Hometown: Richmond, Virginia, USA
About: George Mason University Student
"I traveled to the UK to study public health for two weeks in January. During my time overseas, I visited London, Oxford, Southampton and Winchester England. Before taking this course and discovering public health, I was not that familiar with the field. All that I knew was that it had something to do with medicine. I was also hoping that it would strengthen my knowledge before entering the healthcare field. Prior to this experience, I had never truly been abroad, especially on my own. While the purpose of this trip was academic, I felt that I had spent an equal amount of time adjusting to the culture.
While England in a way helped America reach its existence, the two countries are nothing alike. This completely shocked me…Yes, they have British accents and drive on opposite sides of the road, but that was a small factor of the culture that surprised me. The English society was not always displaying royalty as I had pictured from television or movies. Also, it was always cloudy or raining. The people were friendly, but constantly on the move; specifically, in cities such as London and Oxford. These areas had a Times Square vibe, except they were much cleaner including the public transportation. There were also many immigrant families who had relocated as refugees or that settled in England after colonization from India, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and various countries in Europe. Due to the cultures that were represented, I had amazing food in the UK from all over the world.
We had a ferry ride on the River Thames, we walked through the House of Parliament, St. Paul’s Cathedral, rode the London Eye, visited the Royal College of Physicians and many schools within the University of Oxford, we toured Westminster Abbey, The Bodleian Library (where they filmed Harry Potter), a HIV and sexual health clinic, the Science Museum, and so much more. The scenery in England was phenomenal! They have buildings and monuments that have stood for thousands of years…simply beautiful. One of my favorite experiences that I am sure is a tradition in the English culture was the large markets that they held on Sundays. People would come and buy food, clothes, and handmade gifts. The atmosphere was relaxing and folks were the most kind here.
Overall this was the most unique experience I have had, but it was worth it. Since my trip to England, I have decided to pursue a graduate degree in public health and have since been accepted into graduate school. If it wasn’t for the courage that I gained to step outside of my comfort zone, I would have never been introduced to the next step in my career. You should never let fear of the unknown stop you from moving forward with life, and you never know how something could benefit you if you fail to take that chance!"