As part of our curriculum, our class participated in many excursions around the UK. We got to visit some of the most beautiful and popular museums in London, as well as many less well-known attractions. One highlight for me was seeing A Mid Summer Night’s Dream in the Globe Theater. I will never forget this abroad as a whole, but that experience in particular will always be close to my heart.

Each day we had class and an excursion, beginning at 10am. We saw wonderful sites in our excursions, but there is so much to see in London and Edinburgh, and there was certainly not enough class time to see everything. This meant that my friends and I in the program would take any free time we had to explore the city. We found wonderful sites and neighborhoods on the weekends or after classes. There is so much natural beauty in Edinburgh especially, and we made special trips to hike the beautiful terrain.

With so much to see, free time became engulfed in exploration. However, I was there for academia, and there was still homework to be done. One major challenge I faced while abroad was finding time to accomplish the homework we had been assigned for classes in the midst of exploring a new country.

Every college student procrastinates at least slightly, and while I admit I have done the same in the past, I usually like to get things done as soon as I can so I don’t have to worry about it. But while abroad, I found myself often putting off work because I wanted to see the city.

At one point during the abroad trip, we had an essay due that was a major part of our grade. I had put it off until the night before because it was a weekend and I wanted to go see Hyde Park before we left for Scotland. I was panicked and extremely nervous that I would not finish in time. My best friend that I made on the trip, Alyssa, stayed up with me and worked on her own assignments so I wouldn’t feel so alone in my endeavor. We took “rain breaks,” where we would go outside and dance in the rain as to get our heartbeats up and help us focus when we returned. Once I finished my assignment, I was so grateful to her for helping me through an otherwise stressful night.

From this experience, I learned that even though I was in a new and exciting place, getting my work done first would allow me to enjoy my studies abroad more fully. I plan to go abroad again in my college career for a longer period of time, and so learning this lesson when I did will help me greatly in my future studies.

Austin Skelton, Harry Potter in the UK, London