Torero Life Abroad chronicles the life of a University of San Diego student as they participate in the study abroad experience. Follow Taylor Milam’s real-life adventures, anticipation, and experiences as she studies abroad in London for the fall semester. She is a junior at USD majoring in English with an emphasis in creative writing. USD ranks first in the nation for undergraduate study abroad participation, according to the Institute of International Education’s Open Doors 2012 Report. This is the fifth installment of the series.
Finals. It’s a word that brings dread to students everywhere, and British students are no exception. While all of the associate (or study abroad) students study for exams and write papers in preparation for the end of the semester, the British students merely continue to attend lecture and start to wear their Christmas sweaters around campus.
In England, all final examinations occur at the end of the year. While a part of me thinks that the concept of only one examination time a year is brilliant, there is a larger part of myself that is terrified by the very idea of such a thing. Even though the classes will change for my British friends when the new semester starts, the previous semester has not truly ended until they test in May. While I’m not thrilled about being trapped in my room writing essay after essay after essay, I would much rather work now than pay later. My British friends may feel sorry for me now, but I wouldn’t trade places.
Some of the differences between America and Britain hardly seem noticeable anymore. When my friends and I sat down to our beautiful Thanksgiving meal and took turns saying what we are thankful for, I truly felt at home. I’ve learned that some feelings are universal: love, gratitude, confusion, anger. So many things have changed since I began this journey; I’ve changed.
All of the things that have happened since coming to London make my head spin. I’ve fallen in love with my spectacularly amazing boyfriend. I met Alex one of my first nights in the city and his British accent still puts a silly smile on my face each time I hear it. I truly feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have him in my life. I journeyed through history in the tombs of Westminster Abbey and learned Scottish history while walking the streets of Edinburgh. I talked politics — questioning and arguing, aching to understand the world and my part in it.
My world has expanded and grown in size. Before I was only offered one perspective, one view. Now, I’m allowed to see the world any way I wish. I’ve been offered the freedom and privilege to stretch my limbs and explore. I’ve changed because I’ve grown. Above all, that is what studying abroad has offered me.
— Taylor Milam ’14