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Student Blog: Mackenzie's Guide to Study Abroad

The best time of your life!

Student Blog: Mackenzie's Guide to Study Abroad

Study Abroad!!! One of my favorite things to talk about!! I studied abroad in Oxford in the summer of 2019 and it was truly one of the best experiences of my life! In fact, I liked it so much that I decided to move to London after I graduated! Well... that's not exactly how that went down, BUT that's more-or-less the story!

Study abroad is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and if you are given the opportunity, I highly encourage you to take it! As a theatre student, I would recommend trying to find a summer program, just so that you don't miss any of your formal training or school's season! Being over the summer does mean that summer stock can get a bit tricky, but honestly you have the rest of your life to do summer stock, go study abroad and see the world while you have no real responsibilities! AND while you're at it, knock out some general education credits! During my semester, I took one of my required religion classes, Christian Heritage, which is a class that a lot of people at Baylor dread, but, taking it in England where a majority of that history took place, was honestly so cool!

Not only is going abroad an absolute blast, but it also teaches you a lot of valuable life lessons. It teaches you independence, problem solving skills, cultural competency, time management, and how to live in the moment. Learning how to navigate a new city on the other side of the world is quite a feat. If you thought you had independence when you moved away for school, then study abroad goes above and beyond. This independence teaches problem solving skills, sometimes in very high pressure situations. Sometimes your phone decides to not work and you're lost in the middle of London and don't know how to get home. Nothing will force you to become aware of your surroundings faster. I know for me, one of the biggest learning curves in England was the Tube and train systems. Once you learn to navigate around your new city, you're golden.

I cannot emphasize enough how important cultural competency is. We had to take a module in this during my trip, and at first I didn't fully understand why it was necessary, but now actually living over here, it makes total sense. There are so many day-to-day things that we do differently in the states than everywhere else. Everywhere you go has its own culture, and it is really important to be cognizant and respectful of that. That being said, I still find myself questioning if it's ok for me to be using British slang after living here for three months... so it's a never ending battle.

Time management is a skill that is built, at least for me. When I did study abroad, I had to make sure that I was giving myself enough time to actually do my classwork, but also had enough time to explore and live my best life abroad. That breakdown will look different for everyone, but at the end of the day, it is so important that you don't spend your entire trip doing homework. The 'abroad' is just as important as the 'study.'

And finally, living in the moment. This one is arguably one of the most important lessons I learned while overseas. It is so easy to spend these trips through the lens of your camera, or with your nose in a book, but these experiences are ones that you will never get again. Cherish them and make the most of your time abroad. It is truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

I look back on my time in Oxford as some of the best days of my life. If I could give one recommendation for how to maximize your college experience, it would be to study abroad. It will be an experience that you cherish for the rest of your life, and the life lessons that come along with it are invaluable. I remember how scared I was to move away from home for college, and then how scared I was to go overseas by myself for an extended amount of time. Sometimes what scares us the most can lead to some of the best things in life. So take that plunge and do things that scare you! I promise you, it's worth it!

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From This Author - Student Blogger: Mackenzie Elisa

Born in Clearwater, FL, Mackenzie recently graduated from Baylor University with her BFA in Theatre Performance, Concentration in Musical Theatre, and a Minor in History. 

She is current... (read more about this author)

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