Every semester, tons of our Intern Queen Campus Ambassadors take advantage of the amazing opportunity to study abroad. This Spring, we wanted to share their stories with you! The fifth blog in our #InternQueenAbroad series is from Allanah Dykes, Fairfield University.
What city and school are you studying in?
I am studying at Regent's University London in London, England.
Why did you choose to study abroad there?
When I was completing my application, I knew immediately that I wanted to study abroad in London. Over the past couple of years I've learned so much about London's culture, fashion, and media sector so it was just the perfect match.
Have you had to deal with language barriers? What have you done to make it easier?
I have not had to deal with language barriers because London is an English speaking country. On the other hand, London is such a diverse place and you will interact with so many different individuals from around the world, which I love! I've met a great group of individuals from South Korea, Japan and Russia and it's amazing to just sit and talk with them and learn about each other's backgrounds and countries.
Is the classroom environment different from the United States? How so?
I've noticed that it is different from the United States, especially my home University. At home we are constantly being tested, whereas here it is based on papers and group projects. I've also noticed that it is important to come to class knowing current events. I am grateful that my home University stressed studying what's going on in the world. That has helped me stay up to date on current events here and thoroughly participate in my classes.
How did you budget for your semester and manage your money abroad?
Last summer I had the pleasure of working at Kate Spade Outlets. Every paycheck I received, the majority of it went into my study abroad account. There were so many times that I wanted to purchase a new collection bag, especially since Kate Spade is one of my favorite brands, but I knew that I wanted to travel. Also I have been fortunate that my parents and family have contributed as well.
How are you balancing school and exploring your country?
I am going to be honest - this is something that is difficult to balance! I try to keep up the same habits that I have at home i.e. staying organized and on top of my work. I would stress that it is important to keep up with your work, but also explore your country! You learn so much by just stepping outside the confines of your campus. Those are the lessons you will take back and carry with you for the rest of your life.
What are the 5 things you HAD to pack to bring with you?
o My headphones: I am obsessed with listening to music, and finding new artists and bands. Since being in London, my taste in music has definitely expanded. There are so many up and coming artists, as well as different types of genres I was not privy to before.
o My laptop: I am constantly jotting down lists, notes, and also this is my main source to blog on my website doubleshotofchic.blogspot.com. I love blogging because it's a great outlet for me to share anything and everything. Whether it's music, food, fashion, my inner thoughts, and especially my adventures abroad.
o My Keds: I've been obsessed with Keds every since I was a little girl. I went through copious amounts of platform Keds as a child. It's something about the nostalgia, the feel, and the classic look of the shoes that constantly has me reaching for them. As soon as I get home I'm going to have to replace them because they've been getting a lot of wear and tear from my excursions and adventures.
o Some of my grandmother's favorite possessions: My Grams passed away September 2014 from Cancer and she always stressed the importance of coming on this trip, living my life to the fullest, and always being happy in each and every one of my endeavors. Before I left home I gathered up some of my favorite possessions of hers to leave in my favorite places abroad. Everywhere I leave something, I take a picture so I can keep her memory alive. Also she loved taking photos as well. This project has been amazing for me because I am blessed to be able to live out the hopes and dreams she had for me.
o An open mind: I packed an "open mind" because I believe that when one studies abroad it is important to immerse oneself in the culture, and have no expectations. I believe that it is important to not shy away from the customs of where you are studying abroad and keep an open mind because you will maximize your trip more.
What has been your favorite place/activity so far?
It is so difficult to narrow down one favorite place or one favorite activity. Everything I have done in London so far has been so exciting and just eye opening. I love that I can walk outside of my campus and I am surrounded by so much diversity, so much culture, and some of the most famous landmarks that I have ever dreamed of visiting. As much as I miss my family, I'm so grateful to have this opportunity.
What advice would you give other students considering study abroad?
I would definitely say hit the ground running as soon as you get to your study abroad destination. You will be tired, and you will be jet lagged, but you don't want to get in a rut of choosing to stay in and rest because that will become your routine. When you study abroad you have to fully commit and jump in with no hesitation or else you will not adapt. Always go into everything with an open mind, and don't be afraid to try new things and step outside of your comfort zone. Those are very cliché things to say but it's true. It is so easy to hold onto old habits, but this is the time to explore and maximize every opportunity you have been given.
Any last words/tips/secrets to share?
Have the best time of your life, don't forget to take a ton of pictures (and selfies) and most importantly cherish the time that you have. It goes by so quickly and one day you'll look up and you're on the plane back home. You will change while abroad and that's a great thing. Throughout your time you will be constantly evolving and the experiences and memories you create will last you a lifetime.