Christasia Wilson

Christasia Wilson

Alumni Spotlight

Klein Global Opportunities (GO), formerly known as Study Away, provides opportunities in the U.S. and internationally for all students through academic and practical experience. We aim to assist students in becoming influential leaders and empowered global citizens. Programs range from ten days to semester long. Klein GO programs are designed to not only enhance a student’s marketability in the workplace, but to also cultivate their global perspective in a growing multicultural environment. Through guidance and expertise, we encourage our community to propose and participate in international and domestic experiential learning.
*Some responses have been slightly edited for clarity and consolidation purposes.

When and where did you study away?
Fall 2013,  my junior year, I spent the semester in London, England.

What was your program like?
During my program we stayed in Chelsea, which is another world compared to the rest of London. People would gasp when I told them I was staying on Kings Road (a very high-end and expensive area in London). I always loved taking trips outside of our little bubble and got to see other parts of London. We took classes at FIE (Foundation for International Education) and the structure felt like any other semester. During the course we had classes with other students from around the U.S. and learned about British culture from some of the best professors. One of my favorite classes was travel writing. The teacher was not only a travel writer but knew so much about all these different spots in London and around the world. Our midterm assignment was to come back and present a PowerPoint on the adventures we had over break. That was one of the best presentations of my life. It was full of photos and stories of going to 3 countries and 4 cities in 5 or so days. The cultural experience in that one semester is what had me dying to go back after graduation.

Has studying abroad helped you in your professional life? Your personal life?
Studying abroad was the first time I was in another country for more than two weeks. After a week in London I didn’t want to come back home. I actually tried to find a way to transfer all my credits to a university out there. I made a personal decision that after graduation I’d go back and about a one year later I moved back for grad school. In 2015 I packed all my things (more bags this time) to get a Master’s in International Journalism with a concentration in Radio/TV production from City University in London. Everyone thought I was a bit crazy to go back after graduating only three months prior. As cliche as this may sound, my heart truly was in London. I wouldn’t have moved if I hadn’t studied abroad. That one semester changed a lot of things for me. I wrote a travel blog for The Temple News and realized my heart wasn’t fully in print (my concentration). A few years later I found myself editing videos and doing production after watching my friend do things for Temple Update in London.

Are there lessons you’d consider invaluable from your experience?
Yes here are some of my lessons.

  1. Really embrace the culture around you. It’s very easy to get caught up in only tourist things, but there is so much more when you explore the local life.
  2. Eat, eat, eat and eat (especially if you go to Italy).
  3. People come from all walks of life, so don’t expect everyone to act/live the same.
  4. Spend that extra $1 to stay in the less creepy hostel/hotel/Airbnb.
  5. Don’t be the person to blow all your money in the first month. Budget like you life and stomach depend on it.
  6. Photos are great but remember to take mental snapshots of this time abroad.

How has your experience guided your career path?
Before studying abroad I was pretty sure I’d be writing for a magazine. After that semester it wasn’t as fun to me anymore. One of my friends in the program was working for Temple Update (or Temple TV can’t remember the name) and there was something I loved and hated about shooting/editing videos. Funny enough that’s what I ended up studying the second time I moved back.

Where are you now? What do you do?
Unfortunately a year and a half after my MA course was over I had to move back home (freaking expired visa). Now I work as a Production Assistant for NBC. Everyday I plot my next great escape back to London with production domination in mind.

Advice to current students studying away and/or prospective students considering doing so?
After the Fall ’13 program I started working as a Student Travel Adviser. The one thing I heard over and over again was, “I can’t afford to do this.” To everyone out there, I was also that student that couldn’t afford to live in another country (especially an expensive one) for even three weeks. There are scholarships out there to study abroad. Yes, everyone says that but it is a true statement. Between working like crazy that summer, grants and taking out a loan it was so worth it. I was even crazy enough to do it all over again a little over a year later. Don’t hold yourself back because you think that loan will never get paid off, because it will happen. You will meet people that you’ve passed in the hallway and can never imagine your life without. All the friendships I developed in the program are so much different then the ones I did on campus. Those are the people that ate bread and brie with me when we had no money for food after booking flights. You will cry with those friends, travel the world, sleep in hostels and hold memories forever that no one will ever understand. If this is your first time out of the country get ready to catch the biggest travel bug.

Anything you’d like to add?
STUDY ABROAD!!! It will change your life in ways I cannot describe in enough words. If that doesn’t convince you go read all the crazy things I did in only a few months. I mean I was very set on meeting the Queen and running into Prince Harry at TK Maxx.