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Study USA: My Time in North Carolina

Phoebe Craddock-Bligh, Queen’s History and Politics student spent a year at William Peace University Raleigh, NC, as part of the Study USA programme. Here is how she got on:

I applied to take part in the Study USA programme after hearing about it at the Go Global Fair two years ago. I also attended other talks but decided that Study USA was the one for me. In a very boring and practical way Study USA was the most economical way for me to take a year out and to be honest that was my driving factor in applying (that and REALLY wanting to go to America). – Getting accepted was just the biggest rush and it just goes to show you, if you don’t apply you won’t ever know- so why not take the risk?

Learning a new subject

I was placed by Study USA in William Peace University in Raleigh, NC with the primary goal of studying business classes and gaining an understanding of American culture. As a History and Politics student I was initially nervous about taking business classes, especially as I hadn’t taken a maths class since 2016! There were moments where I did struggle (especially in micro and macroeconomics) but I quickly realised that it wasn’t just me who was finding the content hard- the whole class was, which was quite the relief. 

Through some hard work, a bit of mentoring and wonderful and caring teaching staff, I ended the semester with a distinction from the Dean and a 4.0 GPA! I was also pleasantly surprised at how interesting I found the business classes, plus I was able to take 1 elective per semester, so alongside organisational behaviour and marketing, I tried out completely new classes such as creative writing and women’s studies. In short – don’t rule out applying for Study USA just because you’re not a business student. The business skills I gained made me feel stronger in my position going forward into my career, and I’m grateful I had the chance to learn more about business in such a unique way.

A taste of the USA

Now for the fun stuff: living in the States was amazing! I loved every second, even when I wasn’t loving it. When I was presented with the reality of returning home pre-lockdown, I was distraught to be leaving so soon and not getting to finish the year on a high. Of course, I’m still incredibly grateful that I had the opportunity and the experiences I did. I got to visit NYC, explore Washington DC, take a Spring Break road trip to the mountains, and even a 9-hour drive to Florida (and back- we should have flown). And, of course, explore plenty of North Carolina. One of my favourite parts of being in The South was the BBQ! I can’t even write this without thinking about North Carolinian chopped BBQ, coleslaw and vinegar based hot sauce – and then there was the Mexican food! Sorry Boojum, but I’ve seen the light.

Joining the frat pack

Ultimately though, my favourite memories of my time in the States are less to do with all the cool places I got to see, and more to do with my friends and experiencing American college life. I thought I was prepared for the ‘American college experience’, I’d seen the films I thought I knew the craic. One thing I was not ready for was the sheer level of enthusiasm I was met with. From day one I became a Pacer, embroiled in college tradition and part of tight knit, caring community. I loved all the free merch we got to show off our ‘Pacer pride’, the welcome dinners on the front lawn and the events put on for students. Weekdays were always so busy with sports games (I’m now an avid basketball fan), ice cream socials or movie screenings, not to mention several failed Zumba classes. It was great being so involved. 

Treasured friendships

My friends made my year though. I met some of the most fantastic people (and of course some not so great ones – but that’s just life!). I got particularly lucky with my suitemate Shawntez though. We met in the bathroom, where so many great female friendships begin, and were pretty much inseparable after that. What I miss the most from my time on Study USA is the people. It’s cringey but it’s true. It was my friends who made 8am classes bearable, or broke up the tedium of cafeteria food with weeknight trips to Wendy’s for burgers. My favourite memory with Shawntez was the NC State Fair. We accidentally parked 2 miles away, refused to wait for the shuttle bus so walked down a highway in the rain only to queue for 40 minutes just to get inside. But you know what, we still had the best time. Our night ended at 1am with a giant turkey leg, chocolate dipped cheesecake, and an entire deep fried onion. An initial disaster turned into the best memory.

Interested?

Your main reason for studying abroad might not be to meet amazing friends you will inevitably have to leave, but it’s these people who end up making the day to day life, classes, homework and missing home enjoyable. 

Sometimes I scroll though my camera roll looking at my photos from last year, and it still doesn’t always feel real. The experiences I had genuinely changed how I look at and approach the world in the best possible way, and my resilience has increased 10 times over. It wasn’t all plain sailing. Naturally there were times when I longed to go home and see my family, but I would do the whole thing all over again in a heartbeat if I could, the bad and the good. 

If you’re even the tiniest bit considering that you might like to spend some time studying abroad, I would encourage you to take the plunge and apply. Start the process and you never know how far you might get. 

Find out more about Study USA by joining our information session on Oct 20 and Nov 3

Register via our events page

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29 Amazing Companies To Meet at the Go Global Fair 2020

Who’s ready to shake off 2020? You can start planning the 2021 you deserve at Go Global Week from 12-15 October. Culminating in the virtual Go Global Fair on 14 October, this is your chance to chat to organisations that can offer you an experience of a lifetime to study, work or volunteer abroad during your degree. Here is just a snapshot of some of the organisations you can meet.

American Summers

Summer camp jobs Stateside

British Council – Study USA 

Spend a full academic year at an American college or university studying business or business and STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology and Maths).

British Council – IAESTE

Are you a science, engineering, technology or applied arts student? From electronics in Japan to earthquake detection technology in Colombia, an IAESTE placement is a guaranteed way to boost your career. 

BUNAC

Life-changing global work and travel

Camp America

Offering cultural exchange USA summer jobs in America.

Campus France UK

By studying in France, you will discover a diverse country with a rich and multi-cultural history.

CRCC Asia

Internships Abroad in China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, India. 

Erasmus Programme – Study and Work 

Exciting opportunities for UK participants to study, work, volunteer, teach and train abroad in Europe.

EcoSwell

The aim of EcoSwell’s volunteer internship program is to drive the creation and implementation of our sustainability projects, whilst transforming our volunteer-interns into agents of change.

First Derivatives

As recruiter Jordan Hendricks recently told us at an Employer Panel: “Our graduate recruits have gone to New York, London, Australia, Munich – you can go anywhere where we have clients. There is a big social aspect to it as well.”

Global Volunteering International (GVI)

Worldwide sustainable development programs.

Gotoco

Funded and free summer camps and TEFL in China.

Habitat for Humanity

Help families around the world build and improve places to call home.

Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET)

An official Japanese Government scheme aiming to improve foreign language teaching in schools and to promote international understanding.

Jameson International Graduate Programme

Kick-start your career in marketing on a global stage.

Opportunity China

A gateway to exciting and enriching teaching opportunities in China.

Meddeas

Teach English in Spain

Mountbatten Institute

Connecting top global businesses with the brightest young professionals.

Pagoda Projects

Internships in China, Vietnam and Mexico.

Politrip

Short-term volunteer placements on international political campaigns

Raleigh International

Work in remote, rural areas to improve access to safe water and sanitation.

Rian Immigrant Center 

Provides Irish students and graduates with the opportunity to gain professional skills and experience across the U.S.

The Student Language Bureau

Work placements abroad for UK modern language students.

University Exchange Programme to Australia and Canada

Spend a year or a semester studying in Canada or Australia.

USA Summer Camps

Your perfect summer job is waiting.

US-UK Fulbright Commission

Scholarships for postgraduate study in the US

University of Poitiers

Study in Poitiers, France

Work the World

Tailor-made electives and placements in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Washington Ireland Program

The Washington Ireland Program (WIP) inspires and develops promising leaders through a program of personal development, policy debate and community service.

Register for the Go Global Fair here: