May 2022: Life before London

Thaliah Cardenas
May 27, 2022
Thaliah at the airport, just checked in her bags.

In less than 24 hours, I'll be in a new country, thousands of miles from everything I've ever known.

Let me introduce myself. Hello, my name is Thaliah, and I am 21 years old and about to embark on my first ever trip abroad. Wow, even typing that out feels unreal. I come from 9 generations of Texans and to no one’s surprise, I am attending the University of Texas at Austin. I am going into my senior year as an architectural engineering major. As a capstone to my junior year, I am attending the Emerging Technologies program in London. This is a unique program specifically designed for my major that cannot be completed anywhere else in the world. Professor Gregory Brooks, an architectural engineering professor at UT Austin who is teaching the course, has selected 17 students out of over thirty applicants to participate. We will be traveling to London to witness stunning architecture and meet with the top Engineering and Architecture firms in the world to discover what’s new in the field. Additionally, we will be paired with a professional mentor to create a research poster about an upcoming building or technology. I’m so excited!

Hopefully participating in this study abroad will not only develop my skills professionally in making connections and learning from these huge companies, but I will also be expanding my worldly knowledge by visiting a new country and learning about a way of living vastly different than my own. Also, I’m just excited to go to England!!  I want to eat a full English breakfast, have a tea party, go see Big Ben, maybe meet a London boy ;), see where the queen lives, and most of all try out my British accent. ‘ello govna’ wot a lovely chewsday innit? [Texas translation: Howdy partner, ain’t it a great Tuesday?] Or maybe my British accent is so bad I shouldn’t use it. Ever. Who knows! Might as well try.

This trip will help me envision what my future could look like. Maybe later I’ll be living in London working at one of these places we visit. When I was young, I could’ve never even dreamt of such a possibility, but now sitting in the airport with my passport in hand, it feels like anything is possible. Although, not everything is rainbows and butterflies.

I’m scared. I’m nervous. I’ve never flown by myself let alone out of the country. I’ve never lived more than an hour away from my family and now I’ll be a whole ocean away. What if something happens? What if something gets stolen or lost or worse? What if I get homesick and I want to leave? What if I hate rainy days and the work is boring? These are all fears that have been running through my mind for the last week. And while there are days, I just want to cancel the whole trip and stay home for the summer, I know that this will be worth it. Even if I hate it, it’ll have been worth it. I’ve been trying to get out of my comfort zone and shake things up and this might do the trick.

As I finished up my last Whataburger meal and headed to the airport, I remember how grateful I am that I can live this life. Thank you, Jesus, I am so lucky!  Anyways, my plane is taking off soon. Wish me luck!


Thaliah <3

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Thaliah Cardenas

<p>I'm Thaliah! I'm just a gal from Texas who loves being outdoors, reading, and hanging out with friends. I am currently at the University of Texas at Austin studying Architectural Engineering. I am so excited to be traveling to London and discover new architecture, try new foods, and finally use my British accent. Fun Fact: I am the oldest of 5 and the youngest is 2 years old!</p>

2022 Summer 1, 2022 Summer 2
Home University:
University of Texas - Austin
Austin, Texas
Engineering - General
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