As a second year geography student, it was important to me that I attended a university where I would have the opportunity to continue with a variety of human and physical modules which helped aid in my decision to attend the University of North Carolina Wilmington for my semester abroad.

One of the reasons I ended up coming to the University of Southampton was because of the study abroad options offered and my experience did not disappoint. As someone who loves travelling and meeting new people, so being given the opportunity to do this as a study option for a few months of course I couldn’t let it pass me by.

Even though it’s generally not expected that there would be particularly noticeable cultural difference between the US and UK, sometimes I’d experience something or my friends would say something where I’d think that’s so strange and vice-versa. For example, at times there’d be a bit of a language barrier where we’d use different words for the same thing or some very strong country accents. Everything was definitely as American as could be expected (lots of flags, large food portions and big on sports) which for the most part I really enjoyed getting to experience. The city of Wilmington itself was so nice, with what I thought as the perfect combination of the beach and downtown for nights out. If possible, I would also recommend travelling to make the most of being in a whole new country as especially with America being so big, every city was so different.

My main tips to students wanting to take part in such opportunities in the future would be to have realistic expectations in terms of the fact that moving to a new country where you likely don’t know anyone is a difficult thing to do and therefore there might be times where you might regret going. But overall, as someone who almost didn’t follow through with going on a semester abroad all I can say is that it was such an amazing opportunity and I really did have the best time travelling to new places, making new friends and experiencing a different cultures both generally in the US and at American university.

Emma Symington 🙂

Semester Abroad Reflection

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