Ashlyn is a Biology major at the University of Alabama. She studied abroad in London during the summer of 2018.
Why did you choose this program?
I chose the CISabroad program at the University of Roehampton because it was the best fit for me. I did a lot of research about various programs prior to deciding where to study abroad. This program was the right number of credits at the right price for me. Also, I've always wanted to go to Europe, so this program seemed perfect for me!
What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
My university and program provider assisted me with very similar things. They both helped me set up insurance for when I was there, made sure I had all of the emergency forms filled out and submitted, and helped me plan events for while I was there. I did have to organize my own plane tickets and any trips I wanted to do on my own.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
Both CISabroad and my university told me not to plan anything in advance, which is good advice in general. It's nice to be able to do events and go places spontaneously and not be bogged down by a specific time schedule. However, I do wish I had planned a bit more in terms of where I wanted to go and tickets I needed to get ahead of time. I'm not saying plan your whole trip, but I would advise you to at least make a list of the places you know you want to go to while abroad.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
An average day Monday-Thursday involved taking classes in the morning until around 2 PM. Then I would grab a snack at my dorm before heading into the city center. I would usually visit one or two attractions, or maybe a museum. Then, I'd find a place to eat, have dinner, and walk around some more before heading back to my dorm and doing some homework. On the weekends, I did most of my bigger excursions and trips outside of London.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
My biggest fear was that I would be really homesick and hate being abroad on my own. I didn't personally know anyone else in my program before I went abroad, so I was scared of just being lonely for 6 weeks. However, everyone is in the same boat as you, and it was not hard at all for me to find friends who wanted to do the same things I did. I just made sure to grab as many people's numbers as possible the first few days and then I planned some trips into the city with those people. I also talked to my parents pretty much every week, so I didn't get homesick.