Year Abroad: ‘I had the Best Time and Would do it Again in a Heartbeat!’

George Howell is from Maidstone, Kent and is studying International Business with a Year Abroad and studied in Kansas, USA.

“I have always loved to travel and experience different cultures. Therefore, when I applied to university after A Levels I went for International Business with a Year Abroad. I loved the fact that I got to study and travel at the same time, as an extension of my BSc degree.

Of course, the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 certainly made things a little more difficult because of the uncertainty surrounding travel at the time. Thankfully, restrictions began to lift just in time and I was given a free reign of exciting locations to choose from.

I went for the University of Kansas in the USA as I love American culture. The placements team at Kent were incredibly and I eagerly awaited my immigration documents.  Once they arrived, I then had to apply for a visa and go through an interviewing process. I had full support of the team at Kent who helped to quell any nerves about uprooting for a year.

Finding accommodation was a little tricky as I wanted to stay off campus and many apartments require an American guarantor, which thankfully I managed to secure and get my dream base for student life in the US.

The first day was indeed daunting, but I was excited. I still remember speaking in class for the first time and everyone staring at me like I was an alien because of the accent. Everyone was so friendly though and made me very comfortable.

One of the biggest hurdles was the weather. In February it was -12 Celsius and in summer it would be 30+ most days. I was not prepared for the cold and going to class I would be wrapped up in about five layers!

My favourite moment was going to New Orleans for the national basketball championship. KU ended up winning and we had a great time.

The hardest part of the year was missing my girlfriend who I barely saw for 9 months. Flippant as it sounds, I also longed for a decent curry, as the Indian food out there is scarce. It made me value the culinary scene in Britain!

The absolute best thing about the placement was getting to visit various different states. Each state has its differences it’s almost like visiting a new country sometimes. I visited Texas, Louisiana, West Virginia, Philadelphia, Missouri, Oklahoma

Doing a Year Abroad was a real learning curve for me, as the style of learning in America is completely different to ours in the UK. The US is more homework based and heavily group orientated.

Travelling and moving to a country makes you solely responsible for yourself which has of course made me be more responsible. Unfortunately, I think I have a travel bug now and want to keep on the move!

I made lots of friends over there who I keep in touch with. I also had a friend come over and stay with me for two weeks in the UK, which he loved.

If someone asked me about doing a Year Abroad I just say, honestly just go for it. Everyone would be a little nervous, but just throw yourself into it and you will love it. I had the best time and would do it again in a heartbeat.”

For more information on our Year Abroad options at the University of Kent, visit Study abroad – Go Abroad – University of Kent


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