As a computer science student I don’t get quite as many opportunities to explore current and relevant concepts in the humanities like gender, sexuality, and sustainability. During my semester abroad, I took advantage of the computer science courses available to expand the breadth of my knowledge.
Through my explorations of Europe, I learned to observe differences in society and culture (ethnography) and to do so with an awareness of my own standpoint and epistemology. Finally, I was able to become involved with Remembrance after visiting Lockerbie, Scotland on an ambassadorial trip. My experience abroad has made me a more well-rounded person, given me skills to think deeper about culture and society, and given me the context to contribute meaningfully to international efforts like Remembrance.
This was my first time abroad, and only my second time flying, but I dove right in with seven flights in 11 days for my pre-semester signature seminar trip. In that sense, almost everything on this journey surprised me. From the cultural differences in each place that I visited, to the occurrence of several historic events in the UK, I experienced much that I did not expect. In terms of wrote knowledge, I learned a lot about UK governance and politics before arriving to London. I would describe myself as a fairly geographically challenged person, and so I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed learning about these topics as well as with how much I remembered them. However, the one thing that surprised me the most, was how much I would get used to living abroad. I got to the point of quite honestly considering London my home for those few months. Stepping outside of my comfort zone and overcoming any concerns that I had has been a very meaningful experience in and of itself.
This experience has given me the tools to thoughtfully consider culturally responsive practices and ideas in my everyday life, and hopefully within my career as well. I hope to incorporate what I’ve learned in my future career to enhance accessibility of software and services. I also hope to further explore the international aspects of computer science and technology, for example, I hope to get a better understanding of what technology standards are US-only and what are international. Beyond this, I hope to return to London or somewhere else in Europe in the future, whether that be for further studies, internships, or jobs upon graduation.