My Study Abroad Experience in London

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story by Taylor Cobb

Studying abroad in spring 2015 was a decision that I chose to embark on roughly four years prior. As I prepare to graduate from Temple University's Strategic Communications department, I realize my pathway to studying abroad was not typical. Born and raised in North Philadelphia, it was clear that I always wanted to expose myself to cultures beyond my own. A section of Philadelphia with high poverty, high crime, and high unemployment, and a 6% college graduation rate, I found myself aspiring to become more than my surroundings.

 

The study abroad conversation started at my beloved Boys and Girls Club of Philadelphia. There was a writing competition that gave participants an opportunity to travel to the 2012 World Olympics in London, England. The selection committee for the competition had to choose between my sister and I. Knowing one day that I would study abroad, I let my sister go instead.

 

Mentorship led me to this position. My mentor Cynthia Estermera, now an English Department doctoral student at Lehigh University, stated that the best thing I could do in my university experience was study abroad, for a longer duration of time. Thus, I took the challenge.

 

Despite many oppositional factors that contributed to tears, ripped applications, and long hot chocolate breaks, I got all the funding and social support needed to study abroad. After a sleepless night, hugs and tears at the airport before boarding, and an eight­hour plane landing, I was in my destination of choice. The wonderful city of London, England. Not knowing the difference between British English and American English, I found myself in a seven­-day culture shock about the cost of a pound, the under­seasoned fish and chips, and mere confusion about being in a new place without the near my family. My first time away from home ignited anger, which changed thanks to the friends on this journey together. Meeting all 30 participants in the Temple University London program changed my whole perspective.

 

In addition to this, I became fully immersed in London culture with weekly excursions through the Foundation of International Education and my internship at The Winch, where I was first introduced to a social enterprise/social entrepreneurship. The Winch is a nonprofit based in London, whose mission is to serve disenfranchised youth from cradle to career. Their pipeline approach targets high ­risk youth ensures support at all points in of development.

 

Their introduction into social entrepreneurship prompted me to propose a similar type of business plan to the City of Philadelphia in a competition where my partner and I won second place. This experience also led me to my most recent experiences with Diversity Abroad, the African­ American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ, & DE, Temple University Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, Advocacy, and Leadership, and other individual projects.

 

Studying abroad was one of the best learning experiences I had. Traveling to sixteen cities and five countries brought a new sense of individuality in addition to self worth. I aim to have a future revolving community advancement, inclusion, and business development.

Studying abroad in spring 2015 was a decision that I chose to embark on roughly four years prior. As I prepare to graduate from Temple University's Strategic Communications department, I realize my pathway to studying abroad was not typical. Born and raised in North Philadelphia, it was clear that I always wanted to expose myself to cultures beyond my own. A section of Philadelphia with high poverty, high crime, and high unemployment, and a 6% college graduation rate, I found myself aspiring to become more than my surroundings.

The study abroad conversation started at my beloved Boys and Girls Club of Philadelphia. There was a writing competition that gave participants an opportunity to travel to the 2012 World Olympics in London, England. The selection committee for the competition had to choose between my sister and I. Knowing one day that I would study abroad, I let my sister go instead.

Mentorship led me to this position. My mentor Cynthia Estermera, now an English Department doctoral student at Lehigh University, stated that the best thing I could do in my university experience was study abroad, for a longer duration of time. Thus, I took the challenge.

Despite many oppositional factors that contributed to tears, ripped applications, and long hot chocolate breaks, I got all the funding and social support needed to study abroad. After a sleepless night, hugs and tears at the airport before boarding, and an eight­hour plane landing, I was in my destination of choice. The wonderful city of London, England. Not knowing the difference between British English and American English, I found myself in a seven­day culture shock about the cost of a pound, the under­seasoned fish and chips, and mere confusion about being in a new place without the near my family. My first time away from home ignited anger, which changed thanks to the friends on this journey together. Meeting all 30 participants in the Temple University London program changed my whole perspective.

In addition to this, I became fully immersed in London culture with weekly excursions through the Foundation of International Education and my internship at The Winch, where I was first introduced to a social enterprise/social entrepreneurship. The Winch is a nonprofit based in London, whose mission is to serve disenfranchised youth from cradle to career. Their pipeline approach targets high­risk youth ensures support at all points in of development.

Their introduction into social entrepreneurship prompted me to propose a similar type of business plan to the City of Philadelphia in a competition where my partner and I won second place. This experience also led me to my most recent experiences with Diversity Abroad, the African­American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ, & DE, Temple University Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, Advocacy, and Leadership, and other individual projects.

Studying abroad was one of the best learning experiences I had. Traveling to sixteen cities and five countries brought a new sense of individuality in addition to self­worth. I aim to have a future revolving community advancement, inclusion, and business development. 

Taylor Cobb

by

Taylor Cobb is a Temple University senior graduating with a Bachelors of Arts in Strategic Communications. Taylor is a leader on campus in diversity and inclusion and hopes to be a leader around the world.

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