Are you interested in studying abroad, but wonder what it’s really like? Wendy Buckler may have the answers you’re looking for!
Why study abroad?
Wendy originally registered for BUS 380: Contemporary European Business Issues because a trip to another country was a great way to fulfill her credit requirements. According to her, “This was an opportunity to go in a way that you couldn’t have as an average tourist. The experience would provide back-door access to businesses and a first-hand look at how they run in England.” Plus, the course also included guided tours of villages, cathedrals, and castles—all of which she may not have experienced on her own.
What was the biggest surprise?
The biggest surprise for her was that she was “so darn busy.” When the students weren’t in class, they were on guided tours and independent trips to the local villages. As Wendy states, “Be prepared for the physical challenges. We had organized activity from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., followed by work time for projects and socializing.”
Being busy wasn’t the only surprise for her. Students from the traditional program and MAP were merged together to work on a group project. Bridging the generation gap gave students an opportunity to create a business plan while combining the education and experience of everyone involved. The formal dinner also gave students an opportunity to meet a variety of people. Buckler was excited that the tables were 75 percent students or instructors and 25 percent locals from the village. It was a wonderful networking opportunity.
What are the accommodations like?
As adults, we often forget what it’s like to sleep in a dorm room, make collect calls home, and eat cafeteria food. This experience reminded the students, because they stayed in a 365-room manor. Each room resembled a traditional dorm room. Wendy chuckles while saying, “You have enough room in your bed to roll over and that’s it.” When the students couldn’t call home using their cell phones, they used the computer lab at Harlaxton. The traditional students taught many of them how to use Skype, an Internet application used to make free calls.
According to Buckler, “The food was interestingly different.” Breakfast consisted of hot or cold items like bagels, eggs, and meat—all similar to what we would expect in the United States. One item that was interesting was the yogurt. It tasted great; however, it was the color of sand. Her favorite dish was “manor pie,” a meat and potatoes entrée that mimics shepherd’s pie.
What did she personally take away from this experience?
Wendy originally went to England thinking that she would meet people, but she never anticipated making lifelong friends.
Here are a few of her tips for future Harlaxton College students:
- Be prepared for the exchange rate and bring cash rather than waiting to exchange currency. Many of the restaurants and pubs won’t facilitate credit card charges under £5, and thetaxi cab companies in Grantham only take cash. Plus, it’s easier to track personal spending when paying in cash.
- Increase your budget. Most MAP students will spend more money to buy souvenirs for children and spouses, and in some cases, co-workers.
- Anticipate walking several miles every day.
- Dress in business casual, but make sure you wear shoes that you can walk long distances in comfortably. Also, dress in layers. Although it was 60 degrees, the air was dry and cold.
- Pack an empty suitcase inside of your large one, so you can bring home your goodies. It is cheaper to pay the extra luggage fee than to buy a separate bag or ship items home.
- Enjoy the free time after class and project preparation. Students may want to go into the town of Grantham and partake in the local forms of entertainment.
- If you have the opportunity and the means, stay longer. Expand on your trip and take in as much of the experience as possible.
- Go with an open mind and enjoy this great opportunity!