What I Expect from My Study Abroad Trip


Tower Bridge at sunset | Photo Credit: David Monaghan on Unsplash

Over the summer, I am granted the chance to study abroad in England. This opportunity is possible thanks to UIS’s Global Experience Program. At the start of the Summer ’22 semester, I will be taking a course centered around immigration and human trafficking. At the end of the summer, we will take a trip to the United Kingdom and Ireland and visit the campuses of Maynooth University and the University of Hull – both international partners of UIS.

The itinerary for this trip includes many attractions and hands-on learning opportunities – including the Irish Emigration Museum, the “Hogwarts Express Train” (actually called the North Yorkshire Moors Railway – no contributions to JK Rowling required!), and an opportunity to view an original copy of the Magna Carta in Lincoln Cathedral.

Even with these excursions, the thing I look forward to most is getting to stay on the campuses of Maynooth and Hull Universities and participating in the lectures there. It will be interesting to learn in a different environment than what I am used to here. Although I can learn about Irish history and culture as well as slavery under the British Empire on my own campus, I hope to examine different perspectives of those histories to better inform my own perspective.

Although I am excited to try a new learning environment, I cannot help but wonder about the angle of both the class and this trip. Immigration and human trafficking are heavy topics that involve many different perspectives and stories. I worry about taking in a “single story” that fails to explore the complexity of each period of history we may study, and how this still happens today.

Ultimately, I am going on this trip to dip my toes into the world of studying abroad. I have always dreamed of having an opportunity like this – I often envisioned myself reading in a grand gothic library or writing while sitting under a large tree on campus. Perhaps this experience will not look exactly like that, but I do anticipate being able to learn more about the way that I learn.