Studying English from the English

Who: Leah Gibson, English Literature major

Where: University of Kent, Canterbury, England

Leah has been in the UK for several months and is already referring to her time living and studying abroad as a life changing experience. She is taking classes in English Literature and “loving every minute of it” saying that it allows her to put the material taught in class and from her readings into perspective.  How so? Well, for example, she took a class trip to London for her Victorian Charles Dickens course to visit his the first house he owned.

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When asked how her host university differed from Trent she said it really didn’t.   It is the new opportunities that the University of Kent is providing that have made her current time in the UK so memorable.  She highlights the wide range of campus clubs (they have a tea drinking club!), social events and the many ways to get involved and meet new people while abroad.  “Trent is an amazing school, but what makes it even more amazing is that it provides you with the experience to experience even more amazing schools.”

She has plans to take advantage of the opportunity to travel within Europe while she is in the UK with trips planned to France, Ireland, Germany and Denmark.  She has already visited Scotland, London and Canterbury.

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The idea of studying abroad and travelling to a foreign country alone can be daunting for many students.  Leah said that this was something that she was nervous about at first but soon found that being from another country has provided many opportunities for her.  She says “it [has been] amazing to find how friendly people are and willing to take you around because you aren’t from their country!” She has become friends with many other international students from all over the world.  She says the International Department at Kent organizes free social trips for exchange students such as a trip to Leeds Castle.  She has found it easy to stay in contact with people back home saying that “sometimes you may get homesick but technology allows you to talk to friends and family…if anything you grow even closer being miles away as you have so many stories to share!”

We asked her what advice she would give to Trent students considering a study abroad.  Her first words were: “DO IT!”  She says that at some points during the process she “thought [she] would never get [t]here” but she is so happy she followed through with her study abroad.   She has “met so many great friends, and learned and experienced so many things” that have made the process worth it.  Her last piece of advice; “If your heart is telling you to do it, I think you should at least try. You definitely will not regret it.”

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