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Study Abroad - Sophie Harrold

Name: Sophie Harrold

Degree: Marketing Management

Location(s): The College of New Jersey (USA)

Why did you decide to do study abroad?

As a business undergraduate looking to enter the labour market, I decided to study abroad as it strengthens my likelihood to secure a job once I graduate. Furthermore, the opportunity to study abroad has always been of interest to me as I am passionate about travelling independently. I am a confident individual always seeking new challenges. Studying abroad took me out of my comfort zone and broadened my social network as I made lifelong friends as well as new business connections. Additionally, my interest to study abroad stems from travelling with friends and family and I wanted to involve myself in a new culture whilst building upon my marketing knowledge.

Why did you decide to go to the university you went to?

I decided to study at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) due to its location in East America. I have been lucky enough to explore the US before however, I had not visited the East Coast, and this was highly attractive to me. The University prides itself with their business connections and their classes looked highly interesting across all educational areas. TCNJ is a close-community campus and as an international student looking to study abroad this was highly important to me as it meant I would easily make friends and find great societies and sport groups to join. The most important factor that I considered when choosing TCNJ was the location of the campus. I was able to visit Washington DC, New York, Philadelphia and Pennsylvania all within a car journey of each other.

What was your stand out moment during study abroad?

As previously mentioned, TCNJ was considered a small campus meaning there was a strong community feeling. The friends I have made through studying abroad I will always treasure; I was able to explore the US with those I now consider as close friends. TCNJ offered an international house and through this I have made new friends across America, Australia, Japan and the UK. As the majority of British students joined the rugby team, I became close with the sports team and their housemates. The standout moment for me was the Rugby Formal which was held at the end of the year. I was given the opportunity to dress up and attend the formal with a date amongst all my friends I had made that Semester. The Rugby Formal was a celebration at the end of term to celebrate the team’s success and ultimately gave an insight to the American “prom” culture.

Was it expensive to study abroad?

Once I had been accepted to study at TCNJ, I began to search for flights to Newark Airport as I knew flights can become expensive. I was lucky enough to find a cheap flight with Aerlingus and I would recommend this company to those looking at flying to the US. I bought a return ticket for £400 from Leeds Bradford to Newark International with one stopover in Dublin. The TCNJ University culture is vastly different to Northumbria as I was offered a meal plan which covered unlimited access to the University canteen, as well as 250 points to spend amongst the campus coffee shops and convenience stores. The accommodation fee and meal plan are a lump sum paid before arrival however, I found the food plan to be highly beneficial and worth the amount spent. With regards to travelling costs, the University is a 20-minute ride from Hamilton train station which costs $1.60 or a $12 Uber. A return train ticket to New York cost $30 and could be used on any Transit train. I found the costs to travel fairly cheap and it was easy for me to explore new States particularly using the train services.

Do you think your experience helped you in your studies at Northumbria and your career?

The classes taught at TCNJ were highly beneficial as it offered an insight to marketing which covered psychological aspects as well as theories I have not come across before. In particular, the professional selling class was extremely interesting as I was given the opportunity to pitch myself in front of business clients and my assignment included practical examination. This will be highly beneficial during my final year of study at Northumbria as I will be able to offer a new perspective in my written reports and I am able to pitch myself in a professional and confident manner. Furthermore, the assessments at TCNJ placed a high importance on mid-term and final exams, this improved my notetaking skills as I had to become more efficient, this will be effective during lectures at Northumbria. Overall, my experience as TCNJ enabled me to build upon my cultural awareness and was a personal challenge to which I overcame. I will use all the skills I have learnt from my experience in my future career as a business woman as I feel I am more independent and acceptable towards new challenges.

If you could offer some advice to students thinking of going on study abroad what would you say?

To students who are looking to study abroad, my main piece of advice would be to make as many friends as you can and never say no to an opportunity to visit a new restaurant, city, friend’s house or event. My best memories were made with my group of friends from TCNJ and exploring the US with them. I would also place an importance on joining a sports team or society, as Greek Life is a huge aspect of the American culture and it is interesting to experience the social life amongst American students and their sororities and fraternities.

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