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Study Abroad: Experience Beyond the Classroom

Morristown, N.J. (November 12, 2015) – Study abroad can produce lasting memories. For Victoria Mezik, '16, a semester in London meant taking classes, holding an internship, and even getting a job at a pub. Victoria truly took advantage of this opportunity in spring semester 2015 and had an unforgettable few months in a completely new and different culture. To obtain this opportunity, she worked closely with her CSE academic advisors, as well as those at Arcadia University in London.

Victoria opted to stay with her older sister, who lives in the borough of Camden, for the duration of her trip, and take a bus to the university. Camden is a high-energy center of tourism, so it offers a lot of activities for young people like Victoria and other college students. Most of her classmates, however, utilized Arcadia's housing arrangements.

As for school itself, Victoria had classes only twice a week. This gave her plenty of time to intern at University College London as a research assistant for a brain scanning study. Her hours here were flexible, so she took advantage of museums and other famous sites around the city.

"There's something to do on every corner," she said, and most of these activities were free or offered discounts to students.

Victoria's classes in London varied from The Human Condition in the Digital Age, a sociology course, to creative writing and journalism.

"My courses were amazing. We spent time meeting the authors of books we read in class and visiting science museums," she said. "They were very hands-on."

The other students in her classes were all American. She met people from all over the country, from Texas to California to Maine. Her professors, however, were mostly international.

Studying in London didn't mean staying in England the whole time! It was surprisingly easy – and affordable – to jump on a bus or plane and travel to an entirely different country for the weekend. Victoria visited France, the Netherlands, Scotland, Spain, Poland, and Italy. She even spent one weekend in the English countryside with a family to get another perspective on British culture.

Living in London for a semester was definitely a source of culture shock for Victoria. The English way of life is completely different from that of America, and this took some getting used to. The food choices ("No ranch dressing!"), room size (Victoria's room was half the size of a CSE dorm), and even slang terms (in Britain, French fries are called chips) are completely different than they are in the U.S.

"To get to London I had to work very hard," Victoria said. "But, I would definitely recommend this experience to anyone. Traveling abroad made me see our own country in a different way, and also helped me learn to handle what life throws at me by myself."

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