Garrett smiles alongside one of Britain's guards at Buckingham Palace.
Overseas Study Program
Garrett’s majors: Journalism
Year abroad: Spring 2009
Describe the housing situation: I lived in a dormitory in Chelsea, a posh suburban area south of downtown. Two people share a room, and there is a small bathroom, complete with shower. There is a communal kitchen that is shared between three rooms (6 people) with all of the usual kitchen amenities.
Reason you chose this program: I chose London IES because I wanted to go to an English speaking country and experience the culture of Great Britain, as well as that of Europe.
Favorite classes: I enjoyed my History of London class the most. The professor was a top-notch historian who took us on several great field excursions to contextualize our classroom work. I also liked my Theatre of London class. We saw one play a week throughout the entire semester, and since London is world-renowned for its plays and musicals, I was able to learn and see a lot about a subject of which I had very little previous knowledge.
Best Memory: Receiving a personal tour of Wales from a friend I met in a pub while watching a Rugby game. He was disappointed that I had not seen enough of the country, so he took it upon himself to make sure that I saw every inch of it...all in one day.
Biggest Surprise: The clothing! I am not used to dressing up so often, but most Londoners' average apparel are what I would consider to be swanky. But it's understood that different cultures have different tastes and styles.
Experience with culture shock or reverse culture shock: I was very used to having a car in the States and most people do not have their own cars in London. The Tube (subway) was the main way to get around and it took some getting used to.
Complete this sentence: If I could do it over, I would...have done an internship. It was an option through the program, but instead I elected to take an outside course at a local university. My class was interesting, but not altogether memorable. Everyone in the program who participated in the internship had great experiences, got to know a lot of people, and were able to put an overseas internship on their resumes.
Greatest Challenge: Finding my way around. London was a huge city, and the Tube was very complicated for someone who had no real experience with public transportation. But, like all challenges abroad, you get used to it, and by the time I went home I was super proficient at getting anywhere on the Tube line.
Going abroad versus staying on campus, discuss: Although I was sad to leave friends and family behind, most of my roommates had a typical semester at IU and I had the semester of a lifetime. There is just no argument for staying on campus over going abroad. It is truly unique in every way.