In January 2017 two new staff members, Emma and Jemma, joined the Study Abroad team at UEA. Here are their own study abroad experiences and how they ended up working for our Study Abroad Office.
I studied American History and Politics at UEA between 2009 and 2013. In my third year (2011/12) I had the opportunity to study abroad at Temple University in Philadelphia. Being local to Norwich, Philadelphia was a very different environment with high homelessness rates, violence and gun crime. However, this did not hinder my experience. Temple University prides itself on teaching students about ethnic studies and the real value of the American dream. I was able to study classes that I would not otherwise have the chance to at UEA including learning about the experiences and history of Asian Americans and Puerto Ricans. It was fascinating being in a class of students from different backgrounds and listening to their opinions of these groups and how they have been perceived; very different from a British point of view. One example (which later inspired my dissertation) was discussing how speaking / learning Spanish is perceived in America and particular in Philadelphian society. Many class-mates learning Spanish shared that family members and friends had questioned their choice of language due to the association with Mexicans. Whereas, in Britain, many students want to learn Spanish over other languages as they want to visit the country and it is widely spoken across the world.
Living at Temple University I lived on a global floor where I was able to make friends from across the world including Germany, China, Taiwan, South Korea and of course Americans. Again, it was interesting learning about our different cultures, I enjoyed the many conversations where we shared the many similarities we have. A few years later I met up with many of my Temple Friends, including visiting Taiwan and spending Chinese New Year with my friend’s family. This experience will hopefully show the many different opportunities you will get and to never say no. Taiwan is a country I would have never thought about visiting and yet it has been one of my favourite travelling destinations.
This experience has led me to the Study Abroad Office and supporting more students to join in on the amazing opportunity. My favourite part of my role is speaking to students and hearing about their plans.
Studying abroad has given me the travelling bug and I now take any opportunity to travel, including many cities across Europe, South East Asia and later this year I will be visiting China.
I studied French and Linguistic Science at the University of York. It was a four year degree with a mandatory year abroad in Europe. Initially I was very worried about leaving the comfort of the UK and going abroad, going to University was already a big step! However, it was part of my degree and therefore I got on with my application! I applied to take part in the British Council Language Assistant programme and I was assigned to a small and remote boarding school in Marvejols, Lozere. I was very anxious that this certainly wasn’t in a city… barely even a town, but I soon learned that you have to feel awkward to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Before going on my year abroad my French was one of the lowest in my year, but when I returned due to the remoteness of my placement my French had improved so much that I was now top of the class. My period in France helped me with my confidence, it taught me problem solving which in turn has helped me with interviews; I also learnt how to put a positive spin on anything. I have to say that seven months spent abroad changes how you view the world. Before I lived in France I hated coffee and cheese, but now they’re two of my favourite things. These experiences opened the world for me and after graduating I did a CELTA course and spent another two years living in France. Now I’m working at the Study Abroad Office at UEA as an administrator. I work with students going to Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Japan and I’m passionate about helping students push their comfort zones and open the world out to them!
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on studying abroad through UEA.