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CAPA Alum Interview: Zachary Nussbaum

Jun 24, 2013 12:16:00 PM / by Stephanie Sadler

During the Fall semester of 2012, Zachary studied abroad with CAPA International Education in London, a city that was already familiar to him from previous travels. Living there and completing an internship gave him a great perspective of life in this global city and allowed him to have some memorable interactions and experiences which he tells us about below.

CAPA World: Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
Zachary Nussbaum: I grew up in Highland Mills, New York, which is a small town an hour north of New York City in New York's Hudson Valley region. I am currently a junior at Clark University in Worcester, MA. My major is Sociology.

CW: Where and when did you study abroad with CAPA International Education?
ZN: I studied abroad with CAPA International Education during the Fall 2012 semester in London, United Kingdom.

CW: Why did you decide to study abroad and why specifically London?
ZN: I knew that I was going to study abroad before I even applied to college. I've been fortunate enough to travel to other countries in my lifetime as a tourist, so having the opportunity to live and study abroad was one that I simply couldn't pass up. I chose to study abroad in London for several reasons. I had been there before and loved it; English is spoken there; it's an extremely multicultural and diverse city; the amount of history there is incredible; and I have friends there.

CW: Tell us about your first impressions of London and any that changed by the time you went home. What surprised you most about your host country?
ZN: My first impressions of London were its jumbled street plan (I tried very hard to get lost early on), and its extremely crowded streets-especially during rush hour. My feelings about London's street plan changed significantly by the time I went home since by that point I felt comfortable enough to get to almost any locale of the city. My feelings about how crowded London can be did not change. What surprised me the most about London was just how easy the public transportation system is. When I had first gone to London I became familiar with the Tube, but after living there for a significant period of time I realized how easy the bus and Overground rail system are as well.

CW: What were the biggest challenges you faced in adapting to your host country?
ZN: The biggest challenge I felt while adapting to London was just getting around-London is an extremely large city and figuring out where things and placed are and how to get there was difficult early on.

CW: Did you have a chance to interact with the local community? If so, tell us about one interaction that stood out for you.
ZN: I did some volunteering while I was abroad in London as part of my internship, which was a great chance to interact with Londoners. While helping to paint rooms at a community center, I had a great conversation with a man whose daughter was considering going to university in America. He asked me a bunch of questions about colleges and universities in America, and while answering them I felt like I was giving this man a positive image of Americans.

CW: What were your favorite classes and why? Did you participate in any MyEducation events?
ZN: My favorite class was British History in the Twentieth Century, mostly because I found the history of the northern Ireland fascinating. I participated in a few MyEducation events, my favorite of which was the Curry Night in Brick Lane - some of the best food I had my whole time in London!

CW: Tell us about your internship. What were your main tasks?
ZN: My internship was at a charity called Hands On London, which networks volunteers to opportunities across London. I did a lot of back-end administrative/management work, most of which I could do remotely - an entirely new experience for me. I also lead volunteers at various sites. Overall, while working remotely was something different for me, the internship met my expectations and I found it to be a good experience.

CW: What have you been up to since you returned to the US? Do you feel that your experience with CAPA contributed or will contribute to your success in starting your career?
ZN: Since returning to the U.S., I have resumed my studies at Clark University. I feel that my internship experience at Hands On London will be helpful as I look for future internship and employment opportunities, since I learned a lot about Excel and social media marketing that I don't think I would learned otherwise.

CW: What did your study abroad experience teach you about yourself and those around you?
ZN: My study abroad experience taught me that I can adjust very well and very quickly to new environments, and that it is easy to give others a positive image of America - just show them kindness.

Thanks Zachary!

Topics: London, England, CAPA Alumni, Interviews