Michelle studied on the IES: London, Health Practice & Policy Program in Fall 2016.
If you could give only one reason, why would you suggest other students study abroad?
Aside from being able to explore other cultures, studying abroad teaches you independence. I always considered myself to be an independent person, but after going abroad I realized how much I was able to do on my own now and how much newfound confidence I have. I learned a lot about myself and had an experience of a lifetime.
What concerns/fears did you have about studying abroad, and how did you overcome them?
I was nervous I would feel like I was missing out on different things going on at Penn State and I also feared that I would miss my family and friends. Meeting friends during study abroad was a lot easier than I thought it would be and my friends and I were always out doing different things when we weren’t doing homework. It was hard to be homesick when we were always doing something. Even though at times I did miss Penn State and my friends, I always kept in mind how fortunate I was to have this experience and I tried to live in the moment. There is always Facetiming and texting too, to keep in contact with people from home.
What was it about your program specifically that fit your personal goals over other programs?
I participated in the IES Health Practice and Policy program. As a Health Policy and Administration major and Political Science minor I felt as if the program fit me perfectly. I took classes that worked for my major and didn’t set me behind for graduation. I also got to hear about health systems from an international perspective and was able to participate in a field study in Jamaica as well as have a service learning placement in London.
Did you participate in any service projects while on your program? How did that enhance your study abroad experience?
While studying abroad I had a service learning placement at a cancer support center in a hospital in London. I got to learn about the differences in our health systems as well as how non-profits work in England. I felt like I was doing meaningful work and got to meet many different types of people that I wouldn’t have otherwise.