Intern Feature – Ashley Pinnel

Thursday, December 6th, 2012|Advice, Elexu Team Posts|by AshleyPinnell

Today’s post is written by Elexu intern Ashley who is from California. She writes about studying abroad and why she wanted to do it.

I was eleven years old when I first knew that I wanted to study abroad.  My older sister was spending a semester in Madrid and my family visited her during that time.  At that moment I realized what it meant to feel comfortable in another country and I saw my American sister acting and showing us around Spain like a local. Fast-forward nine years and here I am sitting in London, spending my own semester abroad. I have been given this amazing opportunity to live, study, and work in the most diverse and amazing city.

With all of Europe right across the channel, I have been able to travel to Croatia, Sweden, Denmark and Scotland. In the same distance I would normally travel from San Francisco to San Diego I can now get from London to Zurich. I truly believe that every student if given the opportunity should spend a semester abroad. It has helped make me more independent and I have more confidence in my capabilities. Also you Europeans don’t know the meaning of a long drive, you think two hours is long.

Only about 1% of undergraduate students in the United States study abroad. Not surprisingly, The United Kingdom remains the most popular destination, with a total of 32,683 American students. The choice was obvious for me, foreign language is not my strongest subject, and the London program my university offered included the chance to have an international internship. For students who hope to gain the most career impact from study abroad, you should choose an internship as part of the curriculum. This experience has reshaped the way I think about my future jobs and career path.

Living in London has opened my eyes to a whole new view of the world that we live in. The daily actions and interactions with people from other cultures has been the best part of the last four months.

Going back to the United States will be a bigger culture shock than when I arrived. I really hope that more American students will take advantage of studying internationally. It is so easy to get lost in the large bubble of the United States and I hope that after this experience I will go back changed and enlightened.