Why students should study abroad

Chelsea Wagner was born and raised in pristine Naples, Florida. After attending the University of Miami and receiving a bachelor’s degree in Communication, she began a career in video production, where she worked on projects for E! Entertainment, General Electric and HGTV, just to name a few. As much as she enjoyed working in this creative field, she decided to move closer to home, so in 2008 she returned to Naples. Her most recent endeavor is making a career change to real estate sales, and becoming more involved in Non-Profit Organizations. When she isn’t researching housing market trends, she loves spending time outdoors, recreating culinary masterpieces from Pinterest, and travelling. She’s interested in networking, blogging, marketing and still works with video as a freelancer.

My name is Chelsea Wagner, and I am an alumni of the University of Miami. During my time in academia, I studied video film and creative writing and received my Bachelor of Science degree in Communication. One of the best decisions I made during college was to travel abroad for an internship in London.
I remember thinking it was too much of an added expense on top of my already pricy tuition, but I brought it up to my parents during a weekend back home. I assumed they would never go for it, but my mother told me life is short and I only get one. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity and to my surprise, encouraged me to go. She happily funded my travel, and I was off to London for four weeks twelve days later.
Being abroad is surreal, and being exposed to different ways of life, people and culture gives you a unique perspective you can’t imagine until you’ve experienced it. Of course, in London, the primary language is English, so there was no language barrier for me. However, the terminology was a bit different. For example, you didn’t stand in line, you stand in a queue. You weren’t tired, you were knackered.
Also, being from Florida, I was used to getting ice in my beverages automatically. You have to ask for ice in London and sometimes the beer is lukewarm. Also, most of our travel was done via “the tube” which is a subway. This was new for me because in the States I was accustomed to driving my own car or taking a taxi. As I went out on the town with my classmates, it gave us a sense of independence and openness to learning and appreciating this different culture.
Being in another country, in a large city, you’re bound to meet some interesting people. Interacting with native Londoner’s and listening about how they live and what they enjoy recreationally, is pretty cool. It was fun exchanging stories and sharing a good conversation with the locals. We had a guide who actually took a couple of classmates and myself to places where he liked to frequent that weren’t so touristy. Now every time I travel I make it a point to befriend a local. If you’re lucky, they will show you the area’s best-kept secrets. The topic of safety applies as well. My classmates and I became responsible for ourselves and each other when travelling about London and learned how important it was to communicate with each other and be aware of our surroundings.
From a vocational standpoint, seeing how another country’s workplace operates is also very eye-opening. I believe it shows a great deal of worldliness to future employers when you say you interned in another country. It shows you can be flexible, work in different environments and communicate effectively with coworkers who may have a much different background than yourself. It is also a great way to make contacts overseas. Who knows, maybe you’ll be back to work for them someday.
I highly recommend travelling abroad during college. You are the most free now than you ever will be in life and it is worth every penny and then some. This is an experience you will carry with you always, and the things you’ll learn from participating will forever hold their value.

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