Jennifer Sladen spent many weekends in London, hanging out on the banks of the River Thames.
Overseas Study Program
Jenny’s majors: International Studies and Political Science
Term abroad: Academic Year 2006–2007
Reason you chose this program: I have always been a bit of an Anglophile, and as soon as I saw this program I knew it was the one for me! I really wanted the chance to experience English culture first-hand.
Favorite classes: History of 19th Century Britain. I thought the class was going to be horrifically boring, but it was so interesting! Plus, the professor and the other classmates were really friendly and open in seminars.
Describe the housing situation: I lived in an apartment on campus with four roommates. We were all from different places: Germany, France, Luxembourg, Japan, and the United States, and we all got along very well. We hung out in our kitchen for tea time with lots of our neighbors, so our house became Grand Central Station most days!
Greatest challenge: Going abroad for 9 months without going home. Since I want to live abroad in the future, I wanted to see if I was strong enough to not get homesick and visit my family during breaks. I stuck to my goal and even turned down my families offer to come home. Moreover, I discovered that I can be alone in a different country and have a great time! It was incredibly empowering for me to achieve this realization.
Biggest surprise: How different the culture and language really are! A lot of people tend to think that Britain and the United States have lots of similarities, but there were some things that were quite different. General attitudes about “the good things in life,” along with different words and phrases, made it difficult at times to have a conversation with my English friends. We eventually worked it out, though!
Best memory: Sitting in a cafe and watching street performers on Saint Patrick’s Day in Covent Garden with my two housemates and best friends. We loved to go to London on the weekends. On that day, instead of sight-seeing, we spent our time relaxing and enjoying London.
Advice to future study abroad participants: Studying abroad is about the experience that you have when you are there, not about the money that you spend.