American education (relative to Britain). But I adjusted and can now discuss living abroad and returning to America!
Advice to future study abroad students: You don't have to be a foreign language major to reap the benefits of cultural immersion in a different country. Meeting and interacting with people from around the world will teach you more about yourself and society than you thought possible. I encourage you to make the most of your education by diving into your study abroad and host culture. Carpe diem!