Brittany Staley

Location:  London, England
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Term Abroad: Spring Break '17

Majors: Human Resource Management; Management; International Studies

Was your study abroad program as you expected? 

My study abroad program was beyond what I had expected! I never imagined that I would learn as much as I did in one week. Going into this experience, I was well prepared to travel to a foreign country and expected to learn about the culture, but I never thought I would have as many opportunities as I did to connect with the locals and put myself in the shoes of a true Londoner. You could say that I left America as a “Hoosier” and returned to America as a “Londoner at heart.” 

What's your best memory from your time abroad? 

memory on bridge

The best memories of my time abroad were experiencing the simple, everyday life experiences of a Londoner. The fancy castles and scheduled tours were amazing, but enjoying the small things in life is what I remember most. More specifically, I have a fond memory of when a small group of us decided to go out and walk around the city to explore. We sort of had no plan and ended up on a beautiful bridge that we would have never visited if we hadn’t gotten a little lost. It was a beautiful night and I was with some of the people I had built a strong connection with on the trip. We enjoyed the scenery and took in the beautiful street music that was playing. This is a memory that I will never forget.   

What was your first impression of studying abroad/initial thoughts on arrival? 

Although I had traveled before my time studying abroad, it was a very different experience. I found that before leaving, I wanted this trip to be a relaxing “vacation” like I was used to in my past travel experiences. I found this was not the case – in a good way. The last thing I wanted to do while I was abroad was sit down to relax and clear my mind. This concept may seem odd to some of you, but I couldn’t contain my excitement for learning about a place that I had been reading and studying about for a large portion of my life. To say the least, I surprised myself with my enthusiasm to plan for the next day, and my disregard for “relaxing.” 

What did you think about your study abroad program? Would you want to go abroad again? 

My study abroad program was an amazing opportunity that I will always be thankful for. It taught me more in one week than an entire semester could have taught me. Aside from the beautiful change in scenery, and all of the cultural differences, the relationships I built while studying abroad and experiencing this with other students within the Kelley School of Business was invaluable. My only regret about studying abroad is not making the decision to do so sooner. group picture

What do you think you gained from studying abroad? 

There are many things I gained by studying abroad, of which would take me too long to talk about them all. But, if I had to choose the most valuable thing I gained from this experience, it would be the way I view the world. Before traveling to London, I was pretty certain that I would stand out as an American tourist. This was something that we were told to try and avoid – “the ugly American.” But instead of standing out, I was taken back by the similarities in people. I reflected much on the fact that although the world has approximately 7.5 billion people, the world is rather small. You might think I’m crazy for that last statement, but I think we are all more similar than we realize. This opened my eyes to the fact that cultural awareness and mutual respect can really bring people from diverse backgrounds together. From a business standpoint, understanding this concept early on in my life is a blessing. 

How did studying abroad impact your experience at IUPUI? 

Studying abroad has impacted my experience at IUPUI by making me feel more connected to the student body. I feel more pride toward my school for allowing such amazing opportunities to its students. I also feel more appreciative for the education that I am gaining through IUPUI and am blessed to live in a country where education is important and can be succeeded by all.

What advice would you give to other students thinking about studying abroad? 

Just do it. What do you have to lose? 

If you could sum up your study abroad experience in one sentence/quote, what would it be? 

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller