Letters from London: Some study abroad struggles

Laysha Cervantes and Jess Emery exploring Amsterdam.

Studying abroad is often described as a “life changing experience.”

Students can immerse themselves within a culture for an extended period of time while also continuing to receive their education.

While the experience comes with incredible lifelong memories and friends, it’s surely not without its day to day struggles.

“I think the most difficult aspects for me have been trying to get into a routine because of how different the course load is here as well as the amount of free time I have,” said Laysha Cervantes, a student from Hendrix College in Arkansas studying at the University of Roehampton in London.

“I also think it’s been a bit difficult to manage spending money while I’ve been here. Having to buy groceries every week as well as going out into the city, traveling and doing things was difficult to manage at first,” she said.

The money struggle that comes with life abroad is one that crosses continents.

“My card was frozen like two times within the first month and I couldn’t spend any money because my Discover credit card wasn’t even accepted anywhere,” said VTSU Castleton student Reilly Tennis, who is studying abroad in Northern Ireland. “It was quite a stressful first few weeks.”

And that can likely be said for most study abroad students. The first few weeks of adjusting are always the hardest.

“Remember that most humans need 30 days to grow accustomed to big change so give yourself some grace for at least that first month,” recommends India David, an abroad Roehampton student from Beloit College in Wisconsin, studying Creative Writing and Journalism.

Reilly Tennis and Jess Emery posing in front of London’s Big Ben.

Study abroad students say it’s important to know that no matter the struggles and hardships, there are ways to manage them.

“I think learning how to prioritize things for me has been key with the amount of spending I do as well as my daily routine,” Cervantes said. “I think at first I was a bit harder on myself about not doing enough every day, but I also think apart of being here for me has been being able to have more time for myself and enjoying my own company with the little tasks that I do.”

Cervantes said it’s so important for people to go easy on themselves when they’re thrown into new and unexpected environments.

It’s not always easy breezy, but it’s most definitely memorable.

“Exploring different countries and places with my friends has been so cool and have become the best memories by far,” Cervantes said. “I also find that the some of the best memories I have made have been the random trips to the grocery store with my friends, or walking through the parks and listening to music, or even walking into places that we chose to walk into for fun.”

At the end of the day, you live, and you learn as you go.

“Take the leap! It was so scary, but it’s the most amazing experience and if the opportunity presents itself, take it!” Dennis said of the study abroad opportunity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post The ethics of “The Bridge”
Next post VTSU students represent Zambia in Model UN