Studying Abroad

Hiya! My name is Kasey Crossman. I’m a 22-year-old postgraduate at the Westminster Business School in London. I study International Human Resource Management, hoping to work in training and development for an international company in London. I’m originally from Southern Connecticut, and I did my undergraduate degree at the University of Delaware, where I double majored in Political Science (Global Studies Concentration) and Criminal Justice, and doubled minored in Sociology and History.

I have always loved to travel, so when I was looking into different universities one of my biggest concerns was making sure that that school had a good study abroad program. As luck would have it, my top choice school (the University of Delaware) for a number of reasons also happens to be the first university in the United States to have study abroad. I’m not certain if saying that they “created” studying abroad is correct, but we were still first. This meant that the program is incredibly well developed, so there was no risk of credits not transferring when told that they would, and that I would be able to go almost anywhere in the world. There’s even a program to Antarctica to photograph penguins.

During the autumn semester of my senior year I decided to study abroad in London. It may not be as crazy of a place as Antarctica, but words can barely describe how much I love London. I love the architecture, the culture, the history of the city, the political system (which, as a political science major, is important), and I even like the weather. Adding in the fact that I don’t speak another language, it was a bit of a no brainer.

I was housed in Ealing, not exactly central London, but it was only about a twenty-minute tube ride to South Kensington, which is quite central. This aspect alone gave me a better picture about life in the real world. I had to commute to my classes, I had friends who lived in different parts of the city, and it was a more realistic place to live. As amazing as it might have been to be housed in central London right by Hyde Park or Piccadilly Circus, the truth is that only a small percentage of people in this world can actually afford to live in those areas, and it is highly unlikely that I ever will.

With an unlimited Oyster card in hand and three-day weekends, I set off to explore the city and enjoy my semester. I joined a society at a university that was linked with my international institute, I joined a church, and I went all around seeing as much of London as I could. I knew that I would enjoy the semester, and I was certain that it would be a life changing experience, but I never could have imagined how amazing my experience would be.

The friends I made on my semester abroad are some of the most genuine friends I have and are people I can’t imagine not having in my life. The city is a hundred times more beautiful in real life than in the pictures, and nothing beats walking along the Thames on the South Bank, night or day. Learning about the culture of a different city and country through experiencing it is worth fifty classes attempting to teach you the culture, and mastering a city gives you a sense of accomplishment very difficult to come by.

Of course, it wasn’t all fun and games, and there were a number of hardships to deal with and lessons to learn, but in the end those lessons are just a bonus to my experience studying abroad.

Living in London boosted my self-confidence, helped me to become more independent, and gave me a new view of how I want to live my life. I enjoyed my time there so much that I came back this year for graduate school! And the city is just as amazing as it was when I first stepped off the plane at Heathrow Airport. It’s an opportunity that I wouldn’t trade for the world, and I believe that any college student, especially those who love to travel and gain new experiences, should take this chance to go and experience a new country and culture.

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