By Jessye Shepherd
Many opportunities are presented to us in our lifetime and sometimes the most important thing to do is step out of your comfort zone and try something new.
Deciding to study abroad in the United Kingdom at Kingston University was one of the most important decisions I’ve ever made and it has drastically changed my life. It has not only changed me as a person, but has changed my future. The benefits are endless, but it didn’t happen without an extensive information search and lots of planning.
Being able to study abroad was something I didn’t think would be possible for me because I did not want to delay my graduation and I did not know if I would be able to afford it.
After a lot of research and motivation to find a way to make it work, however, I can now say I am graduating on time with a double major and I was surprised at how affordable it really was to study abroad. I chose to study through the International Program offered through the California State University system, so I still paid CSUN tuition while studying in London! This also boosts my resume for potential career options and opportunities.
Before going abroad, I had only been on a plane twice and for less than 30 minutes each flight. Needless to say, I had not done much traveling. Once I made the trip to the United Kingdom, I was not only able to learn and acclimate myself into British culture, but I was able to travel around Europe. Although the program provided fantastic classes at the university where I furthered my degree, some of the most prominent lessons I learned were while traveling. I visited Italy, the Netherlands, the Republic of Ireland, and Norway.
While abroad I met many people from all over the world. I made some of the best friends I have made in my entire lifetime. Meeting people from many different cultures and backgrounds opened my eyes to how small the world really is.
There is an absolute beauty in the diversity in cultures and language amongst people. Regardless of these differences, we are all very similar. A staff member in the international office at Kingston University said she is in the business of promoting world peace because she brings people together. I really took this to heart and believe that if we all took more time to learn and understand different cultures and backgrounds, the more accepting we would be of others, which would eliminate some of the unnecessary fighting that goes on between countries.
Ultimately, studying abroad continues to influence my daily decisions and has opened my eyes to the wonderful world that provides an endless source of learning opportunities. It has changed my life and continues to do so. I am now a student assistant in the International and Exchange Student Center at CSUN spreading the word about the programs we offer and encouraging students to find out more because I believe in the positive change it can have on a student’s life.