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Study Abroad and Domestic Study Away

Notes from Abroad: Zoe in England

Zoe Walts, who majors in Neuroscience and minors in French, is studying at the University of Chester

I’ve been living in Northern England for a month now, and it is just as rainy as everyone says. But I don’t mind it too much; I just warm up with a hot cup of tea! I’ve had so many new experiences since coming to Chester. Besides the difficulties of adjusting to a different academic style, the biggest struggle here has been being away from home. It’s a tough balance to stay connected with friends and family at home while also living in the moment. But all of the people I’ve met in England have been kind. Everyone is happy to talk to me about what it’s like to be an American in the United Kingdom.

Nothing can really prepare you for what it’s like to live abroad. Before this trip, I had only been out of the country one time. I’m grateful that I’m in an English-speaking country, but even so, it can be difficult to communicate when I encounter words or phrases that aren’t used in the US. I’ve had some challenges so far. I’ve struggled to navigate Chester’s winding roads, I’ve almost taken the wrong train to Liverpool more times than I’d like to admit, and I’ve consistently handed cashiers Euros instead Pounds – they look the same to me! On top of that, they drive on the wrong side of the road here, so even crossing the street becomes difficult! But all of this is worth it to see the sun rise over the century-old walls surrounding the city. Even the shopping mall in the city centre is built on the foundation of Roman ruins. These are the kinds of things that I have to come to Europe to see. Facing daily challenges, no matter how small or large, has already helped me to become more adaptable..

Since the beginning of my college search, I’ve known that I wanted to spend a semester abroad, and I’m infinitely grateful for those who have made this once in a lifetime opportunity a reality. Being in new situations is helping me to grow into a better person, and the experiences I’m having will turn into priceless memories.