Letters from London: Why study abroad?

Marcos Briggiler is a sophomore in the McKelvey School of Engineering studying abroad this summer as part of the Summer in London program offered through Washington University in St. Louis and CIEE. In this blog series, he'll share his experiences in and out of the classroom. First, Briggiler will share why he decided to take part in the program.

Engineering students can study abroad in London, earning six credits toward their degree. Above, students stop for a photo in front of Tower Bridge in London. Submitted photo

I learned about the Summer in London program through an email sent by the McKelvey School of Engineering — it pays off to actually go through those.

What interested me about it? My first reaction was less about the program itself and more of a desire to be in London for a whole month! But as I started thinking about it more, I began seeing all the pros to the program.

First off, it is easier for some WashU Engineering majors to study abroad than it is for other majors. Here was a program being advertised for engineers that allowed me to check off "study abroad" on my bucket list.

Not only that, but it also helped accelerate my studies, as I could take "Differential Equations" and knock out a humanities requirement in just one month. This was extremely helpful as I had just switched from biomedical engineering to systems engineering and was already feeling behind the curve. These courses would help me catch up to those who started college as systems majors.

Another major consideration was that I wanted to feel like I was being productive this summer. I only have three throughout my time in undergrad and I do not want to waste a second of any of them. With the Summer in London program, I would not only be productive with my month, but I would also get to have fun and have an amazing experience.

Lastly, my second semester in WashU was not the best. Between my academics, all my extracurriculars, being away from family and the whole transition into college life, I was struggling, and my mental health was spiraling downwards. I was feeling burnt out and, in all honesty, unhappy. I saw the experience as a chance to get a break from all of that and start fresh.

Be sure to check out Briggiler's next post, Letters from London: Inside the classroom, to learn more about his academic experiences in London. To learn more about the Summer in London study-abroad program, contact Melanie Osborn, senior assistant dean for Engineering Study Abroad, at osborn@wustl.edu.