Abaigail Catania , a senior in Agricultural Business Management, shares her experience studying abroad in England and interning abroad in Uganda.
How did I choose my program? I actually went on two different programs. The first program I took part in was The University of Westminster in London, England during fall of my junior year, 2016. I then went to Uganda with International Internship Programs to volunteer in the spring.
From my first time abroad my senior year in high school with my class I knew that I wanted to study abroad in London the first chance I got and being a Posse Scholar that meant the fall of my junior year. While I was there, I fell in love with the city and did not want to return. At that time, I received an email from IIP to apply for Uganda, and I knew it was fate.
How did I prepare to go abroad? Preparing to go abroad looked very different for both of my experiences. When going to London, I had my classes and housing set, my flight, and the proper clothing. All of the tangible things you have to do when going abroad. I did not feel nervous or scared to go to London because I had been twice before and I knew the city enough to feel comfortable, however, this was extremely different when I was preparing to go to Uganda. I was extremely nervous because I would be the only volunteer going from UW; I would be the only one there from the U.S. I would living with Sisters in a compound and overall navigating life in a brand new place. I was nervous because it was unfamiliar and I had all of these stereotypical views in my head from things I had heard and seen on tv and other things. The way I prepared for this was pushing my views aside and going in with an open and curious mind to learn about Africa, Uganda, Nkokonjeru as a continent, country, and village and the culture associated with each of the locations.
What was the academic experience like? London academics were extremely different than I was used to in the States. We only had class once a week for each class we were taking. The class was an hour-long lecture and a two-hour discussion with a different tutor. Because the classes were only once a week, I had a lot of down time to study, travel Europe, and enjoy London. While I was in Uganda, I took two online courses from UW. One was a cultural course that came along with the internship to better help myself and other students in the program in other countries talk through what we are experiencing and seeing. The other class I took was an online business class that I needed for my major. It was definitely difficult because of the time difference and with internet going out all the time, but I was able to make it work and do well in the class.
Most memorable moment? Honestly, I do not have a most memorable moment from either of my programs. I think both of my experiences have been my two of my most memorable experiences to date, and I do not think I could choose just one moment over the next.
Advice for future students? Go abroad, step out of your comfort zone, introduce yourself to strangers, take part in learning the culture and enjoy your time abroad. It will be an experience you will never forget.