Honors rising junior Paige Skinner spent this past Spring semester in London studying at the University of Roehampton. In Honors, international education is a requirement, one that can be fulfilled in many different ways including a full semester or year abroad, short-term faculty-led trips over winter or spring break, and summer independent travel or research experiences. Skinner admits that she initially found the idea of studying abroad daunting. She shared,
“Going into my study abroad experience I was very nervous. Moving to another country, away from everything that I knew for five months was something that I had never done before. I was scared of having to face new challenges and learning to adapt to living in a new country. But then I realized, isn't that what studying abroad is all about?”
During the semester, Skinner took three classes at the University of Roehampton. As a political science major, she took two courses in criminology and politics, and one in London studies examining the culture of London. She noted how her academic coursework was framed by her experience living and working in London. She stated,
“Through my classes, I was given the unique opportunity to learn more about Brexit and the politics of England and the people of London. I was able to meet so many different people from many different walks of life throughout my studies. They all gave a different perspective on what it meant to be from a global city like London.”
Being in London for the full semester, Skinner had the long-term experience of day-to-day cultural immersion. As she noted, "I tried afternoon tea, ate lots of traditional pub food, matched the pace of those who worked in the city when walking, and I (almost) completely mastered the public transportation system.”
While living and studying in London for the semester, Skinner found time to travel to ten other countries including Greece, Bulgaria, France, and Hungary. This full international education experience helped Skinner to “realize that the United States is only a small part of the world that we live in.” She further reflected,
“To be able to experience someone else's way of life and truly understand what it means to embrace different cultures is so important. I was able to take a leap into the unknown and have the adventure of a lifetime. I will forever be thankful for this experience and to the Honors College for encouraging and supporting their students to take this leap.”
Top photo of Paige Skinner at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. Photo submitted.