As I walked through the Detroit Metro Airport with my strategically stuffed backpack and my rolling suitcase in hand, the feelings of excitement, anticipation, and wonder fluttered within me. Heading to the security line, I tightly hugged my parents and brother goodbye as they smiled radiantly and spoke with words of encouragement. After placing my belongings through the security machinery and then lacing back up my white sneakers, I waved to my family through the security’s roping and line of travelers behind me. With my Dad’s thumbs up, I turned back around, crossing the threshold to my terminal. 

Scattered among strangers, I found familiar faces wearing sweatshirts with the words, “Hope College.” My peers and professors greeted me with warm welcomes as I entered our flight’s gate. With 2 hours to spare, my classmates and I explored the airport, passing by a large gumball machine, a steakhouse, and a Michigan tourist shop. While wandering through the airport, we discussed what we were most looking forward to and ‘bucket list’ items for our trip. 

“Definitely the Big Ben!” one classmate exclaimed.

My friend with aspirations for going into tennis management perked up with, “Obviously our visit to Wimbledon!”

“Shakespeare’s Globe Theater performance,” said another. When the question was repeated to me, I couldn’t choose! I was excited for everything and I simply yet excitedly replied, “All of it!” 

Soon after returning to our gate, our flight section was called over the speaker. Stepping onto the jet bridge and into the plane, I talked with another student group headed to London who were studying fashion while there. We compared our planned visits and learned about one another’s colleges as we waited in the boarding line. As I talked with my fellow peer she mentioned too that this was her first time flying internationally and we laughed together as we verified the nearly 8 hour flight time ahead of us. Once in my seat, I sat next to a passenger visiting her mother in England as she provided me with recommendations for places and attractions to visit. With each site she described, my anticipation grew even more. Looking out the small airplane window and into the darkness of the night that was intermittently broken up by different building lights, I smiled with a combination of excitement, curiosity, and gratitude for what was to unfold. 

This past May, I had the opportunity to study abroad in London, England. While there, I took a course entitled Management in the British Economy where I learned about the differences in the business industry between America and England. We also met with a wide variety of business professionals and British firms, which enhanced our class content and discussions. The course was backed by cultural experiences. From Cambridge to Canterbury to Notting Hill, we visited many different areas. We got to participate in a variety of activities as a group including a Double Decker bus tour and the River Thames boat tour around the city, theater performances including Les Miserables and A MidSummer Night’s Dream, and a tour of Parliament provided by a former member of the House of Lords. Between company visits and classes in the park, my peers and I got to explore sites of the city. Among some of my favorites were the Tower of London, Churchill War Rooms, and the London Eye.

Through the Center for Global Engagement, Hope College offers multiple study abroad experiences for students that are both domestic and international. Whether a student wants to study abroad for a full semester or for a month, the College has a program for you. While many of the May, June, and July term programs are administered through Hope, the College also partners with travel abroad programs where students can interact and meet other college students from around the globe. 

As the application deadlines approach for this coming May term, I cannot wait to look into other programs to participate in after having had such a positive and formative previous experience! I am grateful for the study abroad opportunities that Hope College offers students as these experiences enable students to broaden their perspectives and learn from cultures throughout the world. 

Published by Madeline Kenney

Class of 2025 Hometown: Livonia, MI Majors: Biology and Business Minor: Classical Studies

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