By Claire Piepenburg

Studying abroad is one of the best experiences I’ve had as a student at SMU.  I spent the fall semester of my junior year attending King’s College, an academically notable university located right in the heart of London. I had a wonderful time, met some new friends and visited some amazing places. My faculty advisor and the staff in the SMU Study Abroad office helped me design my own program at a partner school, King’s, and worked with me to make sure all the credits would transfer for my History and Anthropology majors. I took phenomenal classes on ancient Greece, the life and times of Augustus Caesar, and early European history.  I lived in a flat with five other UK students who showed me where the best place to buy groceries was, how to figure out my bus routes and when to avoid the Tube. They came from different places across the country and shared with me their traditions, phrases, food, politics and culture. And in return, I did the same.

  In my spare time, I explored London and its wealth of museums and sights – from the world famous British Museum to the Victoria and Albert Museum, Westminster Abbey, the National Gallery and more – you could spend years sightseeing in the city alone! I also had the opportunity to travel with other students studying abroad from various U.S. colleges, which was a fun way to meet American students. I made some great friends that I still keep in contact with now, a year later. We traveled to Paris, Dover, Kent, Bath, Oxford and several other UK sites and did everything from sightseeing tours to hiking, canoeing, beer tasting and yes, shopping!

Even though I missed a lot of things about SMU while I was away – the friendly community, the beautiful tree-lined campus and of course, Mustang football – I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to travel abroad. Whenever anyone asks me about my experience, the first thing I do is recommend that they travel abroad – whether for the summer, a semester or a whole year. It’s a wonderful learning experience. Even now, it’s hard to fully imagine all of the history, culture and beauty that exists in virtually every single corner in Europe. Be careful – if you spend time abroad, you will want to go back!