Upon touching ground on United States soil after spending a week abroad in the United Kingdom, there were two preeminent feelings that I experienced: one being sadness for having to had return home so soon and the other being fulfillment for having learned so much while away. There were countless opportunities while abroad to capitalize on and learn from, and I took advantage of every possible one. My study abroad group had the chance to visit Oxford and London while in Europe, and with it being my first time in the United Kingdom, I had very high expectations and an even higher level of enthusiasm to be able to experience an entirely new and different culture from Dallas, Texas.
The first portion (and majority) of the trip was spent in Oxford, England, where each student participating in the University of Texas at Dallas study abroad trip, were meant to provide a presentation based on their individual research. However, before the day of the presentation, we had a couple of days to soak up as much of the charming and historic city of Oxford as we could. The first day the group was in Oxford, the professor gave us a brief tour of the city center. After night came, we each went our separate ways, with myself deciding to hit up a pub by the name of The Grape. At this pub, I got the chance to converse with three English gentleman about several different topics, as they were interested in my being American, but mainly about what their favorite football club was. Confabulating with some British folk on the subject of European football was one of the foremost things that I wanted to experience while in the United Kingdom, and the fact that I got to be able to do so is extraordinary.
The second day in Oxford consisted mainly of sightseeing and trying as many delectable, British restaurants as possible. For lunch, the group went to a traditional, English sandwich shop, where I had the privilege of trying a lamb samosa, one of the best foods I have ever put into my mouth. The name of the sandwich shop was Taylor’s, and I found myself wandering back there multiple times throughout the trip for various meals. The next day was the day of our presentations, which lasted from early in the morning to late in the night. It was truly an incredible experience being able to even stand in the esteemed Rhodes House of the University of Oxford, let alone be able to give an entire presentation on a topic of our interest. Personally, I am egregious at academic presentations and this opportunity helped me improve my confidence and my delivery of information. The next couple days in Oxford incorporated a mixture of more independent sightseeing, but also some group excursions.
After having an outstanding time in Oxford, the group finally departed for London on the fourth day of the trip, which left us three full days to experience all we could in one of the greatest cities in the world. In London, I decided to spend the majority of my time with the rest of the study abroad group. Of the three days that we had to see as much of London as possible (a formidable challenge), we spent most of that time visiting the major attractions the city had to offer. Our personal guide took us on a detailed tour of the Tower of London, explaining the reason for why it was built like it was, who occupied it in different parts of history, etc., and then later went into even more detail at the National Gallery. After a day of seeing the major attractions, the group spent time at the prestigious University of Sunderland, where we were presented to by two, remarkable professors about business in China and the United Kingdom. These talks were incredibly informative on the practices of businesses in foreign countries, and brought to my attention the differences and similarities of overseas companies compared to companies in the United States.
Overall, the trip to the United Kingdom was an educational and beautiful experience, with countless opportunities.
– Scott Smith, Faculty-led in United Kingdom, Fall 2018