Hi everyone! My name is Aileen Sheluck and I’ll be spending the Spring 2016 semester studying at University of Westminster in London, England. I’m a sophomore Finance major from Newtown, CT. I chose to study abroad because I really wanted the experience of being fully immersed in another culture. The only place outside of the US that I’ve been is Canada, and I knew that by studying in Europe I would have the ability to reach many countries in addition to the one where I’m studying. London was a big draw for me because, for one, they speak English there. I did take Spanish all throughout middle school and high school, but I knew that my knowledge was not substantial enough to allow me to function in a society where everyone there spoke it fluently. In addition, I knew that studying in London would give me a really good look into the international finance world. I was also able to take a bunch of finance classes there, which was really good for me because I’m in the 3+1 BS/MBA program, so I’m on a tight schedule and can’t get too far behind with my major. I also have always wanted to go to England. There are so many iconic sights there that I wanted to see – like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and the London Eye. I thought that I would get the most out of my study abroad experience by studying in London, so that’s why I chose to go there.
Even before starting this class, I knew that studying abroad would function like a rite of passage for me. Like I said, I’d never really been outside the country before. That in itself is a huge step for me in becoming a new person. I know that the separation phase of the rite of passage theory will be hard for me. I’m very close with my family, and I’ve lived in the same town for my entire life. It will be very difficult for me to leave the place I’ve grown up and experience every rite of passage in the past, like getting my driver’s license, graduating from high school, and leaving for college. As Lao Tzu said, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” Once I take that first step and physically separate myself from where I’m comfortable, I know I’ll be on the right track. I’m excited to go, though, and I’m really excited to see what my tricksters and challenges will be and who will become my communitas. I know that being a part of this type of experience will really help me to learn more about the rite of passage theory.