It’s scary to believe my study abroad experience is coming to an end. I’ve been dreaming of having this experience since high school and could not wait these past two years at DU to have my turn at these adventures!
I chose Bangor University because it combined both the familiar (English language and the UK) and the unknown (Wales and British university life).
I loved every moment of this experience. Here are my highlights!
I took three classes. My business class counted for DU credit and I liked taking a class that applied to my major in a foreign setting. My Welsh history class was definitely my favorite! It was great to get the information pertaining to the area I was studying in and it made visiting the various castles of the region much more exciting and rewarding! A spur of the moment decision to take a science class was one of the greatest decisions I made at the beginning of the semester. It was five weeks of lectures about the geography of the area and then a week long field course trekking through Snowdonia National Park. It was a great method to learn science and a spectacular corner of the world to explore!
I never would have discovered this corner of the UK without studying at Bangor. Its perfect setting between Snowdonia National Park and the Irish Sea. I went on many adventures throughout the area. My favrotie place was Conwy, a medieval walled city home to the Conwy Castle. It was a great place to explore and shop around the little boutiques. My field course visited the National Park and the best place was the Aber Valley, home to two spectacular waterfalls in a mystical, fairy-tale like setting. Having the ability to explore so many different corners of the UK and Europe on the weekend has definitely instilled a deeper love of travel in me. It also inspired me to travel more around the USA to get to know the different regions!
Britain takes their holidays very seriously. For Halloween, I attended a Harry Potter feast complete with magic lessons, chocolate frogs, and Dumbledore. My friend from DU threw a Thanksgiving for her flat and I got to attend. It was an interesting group to spend thanksgiving with. The feast included standard American thanksgiving food like mashed potatoes, cornbread, pie, and sweet potatoes. Quote of the night came from one of the British students remarking on the fact that the sweet potatoes were covered with marshmallows: “Oh there go the Americans putting sugar on everything they can.” We spent the Thanksgiving comparing and contrasting American and British holiday traditions. Christmas in the UK starts as soon as Halloween ends. The decorations went up and the Christmas music began in the stores.
This abroad experience was one of the greatest things that I’ve ever done in my life. I can’t imagine going abroad anywhere else besides Bangor and very happy with the choice I made and the places I traveled to! I’m returning back to DU and more confident person ready for all the challenges life brings!
It’s officially one month until I leave for Bangor University for the fall semester!
I will be enrolled as a student taking a variety of classes ranging from basic Welsh to organizational behavior.
Before I delve more into my thoughts regarding my next big life adventure let me tell a bit about myself:
I am a third year Marketing major at the University of Denver in beautiful Colorado, where I am involved in both the Delta Delta Delta sorority and the Alpha Kappa Psi professional business fraternity. Originally from Northern California, I have always enjoyed traveling with my family across the US and Europe. I like to find adventure anywhere I find myself!
Something that is hard to do as a visitor or tourist to any locale is really immerse yourself within that culture. World cultures have always fascinated me because it is astounding how on one single planet so much cultures, histories, and stories can co-exist together! A semester abroad provides enough time to begin to understand and thrive in that cultures instead of just glancing at it while a tourist. Although my culture is noticeably the baseball, minivans, and apple pie all American, one unique cultural experience I had was that my family happened to be in London when Prince William married Catherine Middleton. I stood on the Pall Mall in front of Buckingham Palace waving a small British flag, belting “God Save the Queen” while cheering for Queen Elizabeth and the rest of the British Royal Family. I felt a part of the culture and yelling for the couple to kiss when they appeared on the balcony seemed the right thing to do. It was an amazing experience to be a part of something that is so distinctly a part of the British national identity.
Studying abroad was always a definite must and it was not an easy decision narrowing down even which part of the world I wanted to study in for a semester! When faced with the daunting question from the study abroad office of where could we imagine living for four months. Since I’ve always been an anglophile and being a champion of all things Britannia, I decided on Bangor University in Wales because it gave a different UK experience than the programs in the ever popular London or Glasgow. So then I got the official email telling me the great news.
With this news, I have been busily mentally preparing myself for the trip of a lifetime where I really get to become a member of a different culture and lifestyle.
Going out of state for college was a particular challenge but its set the stage for being more comfortable with leaving home for greater distances. The biggest challenge I will face is being alone in a strange place; California to Colorado was an interesting enough adjustment, so US to Wales will be even more confusing! Support from family and friends will help make the transition smoother as they are as excited to hear all about the experiences I have abroad! Every person I’ve ever talked to about their time living abroad has told me how the experience has changed them and altered their world perspective, and from my college adventures that joining and involving myself in as many things as possible will be the best things to expand my horizons.
My next post will be from Wales!
Until next time,
Emily S., DUSA blogger