Kruz Re-Marketing Pixel
Western University Be Extraordinary The Campaign For Western

To learn at home or across "the pond"

September 4, 2013

At home or across
Elizabeth Cleary studied for a semester in the U.K., and learned more than she ever expected.

By her own admission, Elizabeth Cleary is a homebody.

She’s quite comfortable hanging out with friends at Western, and spending time with her family at home in Woodstock, Ont.

So it came as a big surprise to many when Elizabeth decided to study in England for a semester.

“Going on an exchange was completely out of character for me,” she says. “But I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone, to challenge myself.”

For the winter semester of 2013, Elizabeth enrolled at the University of Essex (in southeastern England), taking courses in new media, cinema, history, and British culture and society.

While the courses were outside of her women’s studies and thanatology program at Western, she valued the unique learning experiences, such as going on a field trip to London’s West End to see Mousetrap (the “world’s longest running play”), analyzing British films and reading about the World Wars from the British perspective.

What surprised Elizabeth the most was how much of her learning continued outside of the classroom.

“I learned more about myself during my three months at Essex than I ever expected,” she admits. “Being immersed in another culture allowed me to be more accepting of diversity and able to relate to all people – wherever I am.”

Studying abroad was possible in part because of the Rogers Family Award in Arts that Elizabeth received.

“I’ve never felt more sure that I was doing the right thing than when I heard about my scholarship. It confirmed that I should be going, and it gave me the motivation to continue striving for academic excellence,” she says.

Now, some months after her semester in the U.K., Elizabeth sees how the experience helped her become a more independent, more confident and globally aware student. “I met many lifelong friends and grew so much as a person,” she says. “For that, I’m forever grateful.”

Elizabeth returned to Western this fall, continuing her studies with a new understanding of what she has.

“A university education can be obtained anywhere,” she adds. “What Western offers though is countless opportunities to get involved on campus, experiences that extend beyond the classroom.

“The sense of community and school spirit among students and alumni is something I didn’t appreciate until I studied abroad.”

International learning
Western offers numerous experiential learning opportunities – from field schools at archeological sites to exchange programs with overseas universities. To discover what options are available for international learning, visit Western International.


This article appeared in the 2013 edition of Western's Parent Connection
facebooktwitterYouTubeLinkedInflickrWestern blogiTunesU
Powered by Blackbaud
nonprofit software