Alumni Spotlight: Megan Relyea


Why did you decide to study abroad at CCCU in Canterbury, England?

My decision to study abroad was a rather last minute decision. Throughout my time at Cazenovia it was mentioned periodically but I had never been sincerely interested in studying abroad. However, during my junior year at Cazenovia when I saw emails about meetings regarding study abroad, my interest peeked. I was ahead on my credits and was on route to graduate a semester early. Considering this I decided to go to the meeting with one of my friends who was in the same situation.

At first we really didn’t think too seriously about it but after attending the meeting we were hooked. After being assured we would be able to fulfill the credits we needed and still graduate in December, we finalized our plans. At the time, Cazenovia was only offering one study abroad location, Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) in historic Canterbury, Kent, England.

What made your study abroad experience unique and special?

Unlike many other colleges and universities, Cazenovia College sends students to study at a British institution. Cazenovia does not have an extension of the school in another country where one studies alongside only students from their home institution transplanted in another country. Studying at Canterbury was unique because we were in classrooms with many British students as well as students from various other European countries.

Another difference between our experience and others was that we stayed in student housing provided by CCCU to first year students. Even though they were first year students, they ranged in age between 17-25 years old. This housing situation was ideal because we were fully emerged in the English culture and not just experiencing one family’s everyday life as one would in a home-stay. Our flats became our home away from home and our housemates and neighbors became our family.

And of course, as many others will probably agree, the opportunity to travel around Europe was the icing on the cake. Once in the European Union it is inexpensive to travel around and worth every cent.

Lastly, Cazenovia sent over a group of 26 students as well as a faculty advisor. Our advisor was not there to babysit us but instead was there only if you needed her for guidance of any kind. It was nice to have freedom but also a security blanket. Although we were each in a different flat, we were all in the same group of student housing and we became a family throughout the experience. Even now that we have returned to the States we remain close and lean on each other when we are longing to be back in England.

How has this experience impacted your future?

My semester abroad was my last semester in college. I graduated upon the completion of my term in Canterbury. My time abroad taught me about independence in every aspect of the word. I have always loved to travel but my time in Europe only added to that passion and desire to continue traveling as much as I can afford. I know that the friends that I met while studying abroad, both from Cazenovia and CCCU, will always hold a special place in my life.

From an educational perspective, I learned a great deal more about diversity than any college class could have taught me. While studying at CCCU, I was often in a multi-lingual classroom with students from France, Spain, Belgium, America, England and plenty more. My time abroad was an invaluable life experience that has impacted every aspect of my life. I highly recommend that more students study abroad during their educational careers.