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Study abroad at University of Sussex in Brighton, UK
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Jacqueline McAfee

Major: English, Secondary Education
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this opportunity through Ruth Pflueger, the study abroad advisor at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

During my experience abroad, I learned a lot about traveling, history, and monuments you read about in textbooks (Big Ben, the Parliament Building, the Eiffel Tower, Stonehenge). I met so many people that I never would have met otherwise: a group of witty British electricians enjoying a cider after work, a couple from Prague who told me how they fell in love, a lovely English woman director who worked with Orlando Bloom and Alan Rickman. Finally, I was taught the greatest lesson of all – what I want from life. Many people say traveling teaches you a lot about yourself, and I am a firm believer in this statement.

“I am now eager to look into moving abroad for a few years before obtaining a more permanent residence here in the States.”

How did this experience impact you academically?

I took a British Theatre course with Faynia Williams, who taught us about theatre, acting, directing and playwrights. My class attended field trips to see performances at classic British theatres including Chichester, the West End and even William Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, where I saw my favorite performance, Richard III. I found that reading a play and seeing it acted out can be two completely different experiences; each actor and director has his or her own unique way of telling the story of these characters. We also learned how directors go through plays and break down the meaning behind the lines, an approach I will use with my students when I am an English teacher.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

My goals are to receive my B.A. in English and then become certified to teach secondary education. Before this opportunity, I planned on becoming a teacher in Pennsylvania while considering the possibility of moving to the south. Study abroad mixed up that entire plan. I am now eager to look into moving abroad for a few years before obtaining a more permanent residence here in the States.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would absolutely recommend studying abroad to anyone. Moving to the UK is definitely something I am now considering that I never had before. To someone who wants to study abroad and is faced with the same financial roadblock I faced, I would say do not give up. I applied for several scholarships, enrichment awards, used savings bonds and stashed away every paycheck I received.

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