"The most memorable aspect of my time abroad centered on building relationships and exploring my own interests. Studying abroad allowed me to get closer to a lot of other classmates in my GMP cohort as well as the other Global Edge students. In fact, towards the end of the semester, 40-something of us decided to plan a huge trip to Barcelona and we all stayed in a villa together! Also, by exploring my own interests in things like polo and finding a local church, I am proudly able to say that I have great friends from across the pond!"
Even though being a part of the Global Management Program at Berkeley Haas meant studying abroad my first semester, I've always had a desire to study abroad. I am a firm believer in learning through new experiences and traveling is a great way to do so. Though London was also selected for us, I can't think of a better place to start my study abroad experiences as there is less of a language/cultural barrier for English speakers, convenience in transportation, and is a city of wonderful history, the arts, and a whole bunch of fun.
One of the best cultural experiences I had in London was going to Stourhead and Bath. This weekend getaway was not your typical school-planned field trip. By this time, I had already made great friends and the trip together was a nice break from school and we really got to know more people including the sophomores at this time. Stourhead is also absolutely gorgeous!
The biggest challenge of my study abroad experience was living on my own for the first time. I began the semester never having to cook, do laundry, or ride public transportation, but with the help of my flatmates, plenty of FaceTime calls to my mom, and trial and error, by the end of my time abroad, I am pretty confident facing all these things.
The complete independence of booking and planning your travels is also very daunting in the beginning. But like most things, practice (and asking for help) makes perfect!
For me, I had class from about 10am to noon. Sometimes I would have another class and my schooling would end around 2pm. After grabbing lunch around Bloomsbury or making myself a meal at home, I would venture out into the city either to check out a special bookstore I found online, try a new Londoner dessert that I've been craving, and/or attend a big event (red carpet premieres, pop up shops, ice skating, etc). In the evening, I would attend a club practice for either fencing or polo and have drinks with my fellow teammates afterwards. On Fridays, I might go clubbing with my flatmates or be headed to Heathrow Station on our way to Paris for the weekend. London really has so much to do and too little time!
I took Language Composition R4B, Theatre, Museums, and Political Science 2/Comparative Politics. I absolutely loved all my classes and adored all my teachers. They are all taught by the professors themselves in small class settings (smallest class size from 15 to largest around 40). Unlike Berkeley, there was not a lot of homework for my classes because they wanted us to really explore the city in our free time and during class, we learned a lot from interacting with the city itself. In theatre, we attended 7 plays while in museums, we visited almost every major museum in London.
The most memorable aspect of my time abroad centered on building relationships and exploring my own interests. Studying abroad allowed me to get closer to a lot of other classmates in my GMP cohort as well as the other Global Edge students. In fact, towards the end of the semester, 40-something of us decided to plan a huge trip to Barcelona and we all stayed in a villa together! Also, by exploring my own interests in things like polo and finding a local church, I am proudly able to say that I have great friends from across the pond!
On the personal side, I really enjoyed walking the streets of London and connecting with the hundreds of years of history that lay before me. I think that London is a great place for reflection and introspection; I really found out what kind of person I am apart from my family and home, and have become so much more independent because of it.
Don't be afraid to ask for help! Study abroad can be scary at first but once you're comfortable, it'll soon become your second home! For Global Edge students, make the most out of your time at Berkeley during the summer (I know it's your longest summer that you're giving up) but studying abroad is so, so, so worth it in the end. Also, in London, plan ahead for everything just to make sure you have enough time to do it all! Don't be afraid to try something new!