Searle ’23: Online in London

By Caitlin Burns | November 18, 2020

Hershey, Pa. resident and Business Administration major Abi Searle ’23 had been planning to study abroad this fall, and wasn’t going to let a pandemic stop her.

On Sept. 10, Searle landed in Heathrow Airport to begin her academic year abroad in London, a city that she’s known since childhood. A British passport holder herself, Searle has friends and family who live in and near the city, which she said made her more comfortable traveling during this time.

“I felt like I wasn’t going in completely alone,” said Searle about going abroad during Covid-19. “After being here though, I don’t think the pandemic should hold people back from studying abroad.”

After her two-week quarantine, Searle said she’s spent time traveling around the UK, including the Lake District in northeast England in Cumbria. However, the country went into lockdown on Nov. 5 due to the pandemic, limiting Searle’s travel outside of the city—but not limiting her study abroad experience. Instead, Searle said the lockdown has enabled her to see a lot more of the city, especially as her photography class requires her to travel to areas around London.

“You have to come in with a different kind of perspective,” said Searle. “You’re still getting a cultural experience, but you won’t get to travel to 10 different countries. There’s still a lot of good opportunities to learn and experience London though.”

While classes are completely online this semester through the Arcadia London Center, Searle said they keep her engaged with opportunities for cultural exchange. Next semester, following her return to London after the winter break, she’s looking forward to taking courses at City, University of London as part of her study abroad program.