Conversations on Studying Abroad

How The 'Field Study' Aspect of CAPA Academics Enrich My Study Abroad Experience

Dec 2, 2019 9:08:00 AM / by Makenna Sturgeon

Curious about what CAPA London courses are like? In this blog, Makenna shares a few ways her courses have brought her out of the classroom and into the global city of London-- from the Tate Modern to Brick Lane in East London.

I’ve found that one of my favorite elements of studying abroad is the field study portion of class. CAPA’s classes are fairly small and very interactive. Most weeks, I exchange my time in at least one class for a walking tour of a new neighborhood or a discussion in Tate Modern. These field studies offer the opportunity to engage with material more thoroughly and become acquainted with my new city in ways that I never thought possible.

This week, my Analyzing the Global City class engaged in a Southbank walking tour. We explored the Christmas market, stopping to smile at different food vendors and try vegan hot chocolate or donuts, explored Gabriel’s Wharf, and walked along the Thames. This portion of the tour blended some seasonal fun into a class that gave us insight into one of the most important areas and art galleries in London, Tate Modern, and the heritage that can be traced through the different architecture along this portion of the Thames. We also explored a building I’d never heard of: The Oxo Tower. Aside from exploring the gallery on the lower level, we were taken to the top floor for a beautiful view of London that seemed like a local secret.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Fall2019_London_MakennaSturgeon_Academics_photo1Me exploring the Christmas Market on my Southbank walking tour.


CAPAStudyAbroad_Fall2019_London_MakennaSturgeon_Academics_photo3-1View of and from the Oxo Tower by the Thames.

The field studies I’ve participated in during my courses have strengthened my connection to London significantly. While on these trips, I tend to find new destinations to explore or historical individuals to research. While on my trip to Brick Lane, I saw a vintage market that we didn’t have time to explore during class but became one of my favorite thrifting locations in London. And thanks to my modern art class, I can lead the way to my favorite Francis Bacon portrait in Tate Britain or Rothko room in Tate Modern.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Fall2019_London_MakennaSturgeon_Academics_photo4Zehra and Caroline exploring on the Southbank walking tour.

With courses that give me the opportunity to see the city with Londoners, I’ve become at home in this place. I feel like a local and am comfortable showing friends and family around then they come visit. Now, I will forever be able to say that I lived in London and can fathom coming back to live long term.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Fall2019_London_MakennaSturgeon_Academics_photo5Danielle and Gabby standing in front of the Skate Park after learning that it partnered with the Southbank Center to renovate and how it represents community.

Academics in London have proven manageable, as most of my graded work consists of participation and research papers that I have weeks to work on. The field studies are aimed at creating a foundation for the papers that I write, and I find that they give me some extra inspiration when I have writers block. The long courses were challenging to adapt to when I began because I’m accustomed to 50 minute class periods, and that was about when my brain stopped wanting to pay attention. Field study days are always a treat for this reason. It’s much easier to stay engaged when exploring a new part of London. 

CAPA and the instructors ensure that what’s happening in the classroom translates to what’s going on in the city. I am reminded of the significance of London in the world and the importance of its globality. While I’m still working to achieve what I would at home, academics seem much easier here because I’m not only writing about what I research, but what I see on a daily basis. I am excited to go to class on most days because I know that I’ll get the chance to explore with an expert.

Thanks, Makenna!

Makenna Sturgeon


Makenna Sturgeon is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2019, sharing her story in frequent posts on CAPA World. A Journalism major at University of Colorado Boulder, she is studying abroad in London this semester.

Makenna's journey continues all semester so stay tuned.

New Call-to-action

Topics: London, England, International Education