Another month of the semester for me across the pond has come and gone, and I can hardly believe it! As this month has passed by, I’ve now gotten well acquainted with school, classes and my little borough, Surbiton. I’ve also been able to get more familiar with the way the school system differs from that of the U.S., and I’ve been lucky enough to travel to many places in just these last four weeks with having a bit of a longer weekend than I’m used to.
Now getting well under way with our semester, classes are still just lectures which is something I am not at all used to! We read several articles to discuss in class, but there is no homework we have to do and turn in, nor are there several tests covering each chapter as we go. We will have one accumulative test and that will be 80% of my grade in 3 of the 4 modules I’m taking. Another huge difference I’ve found with Kingston University, as well as most U.K. Universities, is that their modules are very specific to what each person is studying. In America, we have a bit of freedom as to what classes we take as long as they fit our academic requirements. Here, they lay out your module for you and you must take those set classes. I’ve been lucky though as an exchange student, I am taking courses from four different modules which makes my class schedule quite fun and gives me tons of variety. It does take less time for students to finish though as each module is often set up to only take three years instead of America’s average four. Then students can move on to their work experience year, getting set up in internships that will make them much more likely to be hired. Graduate schools are also much more affordable in the U.K. than home and most Master’s programs only require a year of more schooling, making me even more interested in doing mine here now that I have fallen in love with the lifestyle and the culture.
Now with having courses that don’t have nearly the homework I’m used to, it’s still important that I keep up on articles as I use all my free time and long weekends traveling! One huge benefit of coming to Europe to study abroad is the endless accessibility this country provides here and to other European countries. I have been lucky enough to finally figure out the train system, the underground rail ways, and not struggling too much with the insanely low airfares from one country to another. With my long weekends and free time, I often find myself going to Central London as there’s always knew things to see, hear, and do, London itself is endless. But some of the best parts of it all are taking advantage of that free time! I’ve now been to Stonehenge, to the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, the live rock concerts in Camden Town, to the Roman Baths in the beautiful city of Bath, as well as taken a long and incredible weekend to Ireland! Studying abroad has not only given me the opportunity to fall in love with just one city, but I’ve now been able to experience many other cultures and countries and can’t explain how incredible each place is. Each city I’ve been to is lined with tradition, character, is full of life and the streets are always buzzing. Going to Ireland and standing on cliff’s edge at the Cliffs of Moher was absolutely breath taking and a nice step away from the busy city. But Dublin was the most fun, lively city I’ve been able to visit during my stay here yet! So being able to freely travel on my time off is definitely worth it and just makes this experience even more worth it.
So as sad as it is that another month has gone by, I’ve been lucky enough to see the Lion King Live in the West End Theatres, indulge in the best foods any place I wonder to, and go to several new and extremely interesting, exciting places all while still enjoying all my different lectures for the new perspective they are giving me. Studying here in London has definitely brought more attention to me as an outsider looking in, that although I fit in well here, there are many things I’ve had to adjust to. The U.K. is still very different from the United States and all the people in it are just as curious about it as I am about the U.K. I often find myself talking about Trump and his ‘policies’ at least once a day, as well as answering questions about health care, schooling, and even the food as best I can. It’s incredible what being in a new place can do for your perspective, how much it opens your eyes to how big our world is. Even though
I didn’t have to learn a new language to come here, it’s still a very different place with a whole new set of cultures and beliefs, all the way down to the spellings and interpretations of words. I love being surrounded by all the different accents and languages everywhere I go and find myself just walking throughout London to experience it as much as I can. But these differences are what have made my stay so incredible and will continue to make my study abroad experience well worth it.
Until Next Time,