did you choose to go to Worcester, England for study abroad?
I chose to go to England because I felt it would be the closest thing to America
while getting out of North America. I was a bit afraid to leave my comfort zone,
but I did just that immediately after arriving in the UK. But it was good for
me. I was thrown into this new experience and am a better person for it.
What was your biggest surprise on arrival in England?
How difficult it was for me to understand British accents! Also, people had
difficulty understanding me. I was shocked by that.
What did you learn outside of the classroom?
I definitely learned how to be independent.I became confident in myself in a
way I had never felt before. I was able to live on my own, I could budget, I
could go grocery shopping for myself, and I knew when to stop spending money. I
definitely came back a whole new person in that sense. I’m a lot more trusting
in myself, I’d say. Now I feel I am able to move to Boston for City Year and
Providence (Rhode Island) to attend Brown University and be alright on my own.
Once you live in a different country, let alone continent, on your own, you can
go anywhere and feel at home. It’s what you make of it.
is the biggest change that you have noticed about yourself since coming back?
Like I said, I’m very independent now. I am moving to my first apartment next
week, and I’ve really learned how to budget this summer in order to save money
due to my time abroad. I also think my self-esteem has shot up about a million
percent. There is something to be said about moving to a different country and
being able to feel at home in just a few short weeks. Once I started to become
comfortable with my surroundings, I was able to explore more and learn about my
new city and country. With that being said, I definitely came back more
I think the absolute biggest change for me was coming home and watching my
grades start to soar. School in England isn’t necessarily more difficult, but it
is drastically different. Somehow, I wound up in higher level classes than I
should have been and I actually pulled through. I came home and was consistently
on the Dean’s Highest Honors. I graduated cum laude and got into grad school. I
think a lot of that confidence in my abilities came from my time spent in
would you recommend study abroad?
It is a fantastic way to learn about a new culture. You’ll never be able to
comprehend a culture as much as you would if you live there. I was thrown into a
world of biscuits and tea – no more bagels and iced coffee for me. So many
things I thought I would dislike, I ended up loving. I came back home to America
and missed my life in England. I can share stories with other people who have
studied abroad and now have the confidence to pack up and move to, say, Scotland
if I wanted. I sincerely feel it makes you a stronger being in every sense. You
just come back better, to put it simply.
Lauren is working for City Year in Boston and has been accepted to Brown
University’s Master of Public Administration program. She plans to start her
graduate studies in 2014.