Written by Ally Griggs
BA (Hons) Communication and Media
Following a successful written application I was selected to study at Montclair State University in New Jersey from August 2015- December 2015. I was excited at the prospect of having that typical ‘college experience’, you know the kind you see might see in one of those cheesy American films?… It’s safe to say this wasn’t the case and my time at Montclair differed to my initial (unrealistic) expectations, but I can categorically state that my study abroad was the most enriching experience I have had and filled with more incredible experiences than I could have possibly conjured up!
Montclair was always my first choice when deciding where I wanted to study because I simply could not pass up the opportunity to live just 20 minutes away from the bustling city of New York, a place which I had been obsessed with since a child.
When I arrived at Montclair any hint of anticipation I had soon dissipated to excitement as I was instantly struck by the magnitude of this new uni I could label ‘home’. From the baseball stadium to the university train station and to the large pool outside of my uni halls… it was clear that this was a far cry from the seaside uni I knew.
During my time abroad I stayed in the International halls on campus which housed students from every corner of the world. At first I questioned whether I would be able to find common ground with people whose first language might not be English…. but needless to say I was very wrong. I made some of the greatest friends during my time abroad including my roommate who was Austrian and is now one of my best friends. Staying in international halls also allowed me to expand my global mind-set as I was able to speak to people from various countries and learn new things about places I had very little knowledge of.
I took a range of different classes at Montclair from ‘writing and reporting for tv and radio’ to ‘race, ethnicity and the media’ to ‘organization and group leadership’ and a few more. It took me a while to adapt to the way in which classes were taught in America as it differed greatly from the UK. For instance, my classes were relatively small and we had lots of small assignments each week instead of a few assignments each term.
Throughout my study abroad I deemed it important to strike a balance between having fun and challenging myself. So although, I did become pretty familiar with the clubbing & bar scene in NY & also travel to Miami and Atlantic City with friends I met at Montclair I also created a blog during my time there. I wrote on my blog weekly and wrote a range of posts including an interview I conducted with a homeless woman I met in the city.
So to whoever might be reading this if you have the opportunity to study abroad I encourage you to simply go for it as it will allow you to discover new things and grow as a person in a foreign (exciting) environment!