UK: Power, Politics, and Economics Reflections

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IUPUI Kelley School of Business Program:

UK: Power, Politics, and Economics 

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Victoria Sefcsik (Social Media Ambassador)

     Attending the Kelley School of Business London study abroad trip was absolutely incredible and is an experience that I could not have gotten through the classroom. We had the opportunity to see many historical sites including Westminster Abbey, Parliament, Tower of London, and St. Paul’s Cathedral (just to name a few!). Throughout our trip we gained knowledge on global financial markets while attending a tour and lecture at Lloyd’s of London and learned about the implications of Brexit from two lecturers at Regent’s University.

     Before the trip I was very excited to go and got the “traveling jitters” about a week before going on the trip. In order to prepare I filled out all the necessary paperwork on iAbroad and got my passport taken care of ahead of time. I also made a packing list and made sure to fit all of my stuff in a carryon. Traveling light to study abroad experiences makes the trip go by smoother and ensuring that you have everything is important. My preparation paid off and I had plenty of resources in order to do well during my study abroad experience. Understanding the exchange rate was a bit challenging at first but I soon got the hang of it.

     Getting absorbed into the culture of London was definitely my favorite part. We rode the Tube almost everywhere and walked and we really got to feel what it would be like to commute to work or school every day in London. It was nice to not have a language barrier, but we did notice some differences in the language. For example they tend to say sorry instead of excuse me and they call pickles gherkin which is also the name of a commercial skyscraper in the financial district in the heart of the City of London (which we learned by the way is separate from London!). The modern buildings intertwined with the historical architecture really highlighted London’s rich history. 

     Through my future studies I am excited to take what I’ve learned and apply it to my future. I see this being applicable to both my business track as well as my medical track. From the business aspect, London is a large financial hub and with its diverse number of companies understanding the financial district and England’s role in the financial global market is imperative. Likewise, in the medical field I will need to understand my patients and appreciate their diverse background. By exposing myself to other cultures, I will be able to be a better doctor with a better understanding of their lifestyles in order to treat them holistically. 

Some tips I would have for future students deciding to study abroad are:

1. Make a packing list! You don’t want to get to a foreign country and find out your missing something.

2. Make a list of all the things you want to see when you have free time. For many of us it may be the first time in that country. Having a plan for what to see and when to see it will be helpful.

3. Do some math and figure out how much of the foreign currency you are going to need. Although some places have ATMs everywhere, you may be going to a country where there aren’t that many or even any at all.

4. Pack snacks on the plane! Many airlines will let you take granola bars and empty water bottles. Just make sure you don’t take any fruit or items on the restricted list.

Daniel Shepple

     I absolutely loved my time in the United Kingdom. Studying abroad was the most incredible experience of my college career. The week was full of adventures and great learning experiences. I would love to go abroad again and was looking at other trips as soon as I got home. They say studying abroad will change your life, and it most definitely will. 

     Studying abroad impacted my IUPUI experience in many different ways. First, it gave me a deeper appreciation for other cultures. Although there was no language barrier, there were still cultures differences that gave me a new understanding for new viewpoints and values. The British culture relies heavily on tradition, and being there teaches you to appreciate even the small things. Second, my study abroad trip impacted my ability to communicate and work with others. Traveling with a large group of students for a week presents challenges, but you learn how to adapt in a new environment. Finally, I was able to learn a lot academically. Studying abroad is a great way to enrich an International Studies degree. Learning about Brexit was very rewarding in an Economics standpoint and Political Science standpoint, which are two of my interest areas. 

     Our trip was really well designed to include as many different visits and tours as possible. The focus of our class was the culture and economy of The United Kingdom, with a lot of time spent on Brexit. We were able to visit financial institutions such as the London Stock Exchange and Lloyds of London, while also visiting historic locations like Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament. We were able to fully immerse ourselves in the rich culture of London, whether it be the cuisine, riding the attending a play in Covent Garden, or taking a trip on a double-decker bus. Our trip also included a day of lectures at Regent’s University where we heard two professors discuss the potential effects of Brexit. We were able to gain so much information in only a week and I won't ever forget my time in London.   

     If you're reading this and eventually find yourself in London, go to Windsor Castle! We were in the city all week, but on the Friday before we left, a group of us took a train out to the Queen’s weekend home. The views of the countryside are incredible, as is the medieval castle. The history here is incredible and I was amazed by the entire experience. Before heading back to London, we had afternoon tea in the adjacent town. English tea is tradition and sitting and enjoying it in the countryside makes it even more of an experience.      

Jewel D. Shouse

     Preparing for my study abroad trip to the U.K. was exciting as well as nerve-wracking. This was my first time traveling and studying abroad, so I wanted to be as prepared as possible. Our professor and guest speakers were a great help in getting us access to resources that had information about culture shock and other good “need-to-knows”. I did as much reading as possible in the four weeks leading up to my trip. I do believe the preparation helped me tremendously!

     My favorite part of this program, aside from being able to explore the city during our leisure time, was touring Lloyd’s of London. Lloyd’s is one of the world’s largest and oldest insurance markets.  As a business student, it was exciting to learn the business aspect of Lloyd’s but learning about the rich history and how it came to be one of the most popular insurance markets was very intriguing. I also enjoyed viewing the city’s architecture. London is known for its unique combination of old Victorian-style buildings and modern skyscrapers, often side by side.

     The most valuable part of my experience was bonding with my classmates as well as being able to talk to and bond with the local Londoners. I also really enjoyed taking the buses and train (the “tube”) as a means of transportation, because it allowed me to immerse myself in the culture and “do as the locals do”. The London Underground transportation system is remarkable and will take you pretty much anywhere you need to go in Greater London.

     I expected to experience culture shock, so I was pleasantly surprised when I didn’t. In my opinion, London (the U.K.) is the perfect place to break in first-time study abroad students. The lack of language barrier helps mitigate some of the effects of culture shock. What I noticed right away however, was that even though we share a common language with the Brits, we have different mannerisms. Specifically, when riding on the tube, passengers are really reserved and to themselves. It kind of makes you feel like an outsider. I quickly learned though, that once you do engage in conversation, most of the locals are extremely nice and welcoming!

     Studying abroad has allowed me to sharpen my professionalism skills but more importantly, my interpersonal skills. I got the opportunity to immerse myself in a new culture which went beyond an entirely academic experience. By studying abroad, even for just a little over a week, I was provided with an experience of a lifetime. I really enjoyed this program and would recommend all students consider studying abroad, if they are able to do so. Just remember that preparation and an open mind will help to make your experience a fulfilling one!

Ashlyn Zufall (Social Media Ambassador)

     I can’t begin to describe how I felt leading up to this program. Not only have always wanted to go to London, but I’ve dreamed of living there for about the past decade. I’ve always known I wanted to get into fashion, so what better place to set up shop than in London, one of the greatest cities in the world. I spent the months leading up to our trip researching anything and everything about the UK to try to better prepare me including not just the history, but also how people dressed, common phrases, and how their culture differed from ours. As much preparation as I did, I feel like you can never truly know what to expect when travelling to another country, especially since this was my first time abroad.

     Upon arriving, you immediately encounter numerous differences including most people having some sort of European accent, the structure of buildings and residential housing, and of course, people driving on the left side of the road. Despite these difference though, I couldn’t help but feel like I had just flown to another part of the US that I hadn’t been to before. It never really hit me, until I arrived back home after the trip, that I was actually overseas in another country. Maybe this was because English was still the main language, or because we never really travelled outside of the metropolitan area of London – I’m not quite sure. The shock hit me more when I arrived back in the states and started realizing all the things I had been missing out on in the past week: being able to go out without the worry of not being able to find a (free) bathroom, being able to go out to a restaurant for a meal after 10PM (given that almost every place stopped serving food at about this time), and being able to go shopping without having to pay extra for a bag. 

     One of the main focuses of the study abroad program was Brexit and how it will affect not just the UK and the European Union, but also the effects it will have on the world. This program allowed us to gain multiple different perspectives on the topic from UK professors, locals, and a British native who now lives in America. Not having known much about the topic before taking this course, I feel like I have gain a vast amount of knowledge on the topic over the past few months. One thing that stood out to me is how London’s economy may begin to take a downturn due to less businesses wanting to incorporate there since trade laws will become stricter with the European Union (EU). The other thing, that I felt directly impacted me, was that immigration is going to be strictly regulated so this may pose an issue for me in the future if I were to decide to move there. Given London’s potential downfall though, it may be wise to rethink the decision altogether. I think learning about Brexit has given me a new perspective on global economics and politics and has allowed me to relate those directly to my person life and the decisions I make.

    The only downside to this program was not having enough time in England. I would have loved to have gotten to spend time outside of the city for a few days to experience the more rural cities and sites such as Stonehenge or Oxford University. Other than that, this study abroad program well exceeded the expectations I had set. For anyone interested in studying abroad, I would say to just go for it because I know you won’t be disappointed. What you learn from being in another count