Jessica Poulton is an International Student who was born and raised in Hampshire, England. She is a junior at Keele University in Staffordshire and studies English and American Literature. She is studying at UNCG for the Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 semesters. In a digital interview with Poulton, I was able to gain insight about what it is like to study abroad and the decisions that go into it.
Question 1: Why did you choose to study abroad?
Poulton: “I chose my home university, Keele University in Staffordshire, because it offered the amazing opportunity to study abroad, and it had always been something I had wanted to do since Sixth Form. Ever since I had studied the American works of A Streetcar Named Desire and The Bell Jar, I had gained a fascination with American literature, and where else is best to study modern American classics than in the country itself?”
Question 2: Why did you choose to study in the United States?
Poulton: “Even though it was the American novels I had studied that intrigued me to venture over here, I feel like the USA upholds a completely different set of values and ideals in comparison to Europe, and I wanted to explore these. America is often referred to as the ‘Land of the Free’, some even stating how it is the ‘Greatest Country in the World’, and I wanted to see where this ideology comes from for myself! Also, it’s warmer over here, so… I can ditch my umbrella.”
Question 3: Why did you choose UNCG?
Poulton: “Well, UNCG wasn’t my first choice actually! I had applied for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville first, but unfortunately they had cancelled the exchange program they had with Keele University, and I was given my second choice of UNCG. But goodness me, I am so glad I am here! I chose this one to be my second choice because the International Exchange Advisor, Dee Stafford, had given it a glorious introduction and the downtown area seemed buzzing and full of life! Like Keele, I feel that UNCG has that community feel you want from an on-campus University, and the amount of events going on each and every day ensures that anyone’s time here is never a dull moment.”
Question 4: What has been your favorite part of studying abroad?
Poulton: “Definitely meeting new people! I think of myself as a social butterfly anyways, but here I am constantly bumping into the internationals I know from Tower Village who are from Scotland, France, Spain, Germany, Sweden and Belgium and saying hello! It’s nice that there are quite a few Europeans here, because it almost feels like I am close to home! But in my classes I am enjoying interacting and making plans with my friends from America, and that’s making my experience really special!”
Question 5: What has been your favorite class at UNCG?
Poulton: “Well, I do love all my classes, but I really love my ENG-425 ‘Writing Fiction: Advanced’ class. I do see myself as a writer, sometimes, and in this class, I can really let my ideas flow and share them with new people who haven’t read my work before!”
Question 6: What is some advice you would give to students from UNCG going abroad?
Poulton: “Do it, do it, do it, do it! I am already having so much fun over here, and having such an exciting adventure, it is an experience I wish everyone could have! Yes, there may be money worries, and the idea of homesick [sic] may be tearing you up, but you have just got to throw yourself into it! Research what funding you are able to receive and apply for it, write up a brief budget plan, find a country that entices and excites you and get applying! UNCG will be partnered to so many Universities across the globe, you just have to research what you want from the experience, and which University can help you do that. My final advice would be… come to Keele University 😉!”
Question 7: What is some advice you would give to students who are looking to study abroad at UNCG?
Poulton: UNCG is such an exciting University, in the heart of North Carolina! The downtown area is a place that is buzzing with life, and the University has such a gorgeous campus that you’ll always want to explore (I say you should check out Peabody Park by the music building!). Greensboro is a cute city that is so close to bigger places like Charlotte and Raleigh/Durham, perhaps a couple hours on the train, and only (once you arrive in the US you will realise that three hours here is like a 10-minute walk!) a three-hour drive from the beach at Wilmington! Although you’ll adore your studies at the University, Greensboro is in an ideal area for you to venture on your travels too!”