Cassie Rathie ’20 (Bachelor of Arts in Acting) studied at the University of Winchester in Winchester, England, during her spring 2019 semester. Shenandoah University and the University of Winchester are members of the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP), a global network of 300 universities who partner together and allow students to study for a full semester or year at other member campuses abroad. By working closely with their academic advisors and the education abroad advisor, students can take advantage of the opportunities to take general education and major classes taught in English abroad and to receive credit at their home institution. Learn more about Rathie’s experience in England in the Q&A below.
Q: Why did you choose to study in London? How did you hear about the opportunity?
A: I wanted to study abroad before coming to college, but, as an acting major, I thought it was impossible with our very strict schedules and requirements. When I discovered that a graduate from the conservatory studied abroad, I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. The University of Winchester seemed like the best option because I was not required to speak a different language and performing students from the University of Winchester have studied here, so I knew they would be flexible with finding classes that would best transfer over.
Q: What were some of the highlights of your experience and why?
A: Traveling. We were not allowed to take more than four classes and those classes were once a week for three hours, which it made it very easy to travel. Plus, it’s very cheap to travel in Europe. During the semester I spent a weekend in Ireland and a week in Greece. I also traveled all over England. Then, once the semester ended, I spent a month in Europe traveling to Italy, Germany and the Netherlands.
Q: How did your training and experiences at Shenandoah prepare you for this opportunity?
A: Believe it or not, England is very different from the states. There are a few similarities but the culture, class schedules, and policies are completely different. Shenandoah prepared me for this in a few ways. My home is Orlando, Florida, so coming to a school 13 hours away got me used to living on my own, and away from my family. If I wasn’t so comfortable living on my own, I don’t think I would have been able to live in another country for that long.
Q: Would you recommend this to other students? If so, why?
A: I would absolutely recommend studying abroad to every college student. It opens your eyes to what life is like in different parts of the world. Plus, it transforms you into someone you never thought you could be. The only thing I would recommend is that if you do study abroad, I suggest you do so before the spring semester of your junior year. That way you have enough time to make up credits/classes you may have missed while gone. Studying abroad is not like traveling. I have traveled my whole life, to tons of different places, but nothing compares to living in a different part of the world.
Q: Did this experience have an impact on your career aspirations or approach to artistry and/or the industry? If so, how?
A: This experience made me grow so much as a person and as a performer. Before I left for England, I felt lost in my craft and now, coming back, I feel stronger and wiser. I found my voice. People always say studying abroad changes your life and, as cliché as it is, it truly does. You come back with an abundance of outside knowledge. It’s an experience of a lifetime that you should not pass up.
Want to learn more about studying abroad? Visit su.edu/education-abroad.