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Will You Follow Me to University of Westminster?

posted by LIM College

describe the imageAs I sat in the empty hollow room that I would be forced to call my home for the next five months, I began to seriously doubt my drastic and impulsive decision. After the shock of the first days of London winter weather—both snowy and dark—wore off, the sense that the semester would be a once in lifetime adventure returned.

My goal for international study and travel was always both spiritual and worldly.  For the spirit, it would be a change to throw myself completely out of my normal habitat and routine. For someone who likes to plan and is quick to settle in, that would be liberating. My worldly determination was to experience as large a variety of cultures as possible in my first trip to Europe.

Studying at The University of Westminster proved a challenge on many levels and put my intelligence and adaptability to the test. The British educational system, curriculum, and expectations of how one learned were all new. It was a boost to my spirit to see that I could succeed on those educational terms. There were also differences in how the British conduct internships. I interned at Premier Model Management—the atmosphere was very relaxed with a laissez faire approach to managing.

My plan to dip into a variety of other cultures also worked out well. I visited Paris, took swims on the beaches of Barcelona, had a gondola ride in Venice, and spent time in the coffee-shops of Amsterdam. Those times made me feel blessed and alive. 

Although my mother did not approve, I shared hostel lodging with complete strangers.  A number of people crossed my path that made me appreciate my life in America more fully. People were in awe when I told them that I was from America. They all shared their hopes of one day being able to visit such a wonderful country. I also met wanderers who were searching for meaning and their place in the world. I shared a room with an individual in Spain who was traveling by himself for months on end. He was about thirty years old and on his third trip around the world. While I admired his adventurousness, meeting him reminded me how important having a clear direction is for me, and how despite how much travelling was teaching me, it would never be appealing to simply wander.  

I am friendly and outgoing on my home turf, but my travels taught me that connections and friendships can be made in any country or situation if one opens oneself up.  The semester in London deepened my desire to visit as many countries, cities, and hidden gems around the world as I can.

So, classmates, seize the chances that LIM offers to study and travel abroad, whether for a week or semester. Be a little selfish, for a while, about breaking free of the routine and relationships of your life at the moment. Study abroad will bring new friendships that will enrich those you have. Leave your comfort zone for adventures that will put your current situation in perspective, ignite dreams and passions, or simply be an incredible wild and crazy time that you’ll remember forever!

--Caitlin Mantagas

Further Reading:

Westminster University

USA Today on the educational benefits of study abroad

A blog with a sense of humor about a first trip to Europe

Topics: study abroad