Aubrey Salamone goes to the University at Albany in New York. She has lived in New York her whole life. Aubrey is a psychology major with an education minor looking to become a school psychologist.Interviewed on - 16 May 2018
After being in school for 3 years, the repetitiveness of college, and taking classes with the same people inspired change in my life. An advisor at school encouraged me to study abroad and I decided it was just the change I needed. The idea of traveling the world at a young age while I had the time to do so was really inspiring.
I chose FIE London for multiple reasons. First, I wanted to live in an English speaking country because of my lack of knowledge of a second language. Then, the London program stood out to me because it was centered around living in a city, which I have never experienced. I was also really influenced by the opportunity to participate in an internship, as I wanted to immerse myself into the culture as much as possible.
My favorite part living in London was the Tube access and the ability to go anywhere within the city. An oyster card was included in my program so I had unlimited uses for the whole four months.
What made my experience unique was that I went into the program without knowing anyone and therefore got to meet new people and form new friendships. Some people choose to go with friends but my decision to go alone worked well in my favor. I was placed in a flat with girls who also did not go with their friends, so we all bonded quickly, and now I have friends all across the country!
The staff was great in recommending places and ways to immerse into the culture. All professors made an effort to take the students on field trips throughout the semester to connect what was being learned in the classroom to the actual world. We went to museums, pubs, walks across the Westminster Bridge; even to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park at the end of the semester!
I wish I had traveled outside of London by myself. I always did trips with my friends but I know some that went on a weekend trip by themselves and really enjoyed the time to explore a new area all alone.
A typical day at FIE London involves walking from your flat to class, maybe stopping at Pret for breakfast. Class is three hours long and then we would head out to a library to do homework, or go to a market for lunch.
During the second half of the semester, a normal day involves taking the Tube or bus to your internship, working with your coworkers, and then heading out for dinner and maybe to the pub for a drink!
During my free time I enjoyed walking around and exploring parks. I tried to go to as many as possible, and with Hyde Park only a half a mile from my flat, my friends and I went there often to walk, read, and ride bikes. I also really enjoyed treating myself to lunch either at a new café or a market, like Borough or Camden.
My flat was in South Kensington on the third floor of a building, on a nice quiet street. There were five bedrooms holding 12 girls in total, two rooms were triples with three beds. I was on the top bunk of a three-person room and we each had our own closet. The flat had three bathrooms, three fridges, and we all shared a kitchen and living room.
Compared to American apartments or college dorms I would consider flats small. Everything was functional though and people respected each other’s space. I liked best that my building was so close to the South Kensington station. We were only a four-minute walk, and on the way was a Pret, a Starbucks, and other cafes to grab food or drink.
I think it is important to know that a majority of the students in the program are American as well. Also, classes are three hours long, which most college students are not used to.
My time abroad has impacted my perspective on the world completely. I feel more adventurous, more culturally aware, and more willing to travel later in life.
I would 100 percent recommend this program to others. I had an amazing time and FIE really sets you up for success in every way possible.