Emily Godfrey Studies Abroad in America
By: Jad Husayni
This semester we have the fortunate opportunity to highlight a different type of education abroad experience. Typical highlights feature NRES students who have traveled abroad to gain educational experience at foreign universities, but this semester’s highlight does the exact opposite. Emily Godfrey is a foreign exchange student who is spending a year here, at the University of Kentucky! Originally from Essex, England, located about forty-five minutes northeast of London, Emily attends college at Lancaster University in northern England. Another NRES student, Michaela Rogers, studied abroad at Lancaster University last year, but the two did not meet and become friends until Emily came to UK. She lived in New Jersey as an infant, and while growing up in England Emily always knew that she wanted to return to the United States. After learning about her school’s education abroad program, and that it offered programs in the U.S., she knew right away that it was an ideal opportunity to do just that. Emily was impartial about which American university to enroll at because she thought all of them were culturally identical, and she ultimately chose Kentucky because it was the most affordable of the bunch. Back home at university, which is the only term English students use to describe college, Emily’s major is Earth and Environmental Sciences. Since the NRES program has similar coursework, she had no problem finding classes that were applicable to her degree at Lancaster. Despite these similarities, Emily said the NRES major is very different from what she was used to back at school. She said all of her classes at Lancaster are in lecture halls with over 150 students each, and it is always a big deal if the professor knows someone’s name. She was surprised to come here and
have it be the norm for professors to know the names of every student in their class, and for them to expect the students to participate and visit their office hours, which is something that she found to be very helpful when adjusting to life at UK. What Emily likes most about taking classes in NRES is the wide variety of courses and the diverse educational approaches that the courses provide. For example, she enjoyed the hands-on learning during Forest Ecology labs, but also appreciates the difficulty of using technology to tackle natural resource issues in GIS class. After finishing her year at Kentucky in May, and then one more at Lancaster, Emily hopes to go to graduate school and eventually work for the European Space Agency. When asked about her most influential learning experience thus far, Emily said that adjusting to American culture is the biggest one. Growing up watching American movies offered her a glimpse, but it also created a number of stereotypes that she said were true in some respects but not in others. For example, the hysteria and pageantry surrounding American football is certainly real, but red solo cups are not the hallmark of every social gathering. Now that she has experienced both countries Emily finds it humorous to compare the stereotypes between the two. Emily’s year abroad has already proven to be an incredible opportunity for her to learn about herself and the world in general, and she would highly recommend other students travel abroad as well. Her advice to any students considering studying abroad is to, “just go. Your experiences will undoubtedly differ from your expectations, but you will learn from and adapt to every single one of them.”
Pictured above: (top) Emily Godfrey spent her first birthday away from home hiking Kentucky’s Red River Gorge with friends; (bottom left) Emily and friends hiking in Gatlinburg, TN; (bottom right) Emily and a friend on top of Pilot Knob in Kentucky State Nature Preserve.