The highlight of my University experience...

Posted on: 21 October 2018 by Shakira in 2019/20

Shakira spent last summer at UGA

When I was offered a place on the UGA summer programme I thought to myself, “I can’t not go”. I was so excited about the prospect of spending a week in the USA, a place I’ve always wanted to visit, but the idea of going with 19 other students I didn’t know also made me really nervous. I’ve suffered with anxiety for about 10 years and leaving my hometown of Stoke to come to university in Liverpool was a big deal for me as I’m such a home bird. But, by pushing myself to pursue my English and History degree away from home, it has given me the confidence to try new things and challenge myself further.

The week we spent at UGA has been the highlight of my three years at university. After I graduate I would like to start a career in journalism or social media marketing and the trip to Georgia has given me so much to write and talk about! For me, one of the main highlights was a lecture on media and reality television in the USA given by a UGA academic who worked for many years as a television producer. It was so interesting to hear what goes on behind the scenes and it made me realise how reality TV has changed people’s viewing habits as the industry has become such a big part of American popular culture.

Another eye-opening experience was our visits to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and Coca-Cola World in Atlanta. It was fascinating to discover how the Coca-Cola Company helped improve race relations in the Georgia during the Civil Rights movement. It made me realise that in order for meaningful change to happen, all aspects of society need to be involved and large corporations also have a big part to play.

Since coming back from UGA I feel have grown so much in confidence. Before taking part in the summer programme, the prospect of walking up to someone new and start chatting to them would have been me really nervous. But, after throwing myself in at the deep with 19 other students, it now doesn’t seem quite so scary! I’ve also noticed that I feel less anxious, and when I do feel a bit of anxiety creeping back, I just think to myself “I spent a week in America with a group of people I’d never met before – I can do anything!”