Give us an intro!
Here is Allison Knapp, a junior Human Services major at the University of Delaware, from Springfield, NJ. She is a fan of traveling, scrunchies, tea, tweeting, and of course, London. You can find her at Harrods, the Camden Market, or with her friends in the CAPA building.
What is the most important thing you learned abroad?
The most important thing I learned from studying abroad is that everything does not have to go as planned- just go with the flow. I am a person that loves routines, consistency, and planning.
However, that was difficult to do in London. My friends and I took each day one step at a time, finding new opportunities every hour and just running with them. For example- after class one day, my two friends and I decided to walk down the street and wait for Dutchess Kate to arrive at the museum. We waited for 3 hours in the cold, but it was one of my favorite experiences there.
We did not plan to go, but just went. Going abroad has taught me that everything will be okay, that I do not have to plan every single thing, and that stepping out of your comfort zone is good.
What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?
YES! DO IT! YOU GOTTA! There will be no other time in your life that you can travel Europe (or wherever else) for four months, with some of the coolest people you'll ever meet. Why not study abroad? You will be able to learn so much about a different culture, different people, and see some of the most beautiful places in the whole entire world.
Going abroad has given me some amazing friends, memories, pictures, and life lessons. Yes, change is scary, I know that. And I know that traveling some thousand miles from home is even scarier, but you will make a new home. You will not feel that far away.
Home, wherever, will always be there- and so will your friends from home, your classes, etc. You will never have the opportunity again to travel like this, with little obligations, and have the time of your life. Do it. I dare you.
What's your favorite story to tell about your time abroad?
Hmm...this is difficult. My favorite story would probably be when my roommate Kerri and I somehow wound up at the first annual BBC Music Awards in Kensington, right down the street from our class building.
So, Kerri and I and our two other friends decided to go to the award show for a little after class, just to see the red carpet and catch a glimpse of the back of the heads of some celebrities we probably couldn't name. On the way, we saw two men selling tickets to let us into the show. I know, this sounds totally sketchy and we shouldn't buy them, but we did. However, we made sure the tickets were legit and that they could get us in.
Since it was the last weekend of the semester, neither Kerri nor I had a ton of money left into our accounts. We tried to withdraw some, but we each did not have the amount we needed. After bargaining with the men, somehow, Kerri and I got ourselves in, waited on line, and ended up seeing Ed Sheerhan, Ellie Goulding, George Ezrea, Clean Bandit and 10+ others perform on stage. Truly a night to remember.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
Always do what makes you happy. If you enjoy art, go to all of the free museums London has to offer. If you enjoy nature, to explore some of the most beautiful parks in the world. If you like traveling, try to see as many other countries as possible. I learned while abroad that you can truly make your experience your own.
I enjoy volunteering, and was able to volunteer at a super cool charity event with a club through Imperial College. I also enjoy sunsets, and made sure I saw several, even though my friends had enough after the first one. No matter what, this is your experience, so do what you want with it. You will not have the same opportunity ever again, and I am forever grateful I was able to study abroad in London for the semester.