Hi, I’m Angela! I’m a junior at American University, where I’m majoring in International Studies and minoring in Public Health. I enjoy drinking hot chocolate, reading good books, and singing along to *every* song on the Hamilton soundtrack. I grew up in the Rust Belt, live in DC, and can’t wait to study healthcare and experience life in London. I’m not throwing away my shot!
While I spent the day of the attack outside Westminster calmly going about my everyday life here in London, my family and friends back at home were fretting. If your parents are anything like mine, they are regretting letting you study abroad just a bit. They’re wondering why they let you leave your hometown, travel across the world, and face unknown dangers. I have something that I would like to say to them.
When I found out that my service-learning placement for IES was at a homeless shelter, I was nervous. Would the clients be kind or horrible? What kind of tasks would I be doing? What even is service-learning? I had never worked with a population quite so vulnerable before, and now I was being asked to do so in another country.
Content Warning: Sexual Assault. My decision to study abroad as a survivor of sexual assault was complicated and nervewracking— and there have honestly been a few bumps in the road. But as I enter my third month in London, I can confidently say that I am thrilled that I chose to go abroad. I have some advice for other survivors who are deciding whether or not a semester abroad is the right choice for them.
As I write this, I’m sitting in the strangest place I’ve ever been in my life. It's also my new favorite place in London. Studying abroad gives you time to delve deeper than the tourist destinations, finding (sometimes strange) places that ignite your imagination. What did I find when I explored a lesser-known London museum?
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I wrote a cheesy love poem for London. I am in love with this city, with the people I have met, and with the classes I am taking. But every good relationship has to start somewhere. How did I know that IES Abroad’s London Health Practice and Policy Program was right for me?
On Friday, I attended a lecture at Oxford University. On Saturday, I visited Cambridge University. On Sunday, I met some students at the London School of Economics as well as the Bishop of London. So I think now is a good time to ask: What happens when a poor student from the American Midwest meets some pretty amazing people?