"One of the biggest concerns I had studying abroad was becoming homesick. I'd never traveled outside of the country, let alone traveling alone. I reminded myself that I was traveling for my parents who never had the means to. I knew they would want me to enjoy my time, learn, and explore as best I could."
As a first generation college student coming from a low income family I wasn't in the position to travel the world growing up. I knew that by participating in UC Berkeley Summer Study Abroad Program I would have the guidance from the office. As well as enough financial aid to support my journey abroad. I chose to study abroad in London because it was the central hub to nearby countries such as France and Ireland making weekend travel much easier. I was set on traveling as much as I could during this summer program and London Shakespeare and Arts program helped me achieve that.
I had the opportunity to learn about Shakespeare and Renaissance from the country it all started in, England. I attended multiple plays in The Globe, a theater in which William Shakespeare himself performed. I had the amazing experience of completely immersing myself in the culture also by living in Camden Town London. What was the most interesting cultural experience you had abroad?
One of the biggest concerns I had studying abroad was becoming homesick. I'd never traveled outside of the country, let alone traveling alone. However, I reminded myself that I was traveling for my parents who never had the means to. I knew they would want me to enjoy my time, learn, and explore as best I could. If you ever feel homesick while abroad remind yourself they will still be there when you get back and in the meantime enjoy your once-in-a-lifetime experience.
A typical day abroad consisted of waking up at 8am to eat breakfast and get ready for class at 9am. Lecture was from 9am to 3pm everyday but Fridays (this made it great for traveling on the weekends). After class as a group we would all go grab lunch at a nearby cafe (highly recommend Caffè Nero). We then had the remainder of the day to explore London! We would often take the tube to the British Museum or Covent Garden. By 7pm we would grab dinner at Nando's (highly recommend it's amazing) and then head back home. I would often watch a movie with flatmates before starting the next days readings. Finally sleep at around 11pm and start the routine over the next day.
I participated in the London Shakespeare and Arts program offered through Berkeley Summer Abroad. This meant that I had a professor from Berkeley teach the course abroad. In this case there was little difference between UC Berkeley classes and abroad courses. However, while abroad I only took one 6 unit course apposed to a 15 unit course load. This allowed me to focus on my work while still allowing time to enjoy being abroad.
The most meaningful aspect of my time abroad was the amazing friendships I made. Everyone from my classmates, neighbors, towns people, and flatmates made the experience worthwhile. So much so that I met one of my greatest friends and current roommate Gisselle, whom I would not have met if it weren't for this program.
Traveling and studying abroad alone gave me the opportunity to learn more about myself. I learned to be responsible, aware, and independent. This experience helped me break out of my bubble and realize how big and beautiful the world truly is and has kick started my love for travel.
Take on every opportunity that is presented to you and get out of your comfort zone. Try new things as cliche as it may sound it is the most valuable piece of advice I could offer you. Whether that be new food, a new place, or a new activity do it! Take in the culture and be present.
Studying abroad has taught me that I want to pursue a career that will allow me to travel, meet new people, and make a difference. As a result, I am pursuing a career in fundraising in hopes of helping individuals accomplish their dreams no matter the cost!