Cheers Londoners!

Hailey Hunter, Global Business Institute: London Summer 2022

My study abroad experience was different than most students in that I did not attend a university in my home country but studied at a global education network comprised of all American students. CAPA offered me several opportunities that I am extremely grateful for, the most being I had a homebase full of familiar faces in an unknown place. Being my first time abroad, I found that extremely beneficial. However, now having this experience under my belt I would have liked the opportunity to easily meet more people from London, which is easier for students who traditionally study abroad at a foreign university. 
Regardless, my peers and I did our best to speak to everyone we came across, to better learn about London as well as the endless cultures and nationalities that exist within the city. This was the best tool to learn the best ways around the city and other areas as well as navigating during the large events of the summer like the Queen’s Jubilee. We would have been utterly lost and missed an entire portion of the day, if we hadn’t sat by a young family who overheard our plans for the day and was kind enough to tell us we were in the wrong spot for what we wanted to see. The willingness to help from people all over while abroad was extremely reassuring and not only made me feel more comfortable, but also made me more eager to get acquainted with locals of wherever I traveled to. 
During Her Majesty’s birthday parade for example, we spoke to a group of young adults who were standing next to us, they were a mix of British and Canadian. They gave us information on all the best activities to do during the weekend, as well as explained to us their frustrations with Brits regularly thinking Canadians they encounter are American because of the accent similarity. Then, when the Royal Family drove by, they had a better vantage point and sent us a video of them riding by to better remember the event!
Ironically, while we were there to study abroad, oftentimes locals interviewed us about our experience in the U.S. On a trip to Cambridge, our boat ride was driven by an Exeter student who wanted to know all about American Sorority and Fraternity life. We also learned about the differences in the British education system from a friend we made on a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland. 
The lessons I took away from this experience were greatly influenced by the people I encountered and the friends I made. Being an American abroad is an eye-opening experience, one made all the better by befriending locals internationally.