Name: Whitney Z.
Program: Social Work Internship
Location: London, England
What made you decide you wanted to participate in a program abroad?
I studied abroad my junior year of college and absolutely fell in love with the idea of traveling. After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology in May 2014, I realized I was not ready to tackle Grad school and instead was interested in gaining more experience through various internships. When I came across World Endeavors I thought it was the best way to gain experience while still being able to feed the ‘travel bug’ inside me.
What obstacles did you face prior to going abroad?
A major obstacle that I faced as I prepared to intern abroad was how I was going to financially support myself once I was abroad. Especially when looking at the currency conversion rates, I needed to really plan and budget myself in order to make going abroad a possibility.
Why did you choose London as a destination?
In previous trips to London, I fell in love with not only the culture but history surrounding the city. I chose London ultimately because it is one of the largest cities in the world and has opportunities unlike anywhere else. Additionally, the fashion, shopping and overall English accent aided in making London my first choice as a destination I’d like to further explore.
What has been your favorite part of your program so far?
This question is literally the hardest to answer. I love my internship placement- the people are so welcoming and nice. I feel like I am actually making a difference and part of an important team of colleagues. The city itself is amazing- there is never a dull moment and always something to see or do.
Have you faced any obstacles in your host country? (culture shock, language barrier, etc.)
So far I do not feel like there have been any major obstacles I have had to face. My previous time studying abroad greatly prepared me for what I would be facing when on this current program interning. I think if I had to describe a potential obstacle it would be learning to budget and spend my money wisely. Especially with currency and conversion rates, spending can get a little out of hand but with a little bit of discipline that is easily manageable.
Do you see your time abroad affecting your plans for the future?
Absolutely! I would love to explore options that would allow me to work or attend graduate school here in London in the future. Being abroad has opened up my eyes to possibilities outside of what the United States can offer me that I do not think many people have the opportunity of witnessing.
Have you seen in changes in yourself since you’ve been abroad?
I feel like since I have been abroad, I have become increasingly more independent and self-reliant. I’ve learned to not depend on others and that I am fully capable of living on my own without depending on family or friends.
What advice would you offer to those thinking about doing a program abroad?
Do it! It may sound scary to live in a foreign country outside of your comfort zone for a significant amount of time but you will be impressed with the skills you will obtain. I’ve learned more about myself in my time abroad than I have in all of my time back at home. Also make sure to pick a destination that you have a special bond with. Often times you may never get this opportunity to drop everything and live in another country so make the most out of a place that you would really like to explore and get to understand.