Living on a busy street in London was never dull. A ten-minute walk from Oxford Street, a five-minute walk from the British Museum, and a pub on every corner, there isn’t much more I could of asked for.
London has a beautiful way of being distinctly English, whilst (yes, I now regularly use whilst in my vocabulary) simultaneously being a hub of a mixture of people and culture from all around the world. Whilst doing anthropological research for one of my classes, I toured different parts of London in order to grasp how it has changed and saw how diverse and transformational it is, whilst still holding onto the tradition that attracts so many people to it.
I did everything that is stereotypically British from multiple tea times a day, to pub beers in the evening, to making sure I made no eye contact on the tube. However, I also spent my weekends in museums, had the privilege of living with incredible people, spent way too much money on biscuits and gin, and went to phenomenal cocktail bars on the weekends.
London is known for being one of the biggest and most exciting cities in the world and it truly changed my life. I also had the privilege of spending my reading week in Edinburgh, my Easter break in Munich, Barcelona, and Florence, and jetting off to Scandinavia, Paris, and Amsterdam to celebrate being done exams.
Studying at University College London was one of the most rewarding experiences of my university career. Although the British system is different than the North American one and took some adjusting to, it was amazing to learn new theory, take medical anthropology courses I couldn’t take at UTM at a school ranked second in the world for my field of study, and be taught by world renowned professors. As well, through being in a new academic setting it was an opportunity to attend seminars and events that allowed me to further understand my academic and personal passions and explore new avenues for graduate studies.
One of my fondest moments from my classes was sitting in a tutorial, with the topic centering on geographical and cultural landscapes and having almost every person in the room share a different part of the world they were from and hearing and learning from their anthropological perspective of that place. It has bettered my understanding of my field of study, as well as my perspective of the world to be able to study alongside a diverse group of peers.
This experience also taught me how interconnected academia is. I was studying and being taught by people from all over the world, who have also studied all over the world, and I think this opportunity prepared me more realistically for the future competiveness of academia, but also allowed me to understand that studying and working internationally is popular, and is beneficial.
It helped solidify the areas that I’m passionate about studying and made me understand that my studies are applicable on such a larger scale. Studying at UTM and the faculty and classes I have taken so far here made me fall in love with what I study. Studying these things at UCL was an extension to this.
I truly believe I am a more well rounded, knowledgeable, and prepared student for academia. My knowledge base has grown tremendously, my academic repertoire in terms of experiences in research and assessments has multiplied, my connections with academics has grown, and I now am even more committed to what I study, but I have more direction and a broader vision of where I will go with this.
Studying abroad was most definitely one of the highlights of my university experience.