COLA Study Abroad Interview- Alissa Scinto- London

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COLA: Tell us a bit about yourself
Hi! My name is Alissa Scinto and I am currently a senior at UNH and am an Animal Science major.  I studied abroad in London at Regents University during the spring 2017 semester.
COLA:Why did you choose London? Why a UNH managed program specifically?
I knew I had to be somewhere English speaking, and I had always wanted to visit England. The UNH managed program part was a bonus!
COLA: Have you been out of the country before? If so, where? Did this influence your decision to study abroad?
I had been on a week long high school trip to Spain 6 years ago. I remember how awesome it was, and knew I wanted to go back to Europe some day. I am really happy I did too!
COLA: What were your expectations of London before arriving?
I expected to travel to beautiful places and hopefully meet one or two cool people to share those experiences with. I was expecting to eat fish and chips, and I certainly did that many times!
COLA: What is the most valuable lesson you learned from studying abroad?
I learned the importance of self motivation; there are a million things to do in London but only if I go for it!
COLA:What has your experience taught you about yourself and the world around you?
The world is so large and full of life, and that I need to get out of my comfort zone to experience it to the fullest. I’m pretty good with navigation, which helped when we traveled to places and countries we had never been before and didn’t speak the native language. There is so much more outside the small, comfortable
bubble of Durham, New Hampshire, that I am so thankful I was
able to experience the bustle of city life in a different culture than my own.
COLA: Did you travel outside your host city? If so where was the favorite place you went and why?
Many times! Either for travel or with one of my classes. Every weekend I tried to do something to take full advantage of my time there. It’s so hard to pick a favorite, but if I have to, I would say Scotland. It was my first flight out of London, and it is so nice when a trip you mostly planned turns out perfectly. Scotland is insanely gorgeous; we went in March when it was still chilly with snow on the mountains. We did a driving tour one day that took us around Scotland, into the Highlands, and to Loch Ness! Didn’t see Nessie, but I did have a cone of whiskey ice cream (after learning the history of whiskey making in Scotland). My favorite domestic trip was to Warner Bros Studio tour of the Making of Harry Potter. It was incredible to see the sets they
filmed on, and have my own glass of butterbeer.
COLA: Tell us about the classes you took abroad. Did you have any memorable moments in any of these classes?
I, along with other UNH students, took 5 classes. They were all once a week, which left plenty of free time during the week. I was in Victorian/Modern Lit, History of Art, Baroque Art, a gender studies class, and a world religions course. The two art classes actually took place in museums each week! The National Gallery, Wallace Collection (my personal favorite), the British Museum, Courthauld Gallery, and Banqueting House to name a few. Taking the tube with 20 students and a professor was quite a sight to see.
COLA: Why do you recommend London ? What are some of London’s benefits?
I would definitely recommend studying abroad. It was an experience I will never forget, and taught me quite a bit about planning, budgeting, and being self confident. The program in London had so many benefits that honestly I did not realize until the end of my time there. It was so nice to have a UNH professor on campus with us, who would take us to local eateries and make sure we were all okay. Regent’s University is in a gorgeous park that I spent countless hours walking around in. The park is in Central London, so you are close to literally everything the rest of the city and its historical sites and the rest of Europe (4 airports are easy to get to
from Regent’s either a bus or the Tube). London has a great night scene, and it was fun to go out to the clubs nearby, and you could find affordable food for lunch or di
nner if you didn’t feel like eating in the Refectory.
COLA: What is one piece of advice you would give to prospective students looking to study in London?
 Pack lightly!!!! I almost wasn’t able to bring everything home because I brought so much over and then bought too many gifts and souvenirs. More importantly, don’t be afraid to explore alone, especially if it is within London. I enjoyed discovering the museums on my own (most of them were free!), walking
through Regent’s Park. Budgeting is also quite important, as studying abroad in London is not cheap, especially if you plan to do a lot of traveling. Airbnb and hostel world will be your friends. Also, don’t be afraid to take the bus! It is half the price of the tube and honestly it’s quite fun to ride on the top deck. Wherever you decide to go, do your research beforehand into a few things you want to do nearby and
maybe a few countries you want to visit. Travel books are very helpful in planning a trip. Remember, you’re traveling to an incredible place; take a deep breath, and have fun! I journaled nearly every day with what I did and who I met, and I am glad I did because now I certainly can remember everything I did.
COLA: Any last comments? Suggestions?
Places to eat in London: Nando’s, Wagamama. Also I recommend doing High Tea at least once!
Places I loved going to: Wallace Collection, Oxford Street, rose garden in Regent’s Park in May, the Royal
Mews, HP Studio Tour, Tower of London
Places I traveled to: Cambridge, Scotland (Glasgow), Ireland (Dublin and Galway), Spain (Donostia), Italy
(Rome and Venice), France (Paris), Canterbury, Dover, Stonehenge, Bath, Greenwich.
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