Since I have come home from studying abroad in London, I have had to adjust in more ways than I originally had expected!
I believe my study abroad experience has made me more confident and knowledgeable. Everyone keeps asking, “How was London?” Well, how can I sum up six weeks of an intense workload, schoolwork and travel schedule into a simple phrase? Often, I simply say “amazing, but it is so good to be back home.” Truth is, there were many more things I missed about being home than I realized. But the next truth is, not everyone would ever have the guts, interest or opportunity to do what I just did.
This program is not made for every type of student. I have spoken with many of my friends about their study abroad experiences full of easy classes, traveling every weekend and having a concrete schedule. CAPA is not a program that holds your hand to make you experience London as a global city. If you want, you could simply go to class, go to your internship and sit in the flat for the rest of the time. It is up to you how much you get out of this program. I decided to take the most difficult class in the program because it applies to my minor. It was difficult losing sleep due to schoolwork instead of going out for the night. CAPA does not promise to be an easy program to tackle. There were times when I was extremely frustrated with the amount of work I was doing.
There were also times when I was overwhelmed at being in a city of over 11 million people on my own. If I made a mistake, I had to fix it. If I was lost, I had to figure it out. I had to keep up with all of my belongings in an area known for pick pocketing. I couldn’t weigh myself down with those kinds of negative thoughts. Despite any “bad” experience I had in London, I was still having an experience.
If I wanted a study abroad trip similar to everyone around me, I would have felt completely unoriginal. CAPA understands that every student is different in their interests and ability to cope with the challenges. I think they saw that ability in me when they gave me two internships.
I left home way too prepared for my six week study and internship abroad, but less prepared for starting school a day later. I am very fortunate to be in my final year of college because I am less worried about things younger students would fret over. I am the Public Relations Director for my university’s Student Government Association, as well as the fall intern for the Bowling Green Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and I completely put myself out of the loop to submerge myself into my internships in London. Regardless of whether I should have been preparing more for these positions after I got back, I think I allowed myself to do London as best as possible.
I did not print my syllabi yet, nor did I order my books in advance for my three classes. And frankly, I was too jet lagged to care! I allowed myself a couple days to act in a delirious manner, but now it has come time to crack down on important things!
My final year has started with many warm welcomes, and hopefully picking up right where we all left off. I have had a surreal feeling the entire time I have been back. I am not living out of everything I can fit into a suitcase, I am not leaving go to a new place any time soon, and my friends can visit me much, much easier. I walk around my beautiful college campus in amazement of how different it is from the last place I lived. I know many of the people I pass and I also pass a whole lot less people. I think I took fresh air and wide open spaces for granted before my trip.
Realizing the differences between countries with such similar characteristics has made me constantly aware of the things happening around me. Each area of the world brings something to the table in terms of experience and learning. The ability for me to observe and comprehend such subjects makes me aware of how much I learned in during my trip to London.
Blog post #9: http://capaworld.capa.org/on-being-home-again