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Challenging But Lovely

Tower Bridge at Night
Tower Bridge at Night
Justin Zhong
Management & Business Economics
United Kingdom
Term Abroad: 
Spring 2020

Q: Initially, what made you decide to study abroad? Why did you choose your program?

A: The reason why I decided to study abroad was that for my love of traveling the world and I wanted to expand my learning experiences in a different environment and most importantly take advantage of what UC Merced has to offer. I decided to choose my program because it gave me an opportunity to choose from a list of various English universities and it offered the classes that I was interested in taking while relating back to my Management and Business Economics degree at UC Merced.

Q: What was the highlight of your study abroad experience?

A: The highlight of my study abroad experience was having the opportunity to learn and live in a foreign environment and feel like a local British college student as well as having the time and privilege to be able to visit such famous and iconic places that define London and learn about its history. As someone who grew up playing sports, especially tennis I had the dream of one day visiting Wimbledon and the All England Lawn Tennis Club and to be able to have the opportunity and blessing to step foot on the grounds of that venue while celebrating my birthday will always be a memory I will never forget.

Q: What was your greatest challenge abroad and how did you overcome it?

A: My greatest challenge abroad was settling myself into a new foreign environment and trying to make myself feel at home as much as possible. I later overcame it by slowly adapting and meeting and making new friends, both locally and internationally, and turning to them for advice, tips, and guidance on how to fit in.

Q: How did your coursework abroad compare to your courses at UC Merced?

A: My coursework abroad was different than of my courses at UC Merced in that some of the courses do not require a final exam and rather it is a one coursework report that is due at the end of term which will determine the final grade for that course. In other courses, it would be a mixture of one coursework report which will account for a certain percentage of the final grade and the remaining percentage was determined by the final exam given. I also noticed with students in London is that attendance is not always mandatory and because of that the actual number of students that showed up in my classes was much lower than the roster size and the number of students that registered for the course. Lectures were also being recorded and that was one of the biggest differences that I saw how classes were functioning in London compared to how lectures are at UC Merced.

Q: What did you gain from your study abroad experience?

A: What I gained from my study abroad experience is do not be afraid to go out and explore the world as I believe that is the best way to learn and acquire knowledge. Definitely have an open mind while abroad learn as much as you can no matter if it is taking a class at the host university or by taking a tour and visiting the historical iconic destinations that define that certain city or country. Most importantly, just have fun and embrace and enjoy your time while abroad and explore as much of your host country as you can before traveling to nearby countries.

Q: What advice do you have for students considering study abroad?

A: The advice I have for students considering studying abroad is to not be afraid and apply. Most of us will only go through college and have this opportunity to study abroad once in our lifetime, so make the most of the time and do something different. Go with an open mind and do not necessarily plan everything you want to do or the places that you want to visit.

Q: Describe a typical day for you abroad.

A: A typical day for me abroad would be to attend my classes in the morning or afternoon and then coming back to my dorm to do chores, such as laundry or taking out the trash, or going to the store to buy groceries for the upcoming week. After that, I would return to my room and relax and work on my coursework and then cook dinner when it is time. Depending on what day it is, if it is my day off or a weekend I would plan out the places I want to go and visit next and decide the best possible transportation route to take and would normally spend the most of the day out and won't be returning back to my dorm until late at night.