Melanie studied abroad in London, England.
Where did you go to school?
Brigham Young University, Class of 2005
Where and when did you study abroad?
I studied abroad May-June 2003 in London, England.
What program did you go on?
BYU London Study Abroad: Theater
What was the BEST part about studying abroad?
I loved seeing a place so different from the US. They spoke English so it wasn’t too scary. I visited historic sites, museums, watched 5-6 plays a week and ate delicious ice cream. Magnum ice cream-yum! I spent a weekend in Scotland, took many day trips around the country including Stratford upon Avon, Brighton, and Stone Henge. I saw so much culture and history and good shopping.
I loved their public transportation; the tube and buses are the best! I attended a local LDS church and was given an assignment each Sunday to help the children singing. I loved being engrossed in their culture. They are kind people and so diverse, many of the families were from Africa. I also made great friendships with my fellow students. A few of us still keep in touch 9 years later. I loved my time spent in London and hope to return again!
What was your BIGGEST challenge when studying abroad?
My biggest challenge was being so far from my now husband. We weren’t engaged yet. We had decided we would get married, but he told me he wouldn’t propose to me before I went, if I decided to go. I chose to go and called home often using phone cards that sometimes worked. The week I got home he flew to visit me in NJ and proposed. We were married 10 months later!
My other biggest challenge was managing expenses. Everything is so expensive there and the dollar was worth only half of the pound. I overdrew on my bank account on my last days there. Thankfully I’d hidden an extra twenty pounds in my sock drawer so I could get to the airport!
How did studying abroad help you?
I learned to value America and not to take advantage of all I know and have here. Even though the UK isn’t a struggling nation compared to so many others, I still got a better global view. I learned to appreciate the history in the world and at home. I learned to keep family close and that if you get too many hob nobs you’ll get fat :)
What have you been doing post studying abroad?
Since my study abroad I’ve graduated with a BA in Dance from BYU. I’ve lived in the desert of Utah, taught English in Taiwan (had amazing experiences), then returned to my roots in New Jersey. I currently teach dance and am a domestic diva with a growing family!
What’s your BEST piece of advice for someone who is thinking about studying abroad?
DO IT! If you can’t afford it, there are loans to help. This opportunity is a limited time offer. You won’t regret the adventures you’ll have. Start buying your souvenirs the first week there and take a million pictures. Keep a journal and respect the local traditions. Go get lost and find the hidden things in the area. Have fun!