International Studies & Programs


Student Stories

Back to News
Julia Goins - Social Science Scholars in the UK

Published: Wednesday, 29 Nov 2017
Author: Cheryl Ann Benner
Department: Office for Education Abroad

Name: Julia Goins

Status: Sophomore

Major: Animal Science

Hometown: Independence, Kentucky

Program: Social Science Scholars Program Field Study Abroad/United Kingdom/ Summer 2017

There are no downsides to studying abroad, only benefits. After having done so myself, I can say this with complete conviction. I went to England on the Social Science Scholars Program Field Study Abroad, where I was able to witness history and culture firsthand.

One way I was able to do this was by interacting with locals, which was probably the most eye-opening part for me. I met many wonderful people, such as the ones I talked to in pubs, who were very open with me. One of the experiences I will remember the most actually happened the first weekend I was in London at a local pub. My fellow Spartans and I ended up talking to the patrons for hours, about everything from music to politics. It was uncomfortable at first – a couple of teenage Americans walking into a pub that was obviously used to regular customers, many of whom were much older. The important part was that we did not let that discomfort stop us. This is advice that I would give to anyone looking to study abroad, especially in a non-English speaking country. I was lucky to visit Germany for a weekend while in England, and I know that staying silent often seems like the easiest option, but if you do, you might regret it. One of the most enjoyable aspects of British culture is the pub itself. It was there that I was able to get a sense of fellowship and leisure that I do not often find at home. I truly think that it made me more mindful and grateful.

I was also very lucky academically, because I got to study abroad with students that I had known and studied with the whole year, and even better was that our instructor, Dr. Waller, is from England. He was able to share his seemingly infinite knowledge of Britain with us, but he was also able to tell us about the lesser known facts and places. Probably the best part about specifically studying in England is the museums (most of which are free!). England has some of the best museums in the world, and there is a great amount of knowledge to be had in them. My personal favorite was the Imperial War Museum, but places such as the British Museum and the Natural History Museum are equally amazing and offer great opportunities to enhance one's knowledge.

It might sound cliché, but I would advise those thinking about studying abroad to go in with an open mind. There is something to learn from everyone, everywhere. If you have the opportunity to experience people and places that you could not experience here in East Lansing, then take it, and appreciate it in the moment. I was not able to fully do that until I got back home. My goal now is to become a Study Abroad Global Ambassador, so that I can share my experience and hear about what others have learned.