A passionate reader and writer since early on, I have always been interested in writing and language. Coming to St. Lawrence University as a freshman, I knew I wanted to major in English with a writing focus. I was greatly attracted to the London Abroad Program because of its diversity of classes and the allowance I would be granted to pursue my love of the written word and great works of literature in pieces on a different, global scale. While in London during the fall semester of 2007, I was able to study writing, plays, and art that are essential to the European culture and I developed a great love in this new diversity of culture I was suddenly immersed in. I became passionate about learning about the greater world around me, not just what I had been accustomed to as a member of a small liberal arts college in Upstate New York. Being abroad in a country I had never visited before was a very moving experience- suddenly I was captivated by pieces of writings, artwork, and overall culture that I had no prior interest in before but gave me a greater sense of knowledge in the world. I returned to Canton, NY in January 2008 with a more complete sense of self, a greater knowledge of the larger world, but more importantly- a desire to learn more about the European culture that seemed to have so much more to offer me. I immediately looked into adding the classes necessary to complete a European Studies minor and with those added classes, I began to build my knowledge on my new passion, not just London, but Europe as a whole.
One of the greatest parts of going to London was the direct immersion into the culture that came from living with a host family. With two older host brothers and a younger host sister, I was given the knowledge of what older and younger British students value. I was able to witness firsthand the heavy influence the arts have on the British, evident by my younger host sister’s love of painting, ceramics, and drawing, and the large role music plays as evident by my host brothers. From my host parents, I learned what they value as important from family time, to politics, to education, and how their views differ from what I’ve been accustomed to as an American. Living with a British family allowed me to live their lifestyle for four months as opposed to living with Americans in a dorm and not experiencing the vast differences that I learned just in everyday conversations. It was truly eye-opening and captivating.