Meet Hanna Murphy, an API Alum majoring in Criminology and Delinquency at Emporia State University. She studied abroad in London at Kingston University, and we were lucky enough to ask her a few questions about her experience with API. Read on to learn more about studying abroad in London!
How did you choose your program?
In high school, we were assigned a project about a foreign college, and I chose to do my project about Kingston. I’m also a big Harry Potter fan, and London is the base of the film. It was at the top of my bucket list, so that was one of the main reasons I chose the spot I did. I saw anything and everything related to Harry Potter!
Did you have any anxieties about studying abroad?
This was my first time leaving the country! My biggest anxiety was probably getting on the plane. That was a lot to tackle, especially since it was my first time flying on a plane, and I was by myself. Ultimately, I mustered up the courage to go on my own! As far as the school aspect of studying abroad, I didn’t feel too nervous. I’m usually well-kept when it comes to academics.
Tell us about your favorite class.
I enjoyed a class called British Life and Culture. We took excursions to different hot spots in London. We saw the Tower of London, toured the Royal Palace, and visited other museums. Since British Life and Culture is a class dedicated to international students, I met other students who were studying abroad.
How did you cope with homesickness?
My family and I are really close, so there were times when I felt homesick. Adjusting to the time difference was difficult because I was 6 hours ahead of my parents and siblings. I FaceTimed my parents every night and my boyfriend everyday. I also kept busy by going out and about. Ultimately, I reminded myself this experience was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and that helped me keep things in perspective.
What did you learn about yourself?
When I traveled to London in January, I was a Creative Writing major. By the time I came home, I realized Creative Writing was not the direction I wanted to take my life. So I switched majors to Criminology and Delinquency, making Creative Writing my minor. We took an excursion to The London Dungeons where we learned about Jack the Ripper. I wrote a paper about him, and I realized this topic sparked a lot of interest for me; I enjoy solving problems and mysteries! I think that is something I could do with my life. As a result, I spoke to my advisor at Emporia, and she helped me make the switch. If I hadn’t gone on that excursion, I may have never discovered this passion. In this way, API made a large impact on my career trajectory.
How did your classes in London differ from classes in the U.S.?
The grading scale was different. Earning a 60% on a test in London is considered a passing grade. Also, there weren’t a lot of assignments throughout the semester. All of the information led up to the final projects, which may have been a paper or a presentation. I preferred this way of learning; it made college less stressful. With these deadlines, I learned to pace myself when it came to my schoolwork. I no longer waited until the last moment to start my work!
Tell us about a time you put yourself out of your comfort zone.
During my first week of classes, I boarded the wrong bus to go back to my dorm. I ended up in an unfamiliar place an hour away when my phone died. I had to walk to the nearest train station, take 2 trains, ride a bus, and walk 15 minutes to get back! It took me a little while to build up the courage to go back out on my own. Each time I did, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. After this experience, I have more confidence in myself now and my ability to problem solve a crisis.
What advice would you give to a student considering studying abroad, but is anxious about traveling?
I suffer from anxiety and depression, so I was afraid of having a relapse while I was traveling. It was scary at first, but once I got the hang of it, it was a breeze. That being said, you may have bad days. On my bad days, I made sure to call home and stay involved. Even better, API offers a lot of help, too. We were constantly reminded about the people available to guide and assist us with any issue, and there are phone lines to text if you don’t want to meet face-to-face.
Anything you would tell future students going to London?
Be sure to bring a phone with a London SIM card or an international plan. You will be so grateful for the maps! Also, keep track of your money and watch how much you spend. Because of the exchange rate, something may seem cheap, but it’s actually more expensive in U.S. dollars.
All in all, I definitely recommend API’s programs. If you’re considering one of these life-changing experiences, go for it!