COLA Study Abroad Interview- Bridget Thompson- London

COLA: Tell us a bit about yourself

Hi! My name is Bridget Thompson, I’m 22, a senior this year studying communication with a minor in business administration and hospitality. I studied in London, UK during the spring semester of 2017 at Regents University.

COLA: Why did you choose London? Why a UNH managed program specifically? 

I chose London because i was looking for an english speaking country but also London has such an influence on the world we live in today and I wanted to immerse myself in the great culture that it carries. I chose a UNH managed program because I liked having faculty at my fingertips that I could go to with any questions or concerns. They were super helpful in helping us adjust to life abroad by giving us tips and tricks for jet lag, telling us how to set up our phones so we could have phone service abroad, giving us items from past groups so we didn’t have to buy things we weren’t taking back, ways to save money, places to eat and much more.

COLA: Have you been out of the country before? If so, where? Did this influence your decision to study abroad in London?

I had been to Italy with my family and I absolutely loved it. Being in a different country made me realize how different cultures can be and made me appreciate the little things about the US. Although I loved it, I found the language barrier to be a little stressful which is why I chose London where they speak english.

COLA: What were your expectations of London before arriving? 

I expected London to be like your typical english town with small cottages and old technology. I was very wrong. In fact, they were ahead of the US on a few things which was very interesting. They had sections of small cottages and little businesses. However, a majority of the city was stores you find here in the US, skyscrapers and bustling with people.

COLA: What is the most valuable lesson you learned from studying abroad? 

The most valuable lesson I learned was don’t stress if plans don’t work out. My friends and I went to Galway in Ireland and I accidently bought the wrong tour tickets than the rest of the group. At first I didn’t want to do the tour I had bought by myself, being in a foreign country. I began walking back to our hotel when I decided that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to be in Ireland with the ability to see the sights so I ended up running back to the tour company and hopping on the bus with seconds to spare. I had a fantastic time and was able to see everything I wanted to see. I learned that even though I was alone and it was not the plan I had anticipated, I made the best of the situation and had a blast.

COLA: What has your experience taught you about yourself and the world around you?

I learned a lot about myself while being abroad. I learned that I am able to navigate a city by myself without getting stressed or lost. If I do get lost, I can easily find my way back to where I need to be. Also, I learned that it is important to embrace independence. I flew to London and back to the US by myself which was stressful but it was very satisfying when the plane touched down because I had navigated through foreign airports by myself to get there.

COLA: Did you travel outside your host city? If so where was the favorite place you went and why? 

I traveled to Rome, Venice, Galway, Dublin, Amsterdam and San Sebastian, Spain. My favorite was Galway. The town itself is pretty small so it was easy to get everywhere by foot. You have to take a bus and then a ferry to get to the famous Cliffs of Moher but it was well worth it. It is indescribable the vastness of the cliffs! Highly recommend this trip!

COLA: Tell us about the classes you took abroad. Did you have any memorable moments in any of these classes? 

I took 5 classes at Regents which were baroque art, contemporary art, media relations, and critical analysis of 21st century television and music appreciation. What I liked about these classes was that a lot of them took place in famous museums or landmarks in London. We would have baroque art class at the National Gallery or we would go to mass at Westminster Abbey Chapel for music appreciation. That’s not something you can do in Durham. The professors were extremely nice and very knowledgeable. In terms of memorable moments, we went to St. Paul’s for my contemporary art class and it was so incredible to see the famous church but also learn about the art within. You can do a tour at these different places but having a professor who has researched this for years is a great resource.

COLA: Why do you recommend London ? What are some of the benefits of studying in London?

I recommend London for anyone who likes being in the heart of things. I enjoy being in a city so I loved it. London is also a very walkable city. You could go from Piccadilly Circus to Big Ben in about 15 minutes by foot. If it’s too far to walk, the Tube is so simple. Being used to the confusing New York City and Boston transit, I was initially nervous to use public transportation. However, it is very easy to figure out and I had a good part of the Tube map memorized by the end of being abroad. Another benefit is the amount of things to do. There is a vibrant nightlife with a scene for everyone. Even for the 5 months I was there, I didn’t accomplish as much as I would have liked. There is never a dull moment which keeps things exciting and helps you make the best of your time.

COLA: What is one piece of advice you would give to prospective students looking to study in London?

My piece of advice is don’t be afraid to do things alone. I almost didn’t go to London because I didn’t know anyone going. After much convincing from friends and family, I decided to go. I am so incredibly glad that I did. I picked a few days out of my time in London to explore by myself and it was a great time for reflecting and a time to grow my street smarts. I made memories and friends that will last a lifetime. I learned about myself and learned some valuable life skills! If you’re hesitant because you don’t know anyone going, do it, you wont regret it!

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