Alumni Spotlight: Candace McPhillips


Candace McPhillips is a sophomore at Penn State University from Collegeville, PA double majoring in Broadcast Journalism and English. She hopes to become a News Anchor after graduating. Candace studied abroad in London during the summer of 2014.

Describe your most meaningful souvenir and why you love it.

Candace: As happy as I am with the tangible souvenirs I bought while abroad, the most meaningful souvenirs I have are the pictures I took on my program. I love having little knick-knacks on my shelves to remind me of my time abroad, but the pictures hold the most memories. Whether they're of the beautiful places I saw or the people I met through my program, they're all very meaningful and bring back times I could have forgotten about otherwise. There is so much to see and do while abroad and I'm glad I have a way of remembering everything.

What is one piece of advice you'd give future students traveling with your program?

Candace: It is so important to make the most of your time abroad. Whether going for an entire semester or just the summer like I did, time flies. Before you know it, your flight is landing and you’re back home just like that. Do everything you can while you’re away.

Try to live like a local and experience all your study abroad city has to offer. Try a local food dish that you don’t have at home or spend some time talking to someone to see what it’s like living there. And, don’t forget to travel.

Whatever you choose to do, make sure you take every opportunity you get while abroad. You won’t want to come home with regrets or thoughts of wishing you had done something while you had the chance.

Tell us about an experience you had that you could not have had at home.

Candace: At home, it’s not so easy to travel to another country. Plane tickets can be expensive and finding a long period of time to go abroad can be tricky. When you’re already abroad, though, it’s a piece of cake. Being in London, I was able to take weekend trips by taking a short flight or train/bus for a reasonable price.

My home city was London, but over the course of the summer I traveled to Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Amsterdam, and Malta. I could also take day trips to different cities in England. I love traveling and it was so easy to do while I studied abroad.

Describe your program socially and academically.

Candace: My program was designed so that I could complete an internship and an academic class for credit. I interned at a company called World Travel Guide three days a week and attended class two days a week.

Only having class for a few hours during the day, I was able to have some free time and explore the city of London. My program coordinators made sure that everything worked out in my schedule and I never felt overwhelmed or too busy. In fact, I had more free time than I thought I would, but I gained valuable work and academic experience.

My program had students from all over the US. I met people from California, Texas, Rhode Island, and New Jersey, just to name a few places. I stayed in a house of students who were all in my program, so it was very easy to get to know people. I was also able to meet locals through my internship. My art class allowed me to visit museums and galleries that I probably wouldn’t have gone to otherwise. I think I had the chance to experience all London has to offer through the cultural, academic, and social aspects.