Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

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Bex Abroad: A Love Letter to Marshall

Bex+Abroad%3A+A+Love+Letter+to+Marshall

Reader, this will be the last time I write to you while abroad. I have had so much fun talking to you about the highs and lows of studying abroad, and I think overall this trip has been a huge success. I have 

learned, seen and experienced so much. With my last report from across the pond, I have struggled deciding what to write about. 

Together, we have learned how to get in contact and apply with the Study Abroad Office at Marshall. We’ve noticed the differences between American schools and British schools,  done some airport preparation, learned how to use public transportation and talked about food. I even got vulnerable to tell you about dealing with homesickness, something I didn’t expect to happen. 

So, as this chapter of my life comes to a close, I think I should tell you the new perspectives I have gained.

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Aside from its faults, I love the American school system. I love the busy work, going to lectures every week and having a busy schedule. Although British universities typically only take three years to complete, everything seems slower here. They take less classes every semester, and every class is once a week for three hours. 

This means the average student probably only attends one class a day. I understand the benefits of this; I have been able to focus completely on one class for a whole day, and my to-do list has seen the benefits of that. However, I think this has made it harder to make friends since I only see my classmates once a week. I think British schools combat this by having so few classes offered, so students move through the courses together. 

There are people in my classes who have been in the same classes for two years now. As a foreign student only here for one semester, it really has been challenging to make friends with how little we interact on a monthly basis. 

A lot about my time abroad has been challenging. I thought coming to an English-speaking country would mean there wouldn’t be many, if any, cultural barriers. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The social standards are different, and navigating how one is expected to act in any given space has been weird. It’s all different here–little things like getting your driver’s license or how loud you can be in a restaurant, as well as bigger things like deciding to go to a different country for the weekend. 

I am so beyond grateful to have learned these differences. I have been in college for many years (nine years, to be exact…I took some time off), and I have heard from so many different people and departments how important it is to utilize the access we have to traveling as college students. I didn’t really think it was that important to be honest. 

If I didn’t have friends living in this country, I probably would have never gone. I mean, I have been offered opportunities for nine years and haven’t done it until now. Believe me when I say: they. are. right. Spending this time away from home, my friends and my family has shown me what kind of person I really am. I have had to learn skills and immediately use them that I would have never had to learn within the comfort of the country I have known and understood my whole life. 

This is the hardest thing about this experience to put into words: you won’t understand how different you will feel outside of your ultimate comfort zone until you dare to step out of it. 

I have also learned how important it is to have a strong support system. This seems like a given, but leaving a country for a new time zone really shows you who you hold dearest and if they feel the same way. Staying connected to my friends at home and being able to connect with my friends living here has been the most heartwarming experience. I don’t know if I would have been able to make it through this if it weren’t for my weekly phone calls with my best friend Cece. Shout out to you, girlie. 

I also want to try to sell you on my biggest revelation: we go to the best school in the world. As previously stated, I have been in college for many years. I have been to five different schools, and adding Marshall and Anglia Ruskin means I have been to seven schools altogether.  At no other university have I felt so supported, academically and emotionally. I will shamelessly plug the College of Arts and Media in this moment, as I think this feeling of support is in no small part due to my involvement in the best college on campus. I feel valued and prepared for the workforce. I entered the School of Journalism unsure of what I wanted, and it was in the Smith Hall hallways that I figured that out. 

Marshall doesn’t care where you came from or how you found your way here; regardless, the Herd will embrace you, spotlight your strengths, challenge your weaknesses and turn you into the best version of yourself. I am absolutely humbled by the opportunities I have found through Marshall. I think before leaving I liked Marshall, but having left and come back, I find myself loving Marshall, wild and wonderful West Virginia and Huntington. Even with the lack of crepe restaurants in Huntington, I still can’t wait to come back. 

I have loved being abroad. Since being abroad, I have started a podcast, seen the Eiffel Tower while eating French macaroons, spent many nights watching football, or soccer for you Americans, while drinking pints and laughing with friends (ManCity ‘til I die), had food from all over the world and been able to learn about poetry, popular culture and film from a non-American perspective which has been so fun. I celebrated Thanksgiving with a French man and a British man. I have lived in Cambridge and visited London, Oxford, Paris, Reading, Kent, Ireland and Manchester. It has been a proper whirlwind of an experience. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. All of this has been made sweeter with the knowledge that I get to come back home– home to West Virginia, home to Huntington and home to Marshall.

I love you, Marshall. See you in 33 days!

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About the Contributor
Bex Law, Student Reporter
Rebecca “Bex'' Law is a student at Marshall University, graduating in 2024 with a Bachelor’s in Multimedia Journalism, with a minor in Gender & Women’s Studies. Bex loves working on campus, having previously served on the Title IX Task Force, as executive producer of TEDxMarshallU in 2022/23, at WMUL and at the Parthenon. In her personal life, Bex is passionate about volunteering at Harmony House, church and the United Nations. She loves iced coffee, dogs with long noses and stand-up comedy specials on Netflix, but her favorite thing to do is learn, which is why she wants to go to college forever. So far, her plan is working.
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