T-Minus 7 Days: The Preparation and Thoughts Prior to a Year Abroad

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Hey everyone! My name is Jillian Roth and I am currently a junior at Temple University, but I will be spending the academic year abroad at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. Adventuring and exploring course through my veins, so this next year will be the ultimate expedition for me. I’m originally from Reading, Pennsylvania but I am in love with Philadelphia. Switching from a large, fast-paced American city to a small, quiet British one will hold lots of surprises. I’m ready to share all of the exciting, vexing, and just plain weird experiences with you!

Pictured above is The University of East Anglia where I will be living the next nine months. Quite the opposite of Temple! (photo via scenicnorfolk.co.uk)

Pictured above is campus of The University of East Anglia where I will be living the next nine months.

Quite the opposite of Temple! (photo via scenicnorfolk.co.uk)

 

So…studying abroad. Teachers, peers, and family members all say it is the experience of a lifetime and if you get the opportunity—take it! My desire to study abroad was influenced by hearing others’ surreal stories of travelling to, living and studying in a foreign country. After speaking with a few people who have been to England and consulting my own knowledge on English culture, I concluded that Temple’s exchange program with the University of East Anglia, in Norwich, England, was the way to go. England holds a plethora of quirks, culture and history that I want to immerse myself in. Castles! Cricket! Tea! Sign me up!

Once I completed my application for the program, I would check my email an embarrassing amount of times each day waiting on the decision. Never will I forget the moment I found out I had been nominated to participate in this program. I had just settled down for an afternoon of studying in the Tuttleman Computer Lab. I checked my email out of habit and my heart skipped a beat when I saw an email with the subject line “Application Decision for University of East Anglia”. “Congratulations!” …I felt tears well up in my eyes…”I am delighted to advise that you have been nominated for the University of East Anglia for the academic year.”…I felt a wide, ridiculous grin spread across my face. I felt like I had just written the title for a whole new exciting chapter about to unfold in my life.

Since then I have been working diligently on making all these plans become an enriching, magical reality. Enthusiasm, to reach my goals and make the most of my nine months in England, has been the driving force behind all the hard work in emails, forms, meetings, class approvals, and applications.

My favorite step thus far in the process of preparing for England had to have been the course approvals. The University of East Anglia offers really interesting, specific classes, but I needed to make sure they would transfer to my Temple degree. Getting to discuss these courses with Temple professors and figuring out the equivalents was very insightful. A couple courses which will be included in my schedule this upcoming year are Witchcraft, Magic, and Belief in Early Modern Europe and America in the World: History of US Foreign Relations. Already, I know that this exchange is going to offer me an unusual perspective on many intellectual endeavors. For example, the US Foreign Relations class may contain facts which I may have already learned about in the United States; however, the class will be taught from an outsider’s, non-American perspective. And also, a class about witchcraft and magic? Am I studying abroad at Hogwarts?!

My departure date is fast approaching (Only about a week left!) and now I have been preparing myself in different ways, aside from the paperwork and forms. I will be thousands of miles away from everyone I have ever known in a completely new place with new accents and customs. The goodbyes to family and friends have already begun. I need to prepare to stand alone and need to prepare to make mistakes, but also I am preparing to make new friends, memories, and experiences that will last a life time.

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