Student view:

Lauren Adams: Life-changing studies abroad

May 6, 2015

Lauren Adams is a senior from Detroit studying in the College of Nursing. She participated in a study abroad learning experience in London last summer.

Lauren Adams in a London phone boothWhile I was abroad I learned so much about the history and culture of England in regards to both World War I and II and the genesis and evolution of nursing as a profession.

In addition to class time we got to see so many spectacular views of the city and went to various field trips including: Parliament, the London Eye, the British Museum and Museum of London, St. Thomas’s Hospital and the Florence Nightingale museum, St. Mary’s Hospital, the Gordon Pathology and Fleming Museum, Churchill’s War Rooms, and the Old Operating Theatre, just to name a few. We also visited the Florence Nightingale home and her grave, and got to see Stonehenge from a distance.

However, one of the most life-changing trips that we took was to Eyam, Derbyshire. The city of Eyam was a city that suffered from the plague in 17th century in which many people lost their lives to the disease. Prior to leaving for my study abroad trip we had to read the book, “Year of Wonders,” by Geraldine Brooks, which depicted the lives of those who lived in the city of Eyam during the plague.

This experience was life changing because after reading the book and visiting this little village and seeing the character’s names from the book engraved on the plaques outside of the houses and on the grave stones was like seeing the book truly come to life. The city remained preserved so that it appeared as it did in the 17th century, and it was truly amazing. This particular experience is one of the many encounters that exemplifies how studying abroad is different and much more rewarding than learning on campus in a classroom.

Lauren Adams by Abbey Road signBesides the educational aspect to my study abroad experience, we were able to have a lot a free time outside of class and field trips. I went to some of the major shopping areas like Oxford and Regent’s Street, I saw Queen Elizabeth II, toured and had mass at St. Paul’s Cathedral, and completely immersed myself into the British culture. I tried so many delicious foods, like my favorite, Bangers and mash, and enjoyed the royal treatment of teatime in Kensington Palace.

After a short time, London quickly began to feel like home. In addition to my experiences in London, we got to have a long weekend to travel to other countries or enjoy London a little more before our final presentations and departure. I decided to go to Paris with my roommate, and Paris was absolutely breathtaking. I went to the Arc de Triomphe, the Catacombs, and the Louvre. I toured Notre Dame, climbed the Eiffel Tower and met Shaquille O’Neal!

I never thought that I would be able to visit the places that I have read about in textbooks and seen in movies, but I am living proof that you can do anything you set your mind to. I am a first-generation African American college student from Detroit. I grew up in a low-income, single-parent household. I am a Spartan, and I studied abroad!

Reprinted from the MSU Office of Study Abroad