This blog has been created to share the College of Staten Island (CSI) students’ experiences around the world. Dolphins across the Seven Seas provides the opportunity for CSI students, staff, faculty and beyond to gain insight into the study abroad experience. Additionally, Study Abroad Peer Advisors provide reflections upon their experiences as well as advice to potential study abroad participants. CSI is the single senior college of the City University of New York (CUNY), located in the borough of Staten Island.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Sights of England ~Stephanie Randazzo, London, England

An experience to keep with you forever is a wonderful thing and an amazing opportunity. That’s why I knew studying abroad through CSI was the right choice for me. I wanted to grab the chance as soon as possible, which is why I decided to do it at the end of my freshmen year. Knowing exactly where I wanted to go made things that much easier. The place is England, United Kingdom – it has been a dream of mine ever since high school. Luckily CSI made it possible for me to reach that dream through attending Middlesex University in England.

When I applied to this program I didn’t know anyone else that was going, but knew that it would be a great learning experience for me. I had never left the country before, but this brought more excitement than nerves. There is so much out there to see and learn about in the world. The perfect way to learn new things is firsthand, which I was able to do with this program. However, I was able to meet one other person from CSI who was also going to Middlesex University. Right away, she and I got along, so we decided to book our flight together. That made the six and a half hour flight a little more enjoyable by having someone to speak with.

Once I arrived in London, I couldn’t wait to get out and see all of the sights. Although I was a bit jet lagged, that didn’t stop me from wanting to see things right away. We had a welcome dinner that night and were able to mingle with others in the program. I met people from all over the world, including Germany, Austria, and Hong Kong. Everyone was extremely nice and all had the same excitement to be someplace new or someplace they once visited but wanted to explore further. One of the first things that everyone was told is that London is only a twenty-five minute tube ride from our campus. This makes it easy for everyone to just hop on the shuttle and experience the short tube ride during night or day.

The program that I choose to do is five weeks, and I am currently on my third week of being in London.  The sights that I have seen so far are completely marvelous. For example, the second day here I saw Big Ben and the London Eye. The line to get onto the London Eye looked a bit long, but it actually moved fairly quickly. It consists of a forty-minute Ferris wheel ride overlooking London and allows you to take some amazing photos. Along with having the freedom to see any sights I please, the University also put together excursions for students in the program. My favorite trip so far has been the one to Stonehenge and Bath. I’ve always heard people speak of these places and how wonderful they are. Well, we were lucky enough to have the University plan out a trip for all of the students. Within just an hour and a half I was able to see one of the most amazing sights in the world.

One of the things I love about Europe is the train system and how it is very easy it makes travelling. The trains run frequently and have fairly decent prices. For example, I booked a day trip to Scotland. I will be able to see Edinburgh, which I was also told is fabulous. Another part of Europe I will be visiting is Paris, France thanks to the University putting together an optional trip for that. Not only am I fulfilling one of my biggest dreams by being in England, but I am also travelling to other countries within Europe!

This trip has taught me a great deal about myself. I have been able to learn about new cultures and meet people from all over the world. Overall, I suggest to anyone who has ever considered going outside of the country to take an amazing opportunity through CSI to accomplish this. Even if you haven’t thought about going out of the country for study abroad, I highly recommend considering it due to the wonderful time you will have and all of the places you could see. This has truly been a life changing experience that I will cherish forever.