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Off-Campus Study & Exchanges - Skidmore College

OCSE Student Blogger Feature: Sunny Tran at Skidmore in London!

Because the process of writing includes recording thoughts on paper, the blogging process encourages me to stop and think deeper. I have gradually developed deeper into the matters of my life and the worldview that shapes them.

(above, Sunny in London having tea with friends from her post “A Step Back in Time“; Sunny is pictured at the front right)


In this student blogger feature, I had a chance to talk to Sunny Tran, Class of 2018. Her thoughtful blog is beautifully written in a narrative style that draws readers in, making us feel as though we were right in London with her. Read more about our thoughts on her off-campus study here:


  1. What class year are you? What is your major/minor?

I’m in Class of 2018. I’m currently double majoring in Management & Business and Studio Art.


  1. Is your program related to your focus of study? If so, in what ways? How is it shaping the way you interact with your studies? If it is unrelated, what inspired you to go on this program?

While researching University of Westminster as a possible option for study abroad, I was immediately drawn to the business school because of its refreshing course offerings. It is apparent that Westminster Business School supports many different views concerning business, and biographies of current professors show how passionate the department is about current research. One of the courses that made me believe so is Ethics in Marketing, a course covering areas such as Cause-Related Marketing (CRM) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). In a world where much is driven by profit motive and selfishness, knowing that there are professors who study the ethics of marketing and students who might be interested in bringing the more human side to business makes Westminster a highly appealing study destination for someone like me.


  1. What is the living situation on your program? (Homestay, apartment, dorm-style, etc.) How has that impacted your semester and your interactions with the host culture?

The dorm great condition and convenient location has helped me to adjust with new environment quickly. Situated opposite Madame Tussaud’s, Marylebone Hall is an ideal location for exploring the shops, cafés and restaurants of the West End, as well as enjoying the many theatres and nightlife of this great cosmopolitan city. My new friends and I have spent time visiting museums, parks and other tourist attractions in our free time. Besides, since the dorm is located nearby many grocery stores, it is convenient for students to do daily products shopping.


  1. Have you encountered language barriers? If so, how have you maneuvered through those situations? (Any funny lost-in-translation moments?) If you live in a city where English is not the first language, have you attempted to learn the native language?

Since everyone speaks English here, it has been very pleasant experience. Whenever we get lost/ need help, we can always ask for help from locals.


  1. How is blogging for the Skidmore OCSE office going so far? Does it play a role in how you interact with the city at all?

I love the blogging job. It has served as a personal journal. Blogging makes me become a better thinker. Because the process of writing includes recording thoughts on paper, the blogging process encourages me to stop and think deeper. I have gradually developed deeper into the matters of my life and the worldview that shapes them.

Besides, by necessity, blogging requires a filter. It’s simply not possible to write about every event, every thought, and every happening in my life. Instead, blogging is a never-ending process of choosing to articulate the most meaningful events and the most important thoughts. This process of choice helps me develop an eye for meaningful things.


  1. How is studying abroad supplementing your education at Skidmore? In what ways do you think your experiences abroad will enhance and fuel what you learn on campus?

Changing to a different education system has been an interesting experience for me.

At Skidmore, courses require weekly or even biweekly readings as well as other assignments such as small writing projects, major research papers, and oral presentations throughout the course. I love it that in the US, my grade is based on the performance on the variety of assignments, with a final exam making up only a percentage of the total grade. This education has helped me to have good habits of taking notes, reading and preparing properly for classes.

University of Westminster is much more lecture-based, with only occasional assignments throughout the semester. In some cases, there may be no actual required assignments and instead my entire grade may be based on one final exam. This is the main reason why many students do not often attend lectures or read materials before class. Continuing good habits nurtured from Skidmore, I have been able to keep up in classes here.


Be sure to check out Sunny’s blog here!

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