Reflecting on My Study Abroad Experience, Back in Charleston by Peyton Baxley

Now that I am back in the summer heat of Charleston, I believe that I have a clearer idea of what my study abroad trip to London really meant to me. I have been surprisingly sentimental about it, especially because I went into the experience not expecting to make any “real” friends. However, the people I met on this trip were the most valuable part of it all. I now have new friends from not only the College of Charleston, but also from the University of Southern Mississippi. The fast friendships made abroad are lasting ones, in my experience thus far. That being said, I started towards the end of my experience in London to create a sort of journal or scrapbook. I wrote memories from the different places we went, drew drawings, and got photos printed to be taped in. Even though I have only been back for about nineteen days, it is surprising how much I have already started to forget that looking back through my journal has reminded me of.

Looking to the future, I believe that this trip has allowed me to prove to myself that I am capable. While we are technically adults at college, I feel as though there’s still this certain level of protection and familiarity, especially going to an American university. While being in London, I proved to myself that I could exist in an unknown space, figuring out the intricacies, norms, and difficulties on my own. Now, I am sure that I am capable, which I believe to be invaluable. The confidence in my own abilities will shine through not only for my final year during my undergraduate degree, but also into graduate school (hopefully) and my career. Therefore, while it matters where you decide to study, my greatest piece of advice would be to study somewhere. This trip was the third study abroad trip I was meant to go on, because my other two were canceled due to COVID-19. All three trips were to different countries, but I am sure that they would have proved to be a similar experience regarding my self-assurance. So, put yourself out there, and you will reap the benefits.

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