Where in the World is VCU? Studying abroad in London

Can you start by telling me your full name, year and major?

My name is Emily Borst, I’m part of the class of 2019 and I’m a dual public relations and English major.


Where in the world are you this summer?

This summer, I studied abroad at the University of Westminster in London, England!

What led you to studying abroad?

I always knew I wanted to study abroad, and since I didn’t have a summer job or internship lined up this summer I knew that if I didn’t do it now, I would never have time again. As an English major, I always knew I wanted to study abroad in England; and when I found that the university I was looking into offered a Shakespeare class over the summer, I knew that I had found the right program for me.

Was this your first time away from home?

Sort of! I had never gone overseas or gone on an extended visit without anyone I was related to, so in that sense it was my first “big adventure” all by myself.


What was your experience like? Were you scared at first? How did you adjust to being in a different country?

I had the time of my life in London, though I was definitely petrified. As I said goodbye to my mom and went through security, I really thought about turning right around and staying in America. I said to myself that this was crazy and that I had no idea what I was about to do. I was so happy I didn’t listen to my fears, though! I had the time of my life and would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Adjusting to a different culture and country was definitely the most difficult part. I was really shell-shocked for a while, and the best way I found to combat that was just to keep pushing myself to experience new things and not to hide in my dorm room.  

What was your favorite part about studying abroad?

As cliche as it sounds, my favorite part of studying abroad was the place. I woke up every day in a place I had dreamed about going for pretty much my entire life, and every day brought a new adventure. I mean, when you wake up and your view is of the London skyline, how can you NOT be excited about where you are?

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What did you learn from this experience?

I learned that there is a huge, huge world out there and I have seen so little of it – and I want to see as much of it as I can. I had the opportunity to visit Amsterdam in the Netherlands and Wales during the three weeks, and traveling to both of those places only fed into my newly-discovered travel obsession. I learned that I want to see the world (as cliche as that is) and soak in every new experience that I can get.

Do you have any advice for anyone hoping to study abroad?

My advice for anyone looking to study abroad is to just do it – I found that if I thought about it too long, I would start to psych myself out of it and begin to convince myself why it wasn’t a good idea. Deciding to just apply, buy the plane ticket and get on the plane without overthinking it definitely saved me. Other than that, I would say research your options and have a solid idea of where you want to go. I spent three months just researching programs, different locations and different schools to figure out what was the best fit for me. Remember, you’re doing this not only to further your education, but to experience an entirely new place.

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