I cannot say enough good things about this experience and this program! CIS Abroad was the perfect fit for me and what I wanted out of my study abroad experience. I made the decision to study abroad on a bit of a whim, and CIS Abroad was there every step of the way to help me along. First, the staff at CIS Abroad's home office in Northampton, MA is absolutely amazing. The people there who helped me were there for me for the entire thing - beginning the process of applying, getting accepted, and all the steps of preparation up until going to the airport and arriving in London! The on-site CIS Abroad staff were amazing, as well. Everyone at CIS Abroad was there to support me, and they all were so genuinely excited to help me on my journey! They even reached out to me multiple times during my program, and even after my program ended, just to chat and hear all about my experiences and see if I needed anything. The University of Westminster was also amazing. The opportunities I had in my classes there were unlike anything I have at my home university. I actually still keep in contact with some of the professors I had abroad (one is even writing a recommendation letter for me!). I stayed at the Marylebone residence hall, and it was amazing! It couldn't have been more perfect for what I wanted. It was right in the heart of London, within walking distance to all of my classes, and the nearest tube station was right across the street! Not only did I have a great experience due to the CIS Abroad staff and the University of Westminster, I also made amazing life-long friends and made irreplaceable memories - and you will too! I cannot express enough how thankful I am to this study abroad program for shaping me into the person I am today. I always thought I knew who I was as a person pretty well, but studying and living abroad taught me things about myself that I never would have discovered had I not gone abroad! So, get excited!!!! By picking this specific program, or another CIS Abroad program, I can guarantee you will have one of the best experiences of your life. :)
What was your funniest moment?
This is a bit embarrassing, honestly, but this is the story of the time I got locked in a stairwell and had to call for rescue -
It was the first day of one of my classes at the University of Westminster. My class was in a different building than CIS Abroad's welcome orientation was in. I thought I knew where I was going, but turns out I was wrong! The classroom number was in the 300s, so I assumed that meant it would be on the third floor. There was a person at the front desk of the building that I could have asked for help in guiding me to where my class was located, but I assumed I was okay and knew where I was going. I took the elevator to the third floor. It seemed a bit off. It was primarily offices, and I thought it seemed like a weird place for a class. So, I decided I would go back down to the ground floor and ask for help. I decided to take the stairs (which were right by where I was), instead of finding my way back to the elevator. BIG MISTAKE! As it turns out, that was an employee-only stairwell, and you needed to swipe your employee ID in order for the doors to open. I have no idea how I got into the stiarwell, but somehow I did, and I quickly realized I couldnt get out. I walked up and down all the flights of stairs, trying my student ID card at every door, to no avail. I finally realized that I had two options. One, stay in the stairwell and wait for someone to open one of the doors, and sneak out. Two, go out the fire door in the basement, sounding an alarm, and getting out of there! The logic part of my brain kicked in, and I realized neither of these two options were smart. I had two minutes until the class I was trying to go to started, and I didn't want to be late on my first day! So, here was my solution. The building I was stuck in was the place that the University of Westminster's Education Abroad office was located. So, I called their number, and told them my embarassing story, and how I was locked in the stairwell in the building. Sure enough, they rushed to my rescue and found me - LOL! They were so kind and we were all laughing and joking about the whole thing.
Moral of the story - always ask questions when you're unsure of something, it'll save you a lot of time! Also, everyone involved in the study abroad process is there for you!!! They see you at your best, and sometimes your worst, but there are always just a call away for help, even if it is something actually serious (unlike being stuck in the stairwell). LOL!