Studying abroad was the best decision I have ever made. I spent the fall semester in London, England with AIFS. The program placed me in Richmond University, a small campus within a lovely part of Kensington. Having left home all by myself, I was surprised at how easy it was to make friends. From the very first day, the Richmond and AIFS staff brought me and my classmates together for fun events, tours of London, and chances for all of us to get to know each other. Living in a new city together, we all had to rely on each other to adjust and navigate. It did not take long at all for Kensington to feel like home and for my new found friends to feel like family. We spent almost every second together, and I think those relationships are what made my experience as life changing as it was.

I chose AIFS for a number of reasons. They offer a great deal of options, accommodations, and support at an affordable cost. Once we arrived, they provided us with everything we needed and continued to be on call for us throughout the semester. AIFS took the group on several free trips and tours. I was able to see all of the London sights during our first week, and a few weeks later we visited Brighton to see the southern coast of England. Toward the end of the semester, we concluded with a trip to Oxford and got to explore the historic university. On the weekends, I was able to make some quick trips to a handful of places outside of London. I made it to Brussels, Amsterdam, Paris, Salzburg, and Florence. Each city I visited always managed to exceed my expectations. No matter how many photos I took, it could never capture just how beautiful and unique each of the cities are.

By the end of every excursion, I was always ready to come back to London. It was essential to have a strong home base and some stability throughout the semester. Having a roommate and living in close quarters actually ended up keeping us from ever feeling isolated or homesick. Following a school schedule also helped in developing a routine. My professors and peers made my time in the classroom so fulfilling. Hearing and engaging with people from all over the world was such a rare and valuable opportunity. I definitely consider myself much more open-minded and communicative from my time at Richmond. Being abroad generally increased my confidence and ambition to take on new challenges and get out further into the world. Now I have connections in London and friends from all over the country. I cannot put into words how much the friends I made have changed my life and the phenomenon that brought us all together for this semester abroad.

Chloe Goodman is majoring in Communication. She spent Fall, 2018 studying in London, England through AIFS. Chloe had the following to say about her time abroad, “Studying abroad is a one-of-a-kind experience. No one can prepare you for the friends you’ll meet, the sights you’ll see, and the memories that you’ll never forget.”

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