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ISEP Student Stories: Aaron and His Study Abroad Rollercoaster

July 1, 2016

University of North Carolina, Wilmington student Aaron K, a history major, is currently studying abroad in the U.K. at the Plymouth University. Here are his impressions of what it feels like to study abroad.

It seems as though every time you ask someone studying abroad how s/he is doing, you get the almost automatic response: “Yeah, it’s great!” We feel nearly obligated to say something positive because of the perceived “greatness” study abroad brings along with it, and after living one full month in England, I can say that this is the truth: I’ve had the opportunity to see half of what I read about in my history books, had the craziest experiences, and eaten tons of delicious British chocolate (sorry, not sorry).

Reading about Stonehenge in my history textbook…while looking at it in real life! Truly, “the past comes alive”!
Reading about Stonehenge in my history textbook…while looking at it in real life! Truly, “the past comes alive”!

However, study abroad is also like an emotional roller coaster on steroids… okay, forget emotional roller coaster, it’s like being strapped to a figurative space shuttle and being blasted into emotional outer-space (which may as well be, considering how far I am from home). At the end of every week, I go from the highest of happy (when I see some crusty old ruin from the 1400s that excites my inner-nerd), to the biggest of frustrations (when I miss a train that apparently “ain’t got time” to wait for confused Americans), to fear (that I won’t make friends or I’ll blow up the kitchen with my cooking), to shock (at the newness of a foreign way-of-life and having to be so independent), to homesickness, to stress management (that homework is gotta get done some time), and REPEAT.

I guess that’s why employers value prospective applicants who have studied abroad…because study abroad is like a reflection of everything in life. So, next time someone asks me how I’m doing, I’m gonna be like “LIFE” …and then walk away awkwardly.

Thanks for telling it how it is, Aaron!

If you want to learn more about what the day to day of studying at the University of Plymouth looks like, check out Aaron’s blog. There he discusses his classes, volunteering at a museum, and his travels. For more information about studying abroad in the United Kingdom, visit the ISEP website.

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