Why I Studied Abroad
“I highly recommend studying abroad anywhere because you see more and you know more,” says Megan Boulton. “There’s more to the world than just you and your area. You come back and realize that you’ve learned a lot not only about other places, but also about yourself.”
Megan never expected to learn so much outside of class while studying abroad in England at Newbold College. “It broadened my worldview a lot and the traveling part was awesome. There’s so much history all around you."
“We only have a bit of history here in the U.S.—about 400 years—but they have so much more! I got to see Stonehenge, a 550-year old ship, the house of Thomas Hardy. America doesn’t have the gothic style, or old antique things. When you get there, you can only say, ‘wow!’ I learned more about Europe than I ever would have here.”
Studying abroad gave Megan an entirely new perspective on not only European culture, but the whole world. One of the easiest ways Megan found to learn about other’s cultures was by befriending them. “I wasn’t expecting so much diversity. The cultural ethnicity is huge. I have a ton of friends in Norway now. Only 12 of the students at Newbold were from America, the rest were from all over the world.”
In exploring a new culture, she experienced new architecture, ways to travel, fashion, and especially food. Megan advises future students studying abroad, “Try new food! If you go to Italy, get gelato, get pizza. One thing I miss the most about Europe is this tiny smoothie shop called Yog. They make the best smoothies in the world! Every time I go to frozen yogurt shops in the U.S. I wonder why they don’t have blenders.”
Megan's stomach wasn’t the only thing satisfied in her travels. An especially exciting experience was going to a blockbuster world premiere where she had the opportunity to meet world-famous actors that she never would have been able to meet in Hollywood.
But, don’t expect to hop in your car to any world premiers between classes. Though Megan had never used a subway, been on a train, or boarded a large sailing ship before, she was able to experience all of the above in her travels abroad. “Now, I miss trains. I would rather be on a train than a car. It also made me realize how little we pay for gas in the U.S.”
Now back in the U.S., Megan says, “I miss everything about Europe! I miss the feeling of community because it’s a really tiny place.” For students planning on studying abroad in the future, she advises, “Save up before you go so you can do more while you’re there. It’s so worth it and there’s so much to see. Be smart and talk to people who’ve already been there. They know cheap bus trips, good places to eat.”
Don’t hesitate to talk to previous ACA students, or our ACA representative Tamara Seiler at taseiler [at] ucollege [dot] edu to learn more about how you can share in the exciting experience of studying abroad.
Photos courtesy of Megan Boulton