Before I came to UK, I set up a few goals to accomplish during my study away semester. First, I should travel as much as possible, both within and out of UK. Second, I should get the most out of my foreign internship experience. Third, I should establish some worthwhile connections and relationships and stay in contact after my departure.
Concerning my first goal, I am sad to admit that I did not travel as much as I had hoped. Within UK, I have tried to explore new places at least once a week. However, I found it impossible to do for some weekends given that I am taking five classes this semester plus internship. Out of UK, I have only visited France and Italy. I didn’t have the chance to explore Europe more because, again, of my busy schedule.
Moving on to the second goal, I am happy to say that I had a very good internship experience here in London. Although it took 20 hours every week, it was a really nice to be able to work with people here, in a foreign environment and in a different culture.
Now to the third goal, I am excited that I have met some of the most amazing people here and have established good relationships with them. Some of them are co-workers, some of them are NYU London students, and others are people I met outside. I have no doubt that I will stay in contact with them after I go back to the U.S. Personally, as a business student, I believe that making foreign connection is one of the major reason why study abroad is very beneficial to my personal and career growth. As a result, I am quite satisfied with this past semester.
It is a special time for UK and for the rest of Europe. Because of the recent bad economy, you can expect to see some unusual things going on if you plan to come in the next few years.
If you plan to study abroad, you will probably plan several weekends to travel to Europe, be it France, Greece, Italy, or Spain. That’s totally fine, but one thing to pay attention to is that Europe is currently in a very sensitive and challenging time. Strikes can happen unexpectedly during your stays and delay or ruin your travel plans. Serious protests can happen on the streets and can be dangerous.
One of my friends planned a trip to Belgium a few weeks ago. She does not have class on Tuesday and Wednesday, so she decided to leave on Monday night, have fun until Wednesday morning, and then come back on Wednesday night. Good plan, plenty of time to catch Thursday’s class, right? It turned out that she couldn’t come back until Friday morning because of a strike in Belgium.
Now back to UK, a slightly less serious protest took place near our campus the other day. It was an action organized to protest the raise of tuition for college students in London. I don’t know the exact number, but apparently the tuition is going to double. Now, even if the tuition doubled, I am very sure they are still paying like 1/10 of what we are paying for NYU. So personally…I have no sympathy for them whatsoever. But you get the idea. Economy is bad and protests like these are likely to happen everywhere in Europe, including UK. This is just something you should keep at the back of your head while abroad.