UMD: A Globally Connected University

Shiffali Singh

Program: BMGT Exchange: Manchester Business School (United Kingdom)​
Term: Fall 2017
Major: Operations Management & Business Analytics and Marketing 

Study abroad was truly a life changing experience. Not only did it allow me to be more independent, but I also met amazing friends who I know I will last a lifetime. I also got to travel more than I ever have in my entire life, and this made me realize how much I need [to travel in] my job. I can definitely see myself going back to Manchester in the future, and who knows, even living there again! 

Advice for future #TerpsAbroad: As a first-generation American whose parents grew up in India, it was so interesting going abroad and meeting students whose grandparents immigrated to England from India--making the students second generation. It was really interesting to hear their stories and see how certain cultural norms were different for them. My advice to you as a first-generation student going abroad is to always jump on opportunities to learn more about other people! 

While studying abroad, Iceland was an absolutely magical destination I got to visit. It was the first stop on my long list of travels, and it did not disappoint. There is something so magical about Iceland and all the beauty that is found in the nature there. From the hot springs, to the vast waterfalls, and to the wild horses that roam the streets--there is something magical for everyone to see in Iceland. It was amazing to see how the Icelandic people lived and how there were only two universities in the entire country! Even though Iceland is located far away from many highly developed nations, I was surprised to see how globalization had played into the environment there with the presence of places like Domino's, Subway and Ikea. I already know I will be going back to Iceland very, very soon! 

Advice for future #TerpsAbroad: If you have the opportunity to go abroad, most definitely do it! A lot of people in my life told me a semester would be a very long time abroad, but truth is I wish I stayed even longer! When people say time flies, it really does. Also, people say adjusting and making new friends can be difficult, but it really is not. Your university is likely to have different events for exchange students to meet other people studying abroad, and local students, so you are sure to leave having met so many unique and amazing people. Before going abroad, I wish I would've listened when people said to pack light! You can find most things you will need abroad (especially at Primark if you are going to Europe) so there really is no need to overpack. You want room to bring home souvenirs and memories from your experiences! ​

The hardest part about studying abroad was being abroad and missing out on big family events such as Thanksgiving. It was also hard being abroad during the Halloween season--which is celebrated so festively in America and is one of my favorite times of year--but is barely celebrated in many parts of Europe. Though it was hard missing out on these events, I reminded myself I was taking part in a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I found ways to bring the festivities to where I was. I made a Thanksgiving dinner for my friends and I, and I also decorated my room for Halloween. It ended up being a great festive season that was so unique from any others I have had!