My name is Jacqueline and I studied abroad at the University of Reading during the spring 2018 semester. I decided to go to the University of Reading (UoR) for three reasons; location, affordability, and course options.
Since I was a child, I’ve always wanted to go to Europe, however my foreign language skills have never been that strong. Going to the UK would allow me to travel to other foreign countries easily, due to proximity, and I wouldn’t have to worry about learning a foreign language. My second reason for choosing UoR was its affordability. UoR is one of UMW’s Exchange partners, meaning I could pay the same semester tuition to spend a semester in the UK that I would if I stayed at UMW. This helped my parents and I afford my semester abroad. Lastly, I went to UoR because I wanted to experience going to an actual UK college. While there, I was able to have class with British students and professors, allowing me to meet locals and immerse myself in the culture.
During my time at UofR I took three courses. One course was for my major, Data Mining; one was for general education credit, Gender in Classical Antiquity; and one was a fun course, The History of the Witch Craze. Each of these courses were very flexible when it came to students learning materials on their own time. Instead of having homework and tests assigned, I would only have one final and one or two big projects to do for each class. This method of teaching, which was very different than the typical US college course, really taught me the importance of time management. The first few weeks were definitely a learning curve, but because of the flexibility, I was able to travel more freely.
While living in Reading, I was able to plan several trips around the UK and Western Europe. I went to Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Ireland. While traveling, I learned that it’s important to take risks, to put yourself out there, and to try new things. For instance, I traveled alone for the first time. At first I was hesitant, but I found it to be very rewarding. You can go at your own pace, explore, and you don’t have to make compromises.
Going abroad was a rewarding experience. Not only did I learn more about the world around me, but I also learned a lot more about myself.
Jacqueline Coates, UMW Class of 2019