Post submitted by Isabella Frazier, a London Curriculum-Focused program participant.
During my time in London, a good friend and I watched a two-person play titled “Constellations.” If I only remembered one thing about my study abroad experience in London, it would be this play. My description of this play couldn’t possibly serve it any justice, but I will reveal one thing. This play captured the concept of alternate realities and all of the possible ways that life can go depending on the decisions we make. In so many ways, this play spoke to me as a young person sorting through a multitude of career paths and opportunities. If I hadn’t studied abroad over the summer of 2021, I probably would have enjoyed my summer just fine. We will never know what I would have done for those six weeks throughout June and July. However, I do know that studying abroad this summer changed my life and made my wildest dreams a reality, my reality.
I was fortunate enough to go on FSU’s Human Rights Program in London this past summer. I have always known that I have a passion for human rights advocacy and social justice, but in the weeks leading up to the program, I had lost my sense of direction. So when I learned about this program, I was ecstatic. I couldn’t wait to learn about the evolution of human rights and the events throughout history that prompted a need for human rights law. I thought that I knew what to expect. I was so wrong. Nothing can truly prepare you for the harsh realities of a human rights curriculum. “Human rights” is a really beautiful idea and construct. Unfortunately, the concept of human rights has no value unless those rights are absent. Discouraging, grim, and eye-opening. There are no better ways to explain my curriculum while I was abroad. However, I will say that I have never been more passionate to pursue a career that advances the efforts of these “human rights.” If I hadn’t gone to London this summer, I might have grown out of my dream to pursue advocacy. That would be an entirely different reality, one without London and mildly depressing coursework.
Not only would I have never gotten to rediscover my passion for human rights work if I hadn’t gone abroad to London, but I wouldn’t have the fantastic memories I carry with me today. I wouldn’t be able to reflect on the quick-witted exchange my friends and I had on the way to Stonehenge arguing over how the mysterious stones got there. I wouldn’t be able to say that I was in England during the Euro-Cup, or that I had tea at Kensington Palace. I couldn’t say that I’ve been to Brighton beach and pitied the locals who had never seen a real beach. If I didn’t study abroad, I would have never seen Les Miserables on the stage, SIX the musical, or Romeo and Juliet at the Globe. Without my study abroad experience, I wouldn’t be able to say that I stayed in a YMCA hostel in the small yet beautiful city of Bath. I couldn’t reflect on my day trips to Cambridge and Oxford with friends. I experienced so much in London that I even struggle to remember everything we did.
Experiencing new cuisine, exploring neighborhoods around London, enjoying the nightlife, soaking up the culture, and learning abroad, in general, were all so exciting. However, it was the company I had through it all that made my time in London unparalleled. What I miss most about London is living with four built-in best friends and living next door to some of the most incredible guy friends I have ever had. It was them. They made the trip as amazing as it was. All the laughs, jokes, support, late-night cries, Love Island nights, and guidance throughout my journey are what make me so happy reflecting on my time in London. I have new familiar faces around campus and new people to keep me up all night on face-time, laughing about some of our goofy moments abroad. Friends you make while abroad are special because you all share something in common- you have no idea what you’re doing. We were figuring everything out together. We were all homesick together. We all mastered the tube system together. It was all new but somehow less daunting with company. Without my study abroad experience, I would have never met them. A reality without them isn’t one I would choose to live in.
Studying abroad over the summer of 2021 changed my path in so many ways and all for the better. In a world full of endless possibilities and alternate realities, I couldn’t be happier that FSU International Programs found me.