Sydney Levy, an SMU junior double-majoring in mathematics and education, spent a month abroad in London this summer on SMU’s London Communications Program. Here are her reflections on the program, living in Britain, and how she changed because of this unforgettable experience.
Majors: Math and Education
Semester Abroad: Summer 2018
Program Name/Location: London Communications Program
Why did you want to study abroad?
I have wanted to study abroad since I was very young. My mom used to tell me stories about going on Semester at Sea and how she was able to see the world, so I wanted to do the same. Also, after my brother studied abroad when he was in college, I got to see how much experiencing life in a new country impacted him. I wanted a chance to branch out and find new things I loved, make new friends, and just explore places I had never been before. I originally wanted to do a semester, but it did not work in my schedule so I chose to do a summer instead. I think this was a good amount of time for me and by the end of my trip I was ready to come home.
Does England have any challenging societal differences?
Because I chose to study in London, some things were very easy to adapt to, especially with no language barrier. However, because life in London is so centered around a fast moving city, similar to New York, I had to adjust to this. Growing up in a place where I would drive at least thirty minutes to go anywhere, having to walk anywhere I wanted to go was quite different. At first, I loved it because I was able to experience something completely different and I thought it was so much fun to see the city and even get lost in the many interesting areas. But, towards the end of my trip I began to get tired of walking everywhere and was overall just exhausted. Looking back on my time I definitely loved the city life, but I learned it is not something I could do forever.
Would you recommend the London Communications program to those interested in studying abroad?
Yes, I would definitely recommend going to study abroad in London. When I chose this program, I was nervous I would not like London because I am not a huge fan of New York. However, I fell in love with London; the people, the food, the city, it was all so much fun and interesting to experience. I think that the program was very geared towards political science and advertising majors, so I think if that is what your interested in, then it is a great program. I decided to do this program to get UC credits I needed and I still enjoyed them even though they are not my main interests. However, beyond just the classes, I think this program is designed for everyone because we had the opportunity to experience so much and see so many different things.
What new skill or strength did you gain while abroad?
While abroad, I really improved my sense of direction. I always found myself to be the person in my friend group leading the way, and by the end of the trip I was able to walk around parts of London without using a map. I was honestly very proud of this because when I travel with my family, they never let me be in charge of directions since my brother and my dad are very good at it. I think that I also became more adventurous and more willing to try new things. I loved trying all of the different foods in London and I learned that I enjoy many interesting foods that were new to me because of this.