Why did you choose this program? I knew I wanted to go to England, and as soon as I learned that I could study there for an entire academic year through the Canterbury program, I was sold. It offered a lot of classes in my area of study, and it was one of the best options for me financially. Overall, it was the perfect fit.
Describe your favorite class(es) abroad. Most of my classes were in my area of study, so there were none that I did not enjoy. My favorite by far was a U.S. Foreign Policy class. Being able to sit back and listen to the British perspective on U.S. foreign policy was fascinating, although I was often solicited for my "special" opinion.
What was the housing like on your study abroad program? I lived in on-campus terrace apartments with four other students. Three of them were international students (one of them was from IU, ironically) and one was British. We each had our own bedroom and shared a kitchen and 1.5 baths. The apartments were a short walk from campus, and there was a shop and a pub nearby. My roommates and I all got along well with each other and with our neighbors, and I still keep in touch with a few of them.
What advice would you like to give to future study abroad students? Take some time to really think about what you want from the experience. If you want to work closely with a small group of people who all have the same interests as you, a summer program might be best. If you want to be able to plant roots and really immerse yourself in a particular place, then you might consider an academic year program. Finally, once you have made your choice, don't second-guess yourself. This will be one of the most memorable experiences of your life - live it fully.
What’s your best memory from your time abroad? I was a part of the caving club at the university, and we took a trip to Breccon Beacons National Park in south Wales. A small group of us hiked through miles of Welsh countryside to get a particular cave. To enter the cave, we had to descend into it next to a waterfall. It is impossible to put into words how beautiful it was, and how intensely it impacted my life by increasing my love for the natural world.
Describe your experience with culture shock or reverse culture shock. My experience with reverse culture shock was much worse than my experience with culture shock. Going into the program, I was completely open-minded and ready for anything. However, when I came back to America, I made the mistake of thinking that I was returning to the same life I had left. I sought out support and developed new habits, and I was able to readjust to the American lifestyle within a few months.
What fact about your host country do you think people would be surprised to learn? There is a LOT of green space. For the size of the country and the amount of people that live in it, they do an excellent job of protecting and preserving their natural resources. Also, you can walk pretty much anywhere, even through private property.
How did you find scholarships for study abroad? All my scholarships and financial aid that I received through IU applied to the program. The Office of Overseas Study also offers a scholarship specifically for the Canterbury program. Finally, I was also able to apply for the Hutton International Experience Program, which offers scholarships to any student studying abroad.