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Sarah Carbonneau

Sarah CarbonneauSemester Abroad: Fall 2013, Roehampton University, London
Majors: Creative Writing and Music

My sister studied abroad in New Zealand the semester before I was accepted to Roehampton's Study Abroad. And despite my saying that she had a wonderful time, she told me how difficult it was to meet new people, and most of her trips were done independently. When I left for London, I assumed that I would have the same solitary journey my sister had but this was not the case; not by a long shot. Almost instantly from my first hour of moving in I met genuine and inspiring people from all over the world. A group of about 10 of us took various trips all over London, into other parts of England, and also farther into Europe.

I was fortunate enough to have some of these friends be a part of the social program Roehampton provided for international students. We traveled to Greenwich and saw a completely painted room, and stepped on the grounds where scenes from several blockbuster films have been shot such as Les Miserables and Thor 2: The Dark World. Then we went to the mystical sites of Stonehenge, and Bath. After which we explored the remains of the castle of Caerphilly, and was lowered into the Big Pit and saw the conditions of coal mining in Wales. Our last big trip was cream tea at the Cotswold, and sightseeing at Oxford. In addition I joined group trips to Paris and Amsterdam. Not to mention our weekend explorations in the city of London, where we would cram in as many tourist sites as possible.

My time in London has given me irreplaceable knowledge about people, places, and most importantly myself. With all the trips I took, I realized how easy and assessable traveling can be, and it's not something to be scared of, it's something to embrace and learn from. One thing that made this trip the most crucial and impacting 3 month of my life so far is the women I spent my time with and shared these experiences with were. They were always asking questions about my life and supporting my decisions, and listening to my ideas. I felt like I had known these women my whole life and I am determined to make that so because it is these types of people that I need to surround myself with from now on. Lastly, right before I went to Amsterdam, I had no desire to leave London, I dreaded counting the weeks down. Amsterdam was one of the most amazing places I've ever seen and lifestyle I've experienced. When I came back I thought about everything I had done and learned. I looked through my photos from before I left and compared them to the photos I took at Amsterdam. And I see it now. I see a different person in those photos and it made me very excited because I am becoming the person I want to be. I'm excited to go home, and return to Manhattanville because I am ready to tackle life. I'm stronger and wiser, and strangely comfortable with things that caused me discomfort before I left. I'm happy, I'm ready, and I'm coming world.