On this episode of Newman University’s official podcast, “The Newman Bond,” junior Emily Pachta reflected on her study abroad journey this past spring semester to Newman’s sister school in Birmingham, England.
Pachta, a psychology major, shared that she’s always loved traveling and figured studying abroad would be a great opportunity, especially because she has older siblings who all regretted not doing it.
Because Pachta is a St. Newman Scholar, attending the trip to Birmingham made the most sense because her scholarship could apply directly to the trip.
To prepare for her semester abroad, Pachta worked with Cheryl Golden, professor of history and director of international studies, to get everything in line.
“I love that woman,” Pachta said. “She’s incredible.”
Pachta even bought her a Queen of England rubber ducky as a souvenir.
Because she would be spending four months overseas, Pachta packed three suitcases to take with her and a backpack, mostly filled with clothes, shoes and toiletries.
When she got to her dorm in Birmingham, Pachta bought a pot, a pan, a cookie sheet and some other cooking utensils so she could make food in her room. She lived with three other students, all of whom were English-born and bred.
Pachta shared that one thing that was different about the university in England is they don’t have sports teams, but they did have intramural activities. It also had a gym that any student could use, so every morning she’d walk there to work out.
She only had class in person on Mondays and Thursdays, and she took six credit hours online through Newman’s Wichita campus as well.
“I would go to class in the morning, eat lunch at the little cafeteria with some of my friends and then we’d have another class,” Pachta said. “I’d spend the rest of the day doing whatever, going shopping or studying.”
She shared that she took a lot of day trips to places including Liverpool and London. One of her favorite spots was Scotland, which was where she went for her first solo trip. Pachta also enjoyed the region of Cinque Terre in Italy.
On the Newman campus in Birmingham, Pachta appreciated that many of the buildings were new and interconnected.
“That was really cool because you can go from your class in one building to another and not go outside, which was nice for English weather,” she said.
She shared that a big difference between the two schools is that at Birmingham, there was one big exam for her classes at the end of the semester, while at Wichita, she has tests throughout the year. One thing she missed about being in Wichita was that Birmingham didn’t have as many activities to get involved in, which made it more challenging to meet people.
“It felt like my freshman year again, like I was just inserting myself into everything and seeing what stuck,” she said. “If I really didn’t enjoy something, I wasn’t going to waste my time. Because I was in England, I needed to spend my time wisely, so I really appreciate the variety of clubs we have [in Wichita].”
Now that she’s had time to reflect on all her study abroad journey afforded her, Pachta believes other students should do it, too.
“I would say my biggest tip about is don’t shoot it down,” she said. “I feel like there’s always a reason people feel like they can’t do it, and most of them are totally valid. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it at least.”
Pachta also feels changed by her trip in that she has more cultural awareness and understanding of others. She has more of a travel bug now as well.
“I just want to travel.”
Study abroad programs at Newman University
Students are encouraged to participate in Newman University’s overseas study and exchange programs, which contribute to individual and intercultural development.