Study Abroad Excursions

By: Samantha Griswold '14

If studying abroad is supposed to help broaden one’s education, my experience certainly did that. When you tell people you did a semester abroad, they expect you to have lived with other American exchange students in a foreign country while frolicking around a new city, taking the occasional class or two. Being with American students and taking one or two classes doesn’t really sound like a full immersion into foreign university culture to me, however. The University of Southampton Exchange gives you the opportunity for full culture immersion. First off, living in residence halls with British students forces you to make some international friends. Secondly, you take a full course load, allowing you to experience foreign teaching techniques. Most important for me was the opportunity to join clubs and teams that I wouldn’t have joined at Webb due to lack of numbers and interest.

While at Southampton I played for the University’s varsity lacrosse team. With practices twice a week and games and social events once a week, I was able to forge strong friendships with people outside of the maritime world. Don’t get me wrong—I love people who like boats, but it is really nice to be able to interact with people with whom you can share other common interests. One benefit of playing on the varsity lacrosse team was the opportunity to travel to and compete against different British universities. My team travelled to Bath, Exeter, and Bristol. On one occasion we were even able to stop by Stonehenge on the way home from a match. From these experiences I was able to gain a broad understanding of British university culture. Being on the ladies lacrosse team gave me an experience I would be hard pressed to find at Webb. Being part of the SULLC (Southampton University Ladies Lacrosse Club) also gave me the opportunity to be part of a family, similar to the one I was missing at Webb. This was definitely a plus, as sometimes I was pretty homesick during my stay in Southampton. Being part of the SULLC was a memory I will never forget.