Why did you choose this program?
Aside from the fact that they offered courses beneficial to my degree, the University of Brighton offered many included field trips that were very enticing to me.
I was also drawn to this specific program by the town of Brighton, itself. With it's close proximity to a pebble beach and only an hour train journey to London, it seemed like the perfect location.
What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
Applying to the program was a bit more difficult for me than others. Since I did not have a USAC program at my school, I had to apply for National Student Exchange to the University of Las Vegas, Nevada, and then apply straight to the University of Brighton.
I was pretty much on my own throughout the whole process, but since I knew that I wanted to study specifically at Brighton through USAC, it wasn't a huge problem. I know that students who have the USAC program at their school have a pretty easy application process.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
Plan ahead and save! I knew that I wanted to study abroad several years before I actually applied to the program. In the years leading up to my application, I saved as much money as I could, and it definitely paid off. Having extra money to spend on a spontaneous trip to Wales with friends is so much more fun then staying home on the weekend.
Having the financial freedom to say yes to random activities and travels allowed me to take full advantage of my year abroad.
Unfortunately, I know of one girl in my program who signed up for the whole year, but didn't have the financial means to do so and left after the first semester. In order to get the most out of your time abroad, you need to save your money and go on as many adventures as you can!
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
An average week would probably have you going to school three out of the five school days. I only took the equivalent of 12 U.S. units per semester and would spend my downtime hanging out with friends, going to the beach and chilling at pubs. Brighton has a young demographic and a lot of nightlife so you definitely don't have any excuse to be bored!
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it and/or how did your views on the issue change?
My biggest fear was just doing something so independently. I felt like I had never been put so far out of my comfort before. Arriving in a new country where you don't know where to go, you don't have any friends yet and where nothing is familiar to you is very daunting. Luckily, once you get to your campus, you'll find approximately 30 other students feeling the exact same way! Bonding!
Also, after completing my year abroad, I can tell that I am a much more confident and assertive individual. Because I put myself out there and took the leap to study abroad, I now know how important it is to have that kind of bravery in my everyday life. I'm much more likely now to say yes to new adventures and challenges that once might've seriously intimidated me.
What's your favorite story to tell about your time abroad?
It's not so much of a story as it is an awesome fact. I went to Edinburgh, Scotland during my three week long Spring Break and stayed in the Castle Rock Hostel. First of all, yes our spring break was three weeks long and also yes, I would definitely recommend staying at the Castle Rock Hostel if you ever find yourself in Edinburgh.
Anyways, the Castle Rock Hostel holds a beer pong tournament every Saturday night and I can now literally say that I won a beer pong tournament in Scotland. My teammate was someone I didn't even know before the start of the tournament, but who for sure became my best friend when she threw the winning shot. My picture is now up on their "Wall of Champions" for 2016 beer pong tournaments, how cool is that!?