How did your time at Harlaxton impact your college studies and transform you?
It is hard for me fully comprehend how Harlaxton has changed me. As people, we are always changing, but being at Harlaxton added a change in scenery and culture that definitely had an impact on me in ways I still cannot describe. It has helped me understand that my sense of what history meant as an American was barely on the scale of England. I am now more attuned to what cultural differences do and do not mean. But more than anything, I think I learned how well I can survive outside my comfort zone.
What was your favorite thing about studying at Harlaxton?
The people. I think UE generally has a student body that is supportive, but Harlaxton magnifies that tenfold or more. The professors are also good. They want to see you succeed and learn from this experience. Everyone at the Bistro was good and the security team too.
Did you take program-specific classes at Harlaxton, and what was unique about them?
While I didn’t take any classes in my major, I did see two monarchs and three prime ministers. As for how it is different from UE, I think the classes are designed for you to hear about something and go see it in a way that UE or a typical college in America could never do.
What piece of advice would you give to someone planning to study at Harlaxton?
I know you get promised a castle in a kind of fairy tale. My advice is to forget about that and go into it with little or no expectations. Some students took some adjusting to the reality that the dorm is the same size or smaller. I didn’t come in with those expectations, so I recognized that I was in another country for the first time experiencing new things. It also was a pretty cool building.
Why do you recommend studying abroad?
Looking back, I think the biggest reason to do it is to learn to get out of your comfort zone. Also for people like me who think they know a lot because they have absorbed a lot of information, I think it is helpful because you learn you don’t know anything.
How has the Manor become your second home? Do you plan to return someday?
Saying goodbye to everyone was one of the saddest experiences of my life - even sadder than saying goodbye to my parents at the start of my freshman year. They had become a family to me, and I didn’t even realize it. That was the most impressive part to me: not the building itself, but the relationships I made with everyone. I hope to go back. If I do, as soon as the Bistro is open I am going down and ordering a John Special, which is a drink named after me still on the menu. Order it and find out what it is.
Do you have a favorite trip from your time spent abroad?
Belgium was fun. In some ways, it seems rather quaint and trapped in history. In other ways, it seems like it is the Avant-Garde of weird compared to America. Wales was also nice. I got lost when we were supposed to leave, but everything worked out in the end.