Give us an intro!
Jacyln: Jackie Malayter is a senior at Indiana University majoring in Marketing, Professional Selling, and International Business. She is from a town called Munster, IN, which is about 30 minutes out of Chicago. She loves macaroni and cheese and cats, attends music festivals, wears Doc Martens, and is patiently waiting to return back to London.
What is the most important thing you learned abroad?
Jacyln: The most important thing I learned abroad was that I value experiences much more now than materialistic things. While abroad, I met people from all different backgrounds from different countries, saw the most beautiful sights, tasted the most delicious food, etc.
These everyday occurrences really changed my perspective on how I view the world and its contents. I realize now that the things that make me happy are not the clothes I was wearing or the shoes I walked in. The conversations, sights, smells, taste, and memories made are what I am thankful for.
Even the little moments like chasing down cabs, grabbing coffee with friends before class, and using British slang properly for the first time are special to me. No souvenir can replace those experiences.
What was hardest part about going abroad?
Jacyln: For me, it was coming home. Reverse culture shock is real! Going abroad was the most fun I have had in my life. Every moment was an adventure, and every stranger was a potential friend.
One moment you're nonstop exploring, and then in a blink of an eye, it is time to return home. It can be difficult to adjust your lifestyles or try to explain your experiences to others who were not there with you. Cliché to say, but it is more of a "don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened" situation.
Whenever I miss London or my abroad friends, it drives me to continue exploring other parts of the world or further my studies/career abroad again in the future. If anything, I strive to have a life back in America that is just as fulfilling and exciting as my time abroad.
What's your favorite story to tell about your time abroad?
Jacyln: On an IES field trip to Scotland, we planned to venture to the top of Arthur's Seat, one of the highest peaks in Scotland, for the sunrise before we left Edinburgh. We left our hostel after only a few hours of sleep from returning from the pubs. The trek was quite strenuous, climbing over rocks and hills racing towards the peak to try to beat the time.
Luckily, I made it to the top just in time to watch the sun rise. The sunrise is something so beautiful that I never appreciated before. The world has never looked prettier than on top of that hill.
All the struggling, lack of sleep, and sweat was worth the view. I share this story a lot, and me telling it does not give the experience enough justice. Truly breathtaking!
What made this experience unique and special?
Jacyln: What made this experience unique was that my IES program offered students to enroll at City University, a world-renowned university in London. It allowed me to continue pursuing my business degrees and for me to see authentically how being a local student would be.
Cass Business School is very international, so I interacted with students from all over the world, not just England. It was enlightening to experience classroom etiquette, different teaching techniques, and students' opinions and work ethics that were different from my curriculum at Indiana University.
The coursework was challenging yet comparable to what I am learning back in America. The most interesting part of my class was during class discussions where dialogue stimulated cross-cultural absorptions and connections between students. I really feel that my coursework at City University helped immerse me into the English culture.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
Jacyln: I would say go into your program with an open mind. Try not to be ethnocentric. Understand that customs may be different in this country, but that does not mean one is better than the other. Try foods that you have never tasted, say hello to a local, get lost.
Your thoughts and opinions may get turned upside down, but that's ok! Going abroad is a learning experience, and you will be a better person for doing so. Be comfortable being uncomfortable. Things will be foreign and different, but if you embrace it instead of fear or resist it, you will grow to appreciate your abroad life and your life back home as well.
Try to leave your preconceived notions at home. You are about to embark on one of the biggest adventures of your life, take everything in and make it your own. Enjoy!