Since my freshman year of high school, I dreamt about being able to study abroad. Eagerly wanting to study abroad, I spoke to my advisor my freshman year and she advised that I wait until my junior year and so I did. In the meantime, I visited the study abroad portal several times so I could see what my option might look like in the future and there was plenty! Fast forward to the fall semester of my junior year, I tried to talk myself out of studying abroad. I was telling myself things like “You do not have any money saved up, it would be last minute, it is too late, your parent will not agree” etc. However, while clicking on the different study abroad programs I made the solid decision that I will study abroad no matter what.
I am a psychology major with a minor in criminal justice wanting to pursue the path of Forensic Psychology. UTC does not have a set path, major, or minor for my future career choice, which is a bummer, so I based my program of choice on whether they had a class on Forensic Psychology and luckily the University of Roehampton did. Session one of Roehampton’s summer abroad program offered a class called the Psychology of Murder and I signed up immediately.
Months turned into weeks, weeks turned into days, days turned into hours, hours into minutes, minutes into seconds and suddenly, I arrived into the crisp cool morning air of London, England and I could not wait for the adventure I would have. When I arrived at Roehampton University, I was not expecting the campus to be so beautiful. It was like the campus was built in a park so many pods, gardens and buildings have been well kept.
I had class Monday through Thursday from 9:30 AM to 1:00 PM. The class was set up to where every day would be a different lecturer, and there were designated days for field trips that had to do with the psychology of murder. I remember being so fascinated and in awe whenever I was in class because there were just some things that I truly did not know and was not aware of. I learned so many things that helped me get a basic understanding of my future career, and it gave me a step through the door. Our class was the biggest among all the classes offered for the summer program, and I had enjoyed having discussions and hearing what everyone else had to say.
There were so many of us, there were people from Australia that was in our class Alaska, Hong Kong, Canada, California, Utah and even New York. I enjoyed listening to how their everyday life was in their country or their states learning about their background, ethnicity, and culture wise. I think it was just a great opportunity to learn more about people.
Thursdays through Sundays were the days that I was able to explore and visit different sites and attractions in London. I was very nervous because I did not understand how the public transportation system, the rail system, or the underground system worked. There were many times when I was just confused and a little lost because I did not have data the first four days of being there, but every time I went somewhere it was beautiful. I saw the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and Kensington Palace, which is very beautiful by the way.
I am a foodie, so I visited the Camden market and the Borough Market, and I enjoyed it; there were so many foods from so many ethnic backgrounds. It was just one big melting pot in those markets, and the vendors were sweet and nice.
I remember during one of the walking tours for our class field trip, there was this pond, and out of all the places in London that was my favorite place. It was calming, even though a tragedy happened around that pond area, I was baffled by God’s creation. It was silent, you could see the trees reflecting in the water it was different and amazing. I was so used to seeing everyone being busy, but there it was still, and sometimes I need stillness in my life.
I did feel a little unprepared when I went to London. I did not have enough money saved up, and so I would recommend to other students to budget; London is very expensive, so get whatever is necessary but also have fun. I am not a social butterfly, and so during the weekdays, I stayed in my dorm room which I regretted because there could have been so many things that I could have seen had I not stayed inside. I truly recommend that students explore, there are so many free things in London that you can visit so if you are going to London write your list down because surely there will be time for you to go.
Overall, because of the Gilman scholarship and UTC, I was able to have this experience. If there were a chance, I would return to London. It was an experience that I never had before, and because of it I have new memories and new friends.
Chelcy Deslorges (BS Psychology) spent the Summer 2023 semester studying abroad in London, Englnad through a direct enroll at the University of Roehampton. Chelcy had the following to say about studying abroad, “Sometimes, the best things do not come from planning ahead, but instead having faith and in the spur of the moment. So do not discourage yourself, take that step!”
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