After 2 years of delays and questioning whether I would ever get abroad, I honestly had no expectations going into this program. I wasn’t sure, at this point in my college career how it would change me or what it would be like since I had no references from students who have gone in the last 2 year. Nevertheless, I have always known study abroad was something I had to do. The cultural competency it offers, along with the push for adapting to a new environment were skills I knew I wanted to obtain. What I did know, was I wanted to get a change in perspective of the world and be able to see it differently than through an American lens– and that is something I have definitely been able to do.
On a personal level, I have gained a much greater appreciation for the diversity and public offerings a city like London provides. Being one of the most diverse cities in the world, I have never been exposed to so many cultures, religions, identities, and backgrounds all intermingling and embracing together. I can walk down a street and pass by 30 different languages being spoken in one walk. From a food tour of all the food options in Chinatown, to learning about the communities constantly coming and going through the East End, to experiencing the city during Pride month, it has been a beautiful display of how millions of different people can enjoy each other’s differences and exist peacefully. I have heard many phrase the environment, and I wholeheartedly as “being in the whole world at once.” This has surpassed my expectations for going abroad, because while I wanted to experience a culture different than my own, I am experience hundreds of different ones, expanding my cultural competency beyond my wildest dream.
This level of diversity has translated to a change in my professional perspective as well. Entering the program, I had set the same expectations I hold for all professional experiences: improved communication, leadership, adaptability, etc. Being in a city with such a wide array of backgrounds and ideas flowing, I have come to understand how crucial diversity in ideas in the workplace is to the business world. This is what truly makes London a global city, because of its invitation for others from around the world to come and share their ideas and contribute them to the community. This is now an element I will look for in the values of future employers and want to further understand how this has impacted their businesses.
Academically, these considerations have made me a more critical thinker that I believe will translate to the classroom. This will create better analyses of case studies, consulting projects, and research papers, ultimately producing more sound and feasible solutions for my work. Thanks to my classes, critical thinking has been required for my assignments, and was another skill I had not anticipated being able to practice at such a level in London.