Dazha Austin | Contributing Writer
As a kid have you ever dreamed of being out of the country? Then getting older and realizing that it’s expensive and you may never have time for it? Many colleges and universities have instituted study abroad programs where students get the experience of visiting another country while completing their studies and that sometimes this plays a key factor when students choose a school.
Studying abroad can sound like such a scary thing: new cultures, new friends, new foods. However, rising junior Giselle Rodriguez had no fear as she spent 5 months in London, England this past semester. The second-year psychology major said, “I chose England essentially for my love and interest for fashion and to get the educational portion of fashion design.”
“I also wanted to learn more about the British culture and have the chance to travel to other European cities. I want to later pursue a professional career in the fashion industry and I knew that London would be a great place for me to begin that.” She knows about dealing with different cultures so going to England was no different. “I chose to study abroad, so I can emerge with different cultures, grow and be more culturally competent.” says Rodriguez.
Just like most students would, Giselle says she was super excited and worried about so many things. It was just like her freshman year over again. She had to encounter many unexpected things such as, different foods, races religions, and cultures which taught her that you should never go somewhere with expectations because that only create images and thoughts of something that can potentially not be there. Instead, you should walk into a room or a setting with an open mind and be prepared to expect whatever is laid in front of you.
During her time she got to visit some cool places and had the opportunity to travel to Venice and Florence, Italy and Belgium and Amsterdam in the Netherlands. She also visited cities in England outside of London which included Brighton, Oxford, and Greenwich where she had the opportunity to attend London Fashion weekend.
Of course she couldn’t forget to visit the notorious places in London such as the Big Ben, London Eye, Tower Bridge, Buckingham palace, London Bridge, St. Paul’s cathedral, and Sky Garden. “I wish I would have had the chance to travel more but I will definitely return back to Europe in the near future.”
While studying abroad, Giselle learned so much more than just what was required within her studies. “I definitely learned that I am extremely confident, responsible, aware and independent.” She also says that she grew professionally. The change in environment and people seemed to play a big factor.
If offered, Giselle says she would take this experience again. “I just completely loved the city and admired people’s sense of style. The architecture was intricately captivating.”
“Europe is definitely a place that everyone should visit. There is so much history to be learned as well as many beautiful cities to visit.”
So if you a student reading this and have been contemplating studying abroad, these are Giselle’s final tips.
“I strongly recommend all of my fellow colleagues to take advantage of the opportunity to study abroad. It is a fun, unique experience that everyone should have the chance to take…prepare well in advance and have a strategic plan…You have nothing to lose to study abroad…. create friendships with people …you should not fear traveling there is so much to experience out of America and once you witness different cultures you will see how there is so much to life than just being stuck in one way of life.”