Let’s start with an introduction:
Hello, I’m Cristina! I first came to London in 2015 after graduating from high school. I, like many people, hit up all the touristy hot spots and moved on to the next city. When I started at UC Irvine I met some students that had studied abroad in London and they all talked wonders about the city. I got the sense I hadn’t fully experienced what they had. From then on, I became determined to see what all the fuss was about. Sure, I’d visited but clearly, I did something wrong because it wasn’t all that. Well, my junior year I came back for the year programme at Queen Mary and had the time of my life. Needless to say, I now know what they were all going on about. For me, visiting and living in London are two completely different things. I studied abroad once more my senior year, this time in Hong Kong and graduated last June with a degree in Political Science, focusing on education policy.
What was one of your favourite memories from your time studying abroad?
After some thinking, I think my favourite memory from studying abroad for me is the time I took a day-trip to Bournemouth after finishing finals and just relaxing. It was that feeling of a little ray of sunshine heating my skin after months of gloominess in London and just knowing that I’d done it! I’d successfully completed my year abroad in London. There was a great sense of relief and tranquillity. Also, I ate lots of ice cream.
What impact has studying abroad left on your life?
Studying abroad has impacted my life in many ways but most importantly I think it increased my ability to solve problems. When you move to a completely new country and a situation arises you have to fend for yourself because failing isn’t really an option. I built resilience and learned to enjoy the awkward moments in figuring out the city.
What is your favourite place you’ve travelled to?
This is an extremely difficult question because I love different places I’ve visited for different reasons but, Hong Kong is definitely up there for me. The fashion, the skyscrapers, the food, the bubble tea, the beaches, and the people.
What advice would you give to students who are considering studying abroad?
Take the leap. Everyone says it. It’s for a reason. Living abroad allows you to grow and learn in a way that I think not many other experiences can. It’s fun and it’s challenging. You really have to live it to appreciate the ways in which it changes you.
What does your position at the LSC entail?
I think my position entails a lot of flexibility and support. In my role, I help fill in a lot of the gaps and help where I am needed in addition to some administrative work and managing social media. I’m here to help students as someone who has been in their shoes.
What inspired you to apply for this position and what are you looking forward to the most about it?
What inspired me to apply to this position is the love I have for London. When I’m here it really feels like I’m home. I had an amazing experience during my study abroad here and I want to help others do the same! What I’m looking forward to the most is meeting all the students and getting to know y’all throughout the year.
What will you miss most about California?
I know I will miss the food the most. The food scene in London is great but there’s nothing like home-cooked Mexican food. That and my dog.
List one interesting or unexpected fact about yourself?
I am ambidextrous, meaning I can write with either hand. When I was young I naturally started writing with my left hand but my teachers told me to switch hands. Later on, I rebelled and wrote again with my left then I would just switch back and forth. Today I write mostly with my right (we can thank right-handed college desks for making me accustomed to right-handedness again.)
Thanks for reading!