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C:\fakepath\Courtney Smith top crop.jpg
Courtney Smith ’16, who’s attending school in London, England, visited the Cliffs
of Moher in Liscannor, Ireland.

Student studies in London for entire junior year

03/11/15

Right from the start, Courtney Smith ’16 of Leesport, Penn., planned to study abroad. Now the English major – who’s focusing on creative writing – is spending her entire junior year abroad at Kingston University in London, England.

“I knew that I wanted to study abroad before I was accepted to any school,” Smith explained. “On each college tour I attended, I remember asking if the school offered a study abroad program.”

At MCLA, she was pleasantly surprised to find that, “Studying abroad was not only an option in and of itself, but a financially viable one at that.”

In addition to Kingston University, Smith considered two other institutions for her study abroad experience – Limerick University in Ireland and Stirling University in Scotland. In addition to being the most financially attractive option, attending Kingston provides her with an opportunity to study in a city that’s rich in cultural diversity.

Her time in London has been one of the best experiences she’s ever had. “I’ve fallen in love with my time here— the ups, the downs, every last bit,” Smith said.

C:\fakepath\Courtney Smith 3 flatmates.jpg“The best part has undoubtedly been the relationships I have formed. I was lucky enough to be placed in an accommodation with only first-years and international students,” continued Smith (pictured third from the left in adjacent photo). “My flatmates and I get along just famously. No matter where you go, the relationships you forge are the foundation of what makes any trip rewarding.”

Although she is at Kingston for the entire academic year, she’s taking just three courses.

“One major difference between a university in the States and England is the module length,” Smith explained. “In the States, modules run just one term, but they run for an entire year here. I am taking ‘Independent Creative Writing,’ ‘The Craft of Poetry and Prose,’ and a special study entitled, ‘Writing and Environment.’ I thoroughly enjoy my courses here. I have found that they anchor the students a lot more toward what they want to achieve in their field.”

Smith has made travel a priority.

“In my first month of being in England, I made an impromptu trip to Shannon, Ireland, with a friend. We spent a long weekend in Clare County, explored the town by foot at 2 in the morning under the clearest starlight, visited the Cliffs of Moher, enjoyed a few pubs, and stayed in the quaintest little bed and breakfast you ever did see.”

In November, she traveled to Scotland, where she visited Edinburgh Castle, the Scottish Highlands and Loch Ness. Last month, she traveled to Stjørdal, Norway. Future travel plans include visits to the cities of Amsterdam and Budapest.

A transfer student to MCLA, Smith made the change because her former school didn’t offer creative writing. Plus, MCLA had more of a ‘home-y’ feel, which I dig,” she said.

Through her involvement with clubs such as Good Vibes, the Environuts and the Recycling Committee, as well as her participation in the Annual Community Day of Service, Smith says she’s been active in what she feels “really counts” in life, as well as passions that allow her to grow both emotionally and spiritually.

“I would recommend MCLA to prospective students because with its size being so tiny, it begins to feel like home so much quicker one than one would believe— and what better place to be than somewhere that feels like home?”