Why Live Abroad?
Because It’s the Best Opportunity You Will Ever Receive
For three years I heard about the study abroad programs at my college but never considered going. It wasn’t in my nature. I had always been a commuter and had never been separated from my parents for more then a week.
What if I went somewhere to study and hated every moment of it? Would it be worth it in the end?
Mollie Farmer, the head of the study abroad program office at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, PA, tells students that even if there is just a little part of them that is considering studying abroad,
they should take the time to find out more about the programs that are offered. The little part of me that thought it would be great to live in England contacted the study abroad program in August of 2003. One year later, I boarded a plane in
Philadelphia and was on my way to London.
The girl who was afraid to leave home for the first time, fly for the first time, or be in a big city is now an accomplished world traveler who lived in the heart of London, rode the tube every day, and interned for Dr.
Evan Harris, a Member of Parliament. Because I had never been away from home I did not wish to have the stress of attending university added to my list of worries. I felt that working, living in flat, and having the freedom to live life without
restraint was the experience that I wanted in London. For this reason my study abroad choice was the International Internship Program, which is affiliated with King’s College, Rollins
Univ., Clark Univ., Stonehill College, and Siena College.
By utilizing low-fare airlines and rail passes, I was able to travel to Belgium, Ireland, France, Italy, Germany, and Scotland plus cities throughout England for $1,000. To put this in perspective, my roundtrip airfare between
the States and the U.K. was $689. My flight from London to Venice was roughly $35. I was able to travel to three Italian cities for $100.
After three and a half months of working with the British government I still was in awe when I entered Portcullis House, where the Members of Parliament (MPs) have their offices. Through my internship I attended Committee,
watched the House of Commons in action, participated in a political campaign, and experienced one of the biggest protests ever held at Westminster Palace. I now know how British government works from the inside out. It was amazing that a 21-year-old
foreigner actually had the opportunity every day to sit alongside of and share opinions with a British MP.
London is now a part of me. I encourage you to listen to that little voice that says it would be cool to live somewhere else for a while and to lead a different life. Take the opportunity and run with it, because before
you know it you’ll be at the next station of your life, having to “mind the closing doors.” But by then the tube will have come and gone, and into the gap between the train and the platform will fall one of the best opportunities
you will ever receive.