This post is part of our Study Abroad Stories series, which aims to share the thoughts and experiences of students who have already taken the leap of faith and gone to study in a foreign country. With each of these stories, we hope to inspire, inform, and encourage anyone who has yet to study abroad. Want to share your story? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or tag us on Instagram using the hashtag #studyabroadstories.
A 27-year-old Idaho native, Katie spent 5 years living in San Francisco and exploring everything the city has to offer. After working in marketing and technology, Katie quit her job, packed her bags and is currently in the middle of a trip around the world. She is passionate about travel, adventure and spicy food. Keep up with her adventures on her blog, The Traveling Spud, Instagram or Snapchat.
- Name: Katie
- Country/place of origin: USA, grew up in Idaho, lived in San Francisco for 5 years, currently traveling the world full-time.
- Where you studied abroad: London, UK
- When you studied abroad: Summer 2009
- College/university that you studied abroad with: American Intercontinental University
- Describe your study abroad experience in 3 words: eye-opening, exciting, too short!
Why did you decide to study abroad? Why did you go where you went?
In college, I had a strong passion for fashion and even started my own fashion blog. Unfortunately, my university didn’t have a strong fashion school so I opted to study marketing instead. Because I was so passionate about fashion at the time, I ended up finding a course in London through a friend. The course was all about Fashion Marketing and I knew I had to go! Not only did I get to study fashion, but I would get to live in one of the fashion capitals of the world!
Where was your favourite travel destination while studying abroad?
I stuck around in London mostly since it’s such a huge city! There is so much to do there that I could see a different side of the city every single weekend. However, some of my favorite side trips from London were a weekend in Paris and a weekend to meet up with my dad in Dublin, Ireland!
What is your most embarrassing/craziest study abroad moment?
The craziest thing I did was definitely stalking Prince Harry. My friends and I researched what bars he hung out in and tried to find him! We actually ended up getting to see him, Prince William, Prince Charles and the Queen and King at the Queen’s Jubilee so our prayers of at least seeing him were answered. ☺
What was the best thing you ate while studying abroad?
Hands down, fish and chips at the Camden Lock Market. TO DIE FOR.
What did you miss most about home when studying abroad?
I weirdly missed the mountains! While studying abroad, getting out of the city wasn’t very easy, so seeing the country side was rare. When I got back to Idaho I told my family the first thing I wanted to do was go on a hike. Apparently, I missed the mountains more than anything!
What was the biggest challenge you faced while studying abroad?
Feeling like I was missing out on things from home. Now, looking back I can’t believe how crazy I was to have FOMO. After traveling the world for a year, I’ve realized that this is just a natural thought when you’re gone for a long period of time. Changing your thoughts and realizing you’re probably doing cooler stuff than people at home helps a lot! 😉
What is your fondest memory from studying abroad?
The friends I made, my roommates, our nights out in Camden town, my fashion class, my British theatre class where we just went to West End Theatre all the time, seeing the royal fam and and exploring London every chance we got!
How has your study abroad experience impacted your life?
Let’s just say it gave me the travel bug and I haven’t been able to shake it since. I quit my corporate marketing job about 8 months ago, started my blog, The Traveling Spud, and have been traveling full-time ever since! So, I’d say it impacted my life more than I realized at the time.
Any last words of advice for people planning to study abroad?
DO IT. Don’t even think about backing out. I’m currently 28 and it has been 9 years since I studied abroad (OMG WTF), but I remember my experience like it was yesterday! It opened my eyes to new cultures, made me a more open and accepting person and gave me confidence in myself. Nowadays all my friends that didn’t study abroad majorly regret it. So, my advice to you is don’t live with regrets…just do it!