A couple of days after landing in the US after my London study abroad program and I’m reflecting on what a great experience it was. I don’t think I could ever express how life-changing and fulfilling it made me feel! Being able to explore to the extent of studying abroad has allowed me to. I’ve grown so much personally and academically and that’s what I loved the most about this opportunity! Going into it I was so eager to learn about British history and now I can confidently say I’ve learned way more than I ever expected to.
I reflected on what I’ve learned in my British Life and Visual Media class and how it’s broadened my scope.
After these ten weeks, I can say that my knowledge of British Culture has become more well-rounded. Looking back to how I felt personally about ‘Britishness’ and British identity has skewed a little bit. I can admit that I had sort of a negative attitude about British Culture because of the history of the British Empire and how that impacted the United Kingdom in complex ways. I’m still upset about global colonization, and I still believe that the UK could do a better job at educating the youth about their own country. I look back to our field trip about the slave trade and was so disappointed at the fact that most elementary/middle/high schools don’t teach about Britain’s involvement in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. To this day I’m still not content with the history of Britain and its empire, but now I’ve decided to focus on how it carved the British community into what it is today.
I believe that the way Britain has handled their past connects to how its present and current issues have unfolded. Through our class readings, I’ve been made aware that Britain is very proud of what they call its global contribution. However, from my perspective, I don’t believe they have done enough to amend and confront the injustices that the British Empire has caused. I believe education is a good first step in the right direction. We’ve learned that most British people are unknowledgeable about crucial parts of their history. It’s interesting because I can relate this to American Culture, though they do teach US History many Americans have a loose grip on their own history. This brings me to my next thought. I always believed that the US and the UK were almost opposites, but I now know that I was wrong. Propaganda, fake news, and politics all have similar notes in the way they maneuver and sway the views of our society. I think this course has opened my eyes to how similar the US and the UK really are and I’m glad that I’m able to analyze and compare each of their complex identities.
Personally, this trip has changed me for the better and I feel like I have a new perspective under my belt. I’m able to connect with native Londoners feels so special and I hold that close to my heart. I love how integrated I was able to be in London life especially. Simple things like taking the tube made me feel like I was a new part of this London community. I would definitely recommend a student experience studying abroad if given the oppurtunity!
A Message from the Office of Global Engagement:
The safety and security of Drexel students is a priority for the University. As part of the efforts to support Drexel students that are studying abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Global Engagement has conducted a rigorous review of programming and provided additional support to participating students with customized pre-departure orientations and regular check-ins during the required self-isolation period and the term.