Published on August 3rd, 2013 | by Rachel Budke0
Collin’s Study Abroad Advice
Meet Collin, one of my very best friends. As I’m sure you’ll see from his interview answers, he is a naturally funny person and a very good writer. He just has a way of naturally lighting up a room – sounds cheesy, but I don’t know how else to put it. Collin (sort of) wrote a blog while he was studying abroad. You can visit it here. It’s only three posts, but nevertheless, they are definitely worth reading.
Where do you currently live and what school do/did you attend?
My name is Collin Heng-Patton. I live in Denver, Colorado and attend the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado. (#redundant).
Where did you study abroad?
I studied abroad at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. FYI for anyone reading, the w is silent. Biggest joke upon arrival in London — “Excuse me, how do I get to NorWich?” Reply: “Ain’t no witches here.” Yikes.
Why did you choose to study there?
Sadly, Norwich was my last resort option. Originally I had planned to do Semester at Sea (spending my time rounding Asia, Africa, and a wholesome chunk of Europe. When I sawthe price tag, I set my heart on Spain or Italy. Again, too much money. Then I decided, as an Englishmajor, what better place to study than England. It only took me two days until the application deadline to decide — complete shitshow. Fortunately, being broke was the best thing that ever happened to me because, studying abroad, I made friends for a lifetime.
How long did you study abroad for?
I studied abroad for one semester. Definitely not enough time.
What was your favorite part about studying abroad?
My favorite part about studying abroad was being able to put my life in Colorado on pause to go to a new place and switch it up with an entirely new batch of people. Most of my flatmates were British rather than international students — perfect opportunity to say that I have friends in multiple countries. At the same time it sucks because we grew so close in such a short time and now all of my UEA friends are so far away. I mean there is the promise that they will come here or I will find my way back to Norwich, but, in the meantime, I miss them a ton. Two of my best friends, however, are stateside and I’ve already visited one in Massachusetts and am currently making plans to see the other. Thank God for Facebook, Skype, and Twitter otherwise, we would be royally screwed.
What was the easiest adjustment for you while abroad?
The easiest thing for me was meeting new people. Especially at my university where the atmosphere was friendly and super chill. That being said, my advice to anyone studying abroad is to be aggressively social. Walk the line between outgoing and needy because it pays of in the end. I’m sure anyone would agree that it would be better to spend the semester out with friends rather than alone in your room. Be especially outgoing in that awkward phase when you’ve met people, but you aren’t sure if you’re friends. That is crucial.
What was the most difficult adjustment?
My worst adjustment was the first two weeks or so. When I first arrived in England I was two tears away from throwing myself off the roof of my hotel. I cried so much because of how I missed home and family and friends. I felt alone. It definitely gets better, you just have to put yourself out there.
What’s your biggest piece of advice for someone who is going to study abroad?
Travel and explore and record as much as you possibly can. You never know when you’ll be back.