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3 Ways Study Abroad Helps You See the World Through a New Lens

Oct 1, 2018 10:26:34 AM / by Christopher Halka

Christopher Halka

Christopher Halka is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2018, sharing his story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An Accounting major at Siena College, he is studying abroad in London this semester.

In this week's post, Christopher reveals three ways he's noticed his perspectives on school, life, and his own abilities had changed since beginning his CAPA London program. 

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So far, as I have completed roughly one quarter of the London Program, I have been fully immersed in the hustle and culture in one of the biggest cities in the entire world. My experiences both inside and outside of the classroom have given me a new inspiration of what it means to be a student. It has been a world of difference compared to my experience back at my university in the United States.

Me at StonehengeMe at Stonehenge

Going to school in upstate New York you often find yourself with a lot of free time on your hands and very few creative or adventurous outlets depending on the season; four months of the year there is permanent snow on the ground with constant winds and freezing temperatures. During these long winter months last year, I developed a habit of playing video games so much that it eventually cut into my study time for my classes. Back in my environment at school I often found myself in a cycle where I would be comfortable with not putting my best foot forward when came time to study for tests. My grades were reflective of my efforts, they were enough to meet my scholarship requirements, but they ultimately haven’t been what I have been striving for each semester (which is straight A’s). Now, my outlook towards classes is forever changing, so here are 3 areas where  I've seen my perspective changing this semester, and where yours might too!

1. You get a new perspective on what you're actually capable of.

My newfound ability to effectively manage living in a foreign country, take classes, and work twenty hours a week has given me a new perspective on what I am capable of. Although I am only a few weeks into the London Program, by the end of the semester my perspective on both my environment and my studies will be one of a completely changed person. Tasks that would once phase me at school and require careful consideration will seem like a world of difference, compared to my time in London.

Outside Buckingham PalaceMe and my flatmates outside Buckingham Palace

2. You update and improve your critical thinking process.

The peak moment of my arrival week was when I happened to stumble upon members of the Royal Family while casually strolling around Westminster. During our second night, some of my flatmates and I decided to take the tube to Covent Garden to casually stroll about the area and have a more relaxed time, taking in all the sights and historical buildings that London has to offer. As I was walking up to one building, I happened to notice a lot of commotion as there was a crowd of paparazzi idly standing outside an exit surrounded by barricades; so we decided it'd be a good idea to see what all the fuss was about. Within five minutes of standing around, two cars pulled up alongside the exit, one black Range Rover SUV and a black Jaguar Coupe following it. It was at this point that all the paparazzi began capturing the moment everyone had been waiting for.

London Skyline outside from the O2 ArenaLondon Skyline outside from the O2 Arena.

3. You can gain the confidence to take the lead in conversations

I have noticed already that I catch myself frequently leading my classes at CAPA in conversation, and asking my Professors pressing questions that will make them stop and pause to think about, which is something I struggled with greatly back at my home university. Having both figuratively and literally taken a few big steps outside of my comfort zone, it’s allowed me to realize that if I can handle the task of finishing out this semester, then the sky's the limit for me.

Inside Brixton MarketInside Brixton Market

Although I still do have a lot of work and time on my hands I am taking each day with a newfound enthusiasm, because ultimately my study abroad experience is eventually going to come an end, and when it does I will be forever grateful for the time I spent pushing myself to new limits. I hope you enjoyed this post and will continue reading to follow along with me as I ultimately discover my potential and purpose this semester!

Thanks, Christopher!

Christopher's journey continues every Friday so stay tuned.

Learn More about the CAPA London Program

Topics: London, England, Why Study Abroad