Experiencing other cultures

A unique experience Northwestern offers is the Summer Study Abroad (SSA) program. For a few weeks out of the summer, students can travel with a group to explore a different country and its culture while earning class credit at the same time. Although I’m only a freshman, I got accepted into the Great Britain SSA, and I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity.

For the past few months, our team has been preparing for this trip as we not only fill out the needed documents, but also learn about the different interactions we could have when crossing the ocean. We’ve been reading through “Brit-Think, Ameri-Think” by Jane Walmsley to help us dip our toes into the culture we should expect while in Great Britain. We’ve gone over packing essentials, and our chaperones have even shown us pictures from previous trips in order to spike our interest about our upcoming experiences. Our chaperones are making sure we’re completely prepared for not only the travel aspects of the trip, but also for our opportunities to learn lessons from our sister across the pond.

This specific trip to Great Britain is focused mainly on the arts. After spending five days in Worcester in the countryside with our homestays, we’ll spend two weeks in London. During the afternoons, we’ll explore different museums or art galleries as a way of understanding their perspective of art. Most nights will be spent in a theater attending well-known plays. And of course, there will be time for additional sight-seeing as well. We’ll have a few free days to explore in the areas we wish.

Through the college, students have many opportunities to go on trips throughout the world. With the SSA program, we’re able to visit not just big cities, but experience the true life of the civilization through homestays, where we spend nights with citizens of the country. We can also create new relationships through our fellow travelers and the new people we meet. Whether it’s a service trip or an educational one, Northwestern still makes it a unique experience with their dedication to getting the students truly ingrained in other cultures.