Ashley Moon is a junior communication major from Waxahachie, TX. For more information on this and other CGE/CAPA programs, please visit www.cgedu.org or www.capa.org.
In late November of 2013, I found out that in less than two months, I would be spending a semester in London for the second time.
After my first semester, I started to appreciate Howard Payne for what it was; the professors are intelligent and understanding, the community is small and open, and the atmosphere is relaxed. Out of all the things HPU has done for me, I am most grateful for their flexibility in allowing me and encouraging me to study abroad.
If I didn’t go to Howard Payne, I would have never gone to London. That thought is impossible for me to comprehend. I can’t imagine what my life would be like had I never lived in Europe or experienced the spectacular city that London is.
To my surprise, my second semester in London was even better than the first (didn’t think that was possible)! I decided to study the second time through an organization called CAPA International. Through this program, I was a part of a large group of American students from all over the country who learned from British professors in a classroom setting. Luckily, I was able to fill my entire schedule with upper-level communication classes. In addition to taking classes, CAPA gave me the opportunity to work an internship.
Prior to moving across the pond, CAPA had me fill out an extensive internship application in which I explained my interests and career goals. An internships team looked through all the applications and literally found me a perfect match!
I am a communication major with an emphasis in public & media relations. My goal is to use my media skills (photography, video, writing and/or graphic design) through journalism or advertising. In London, I interned with a photographer. We worked on fashion shoots, advertising product shots, packages for families and conceptual artistic shoots. I also wrote for his website and learned a lot about Photoshop and graphic design. In addition to getting experience in so many areas of interest, I became great friends with my boss and his wife. Together, they taught me so much about photography and even more about life.
Through CAPA, I also had the chance to live with a family in England. The previous year, I had stayed in an apartment in a central area with other American students. Since I already had this experience, I decided to live with a host family. The Moylettes made my experience in England so incredible. They had two daughters ages 15 and 12 and a 10-year-old son. I never felt homesick while I was in England because I was constantly surrounded by amazing people who cared about me.
I will always encourage students to study abroad. It truly is such an incredible experience, and Howard Payne is too accommodating to refuse. When I studied abroad this last semester, I actually spent less money than I would have if I stayed in Brownwood.
CAPA provided me with some financial assistance as well. They offered a scholarship to one person in their program to be the “official vlogger”. I competed for this scholarship and received it. I was to make one video blog per week, explaining what I was doing in London and how my semester was going. CAPA shared these videos on their social outlets, giving me exposure while promoting their organization.
Independently living in England gave me a sense of confidence that I couldn’t have learned anywhere else. So much of my time there was spent listening to or observing others. I can’t explain the exciting energy that is present in every area of London. There is always someone new to meet, something interesting to explore, and something challenging to be taught.
Another awesome part of living in London is the opportunity to travel to other places. Because the countries in Europe are so geographically close, it is very easy to travel between them. I had the chance to travel to Scotland, Wales and France, all on a college student budget!
I have never regretted any aspect of my time abroad. There were challenges that I faced, such as homesickness or being short on money, but I learned how to deal with those things and they made me a stronger and well-rounded person.
After going abroad the first time, a hunger for travel was instilled in me. I will have traveled to 6 countries all before my 20th birthday! My life has become incredibly exciting through traveling and meeting people from around the world, and I pray that my fire for adventure never burns out.