#StudyAbroadBecause you deserve to have your life changed

by Dr. Jessie Voigts / Mar 18, 2015 /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

Kaytlin Nowell is a student at Mississippi State University majoring in Communications with a minor in International Studies. As a media student, she loves writing, researching, and studying communication practices in public relations and journalism. Her passion for communications was intensified after her time in London for study abroad. Her time in London also gave her a passion for travel and international education. An avid Parks and Recreation fan, she can usually be found in a coffee shop with a book and her computer. She loves sports, her family and is always looking for a new adventure.

 

Big Ben from first walking tour. Kaytlin Nowell #StudyAbroadBecause you deserve to have your life changed

Big Ben from first walking tour

 

What motivated your decision to go abroad? How/why did you choose where to go?

I went abroad because I needed a new perspective. I was really drowning in school and had trouble finding my place. I chose to join a public relations course at the London College of Communication. I chose London because it is the epitome of an urban center, and I was stuck in Smalltown, USA. I wanted to really learn public relations in a new context so I chose Academic Programs International Integrated Studies program in London.

 

Leaving! With my family in the airport. Kaytlin Nowell #StudyAbroadBecause you deserve to have your life changed

Leaving! With my family in the airport.

 

What was your experience like? What is your favorite memory? What were some challenges you observed?

My experience felt like coming home. I found a niche in PR and really developed my skills and way of thinking. I understood more how small I am and became so thankful for how life is in Mississippi, my home, and how life is in London neither being wrong but each being different. My favorite memory was my commute. I had never flown before, never used public transportation, and I basically learned it on my own. I felt so empowered when I conquered the Tube and riding the buses. So I will always treasure my trip to school crossing the Thames and seeing Big Ben and the Eye every day. My biggest challenge was holding on to my identity. Sometimes I wanted to leave my small town life behind, but I was forced to remember that was part of who I am and it also shaped my experience.

 

Fountains Abbey Excursion. Kaytlin Nowell #StudyAbroadBecause you deserve to have your life changed

Fountains Abbey Excursion

 

What skills did you develop from your experience? Do you feel changed from your experience abroad?

I gained perspective abroad. I felt my tunnel vision expand. Life is not just college, it’s not just work, and it’s not just me. We are all a part of something bigger than our current bubble and I never really processed the gravity of that until I went abroad.

 

I joined the club football team with my uni in London. This is me with my team. Kaytlin Nowell #StudyAbroadBecause you deserve to have your life changed

I joined the club football team with my uni in London. This is me with my team.

 

Has your experience helped you get to where you are today?

My experience paved the path I want to take in my life. I want people to experience this paradigm shift in their own terms but in how it benefits them best.

 

Me in the Highlands in Scotland.Kaytlin Nowell #StudyAbroadBecause you deserve to have your life changed

Me in the Highlands in Scotland.

 

What advice would you share with other students who are thinking of going abroad?

I would advise students to understand the investment and be aware of the far-reaching possibilities. Costs are high, but so is the return. I would also advise students to go alone. I think traveling with people you already know greatly affects your experience. For me, I felt empowered and more enabled to pave my way in how I needed, without being obligated to others.

 

Loch Ness, Scotland. Kaytlin Nowell #StudyAbroadBecause you deserve to have your life changed

Loch Ness, Scotland

 

How has international education impacted or influenced your cultural identity?

I accepted my cultural identity and how it shaped me when I went abroad. For a while I was ashamed of how limited my international experience was but then I realized the difference also set me apart.

 

Guy Fawkes Day Celebration in North London. Kaytlin Nowell #StudyAbroadBecause you deserve to have your life changed

Guy Fawkes Day Celebration in North London

 

Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

Be prepared to have your life forever changed. Once your eyes are opened, they can never be closed. Before London, I had never left the US. I roamed the southeast, but never out. My definition of contentment is forever changed and to be completely cliched, I left my heart in so many places across London, Scotland, and Ireland.

You know on greater reflection, I lied about my favorite memory. My favorite memory is going to be my weekend in Scotland. I travelled by bus on October 31, 2013 at 10pm and made it to Edinburgh at 6am. I was along, no one was expecting me and for one minute, I was terrified. However, I picked myself up, got to my hostel, and went exploring. I chose to hike Holyrood Park in Edinburgh. I went to the top, to Arthur’s Seat, and felt the wind whip me around while I saw the entirety of the city. I was awestruck by the strength God gave me to leave and not just leave but be strong enough to experience. When I feel weak, I remember that moment, feel that strength and keep working. I always used to tell my friends to bet on themselves because no one else will, and I think I never believed that until I went to London.

 

#StudyAbroadBecause You deserve to have your life changed.

 

 

 

All photos courtesy and copyright Kaytlin Nowell

 

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