Student Spotlight

Halley Winters

Halley WintersMajor: History
Hometown: Blaine, MN

Where did you study (describe institution and who were your classmates)?
I studied abroad at the University of Westminster in London, England. The school has 4 campuses spread across central London, and a student population of about 20,000. All of my classes were at the Regent Street campus, which is where the school was established in 1838. My campus was located about a 10-minute walk from Piccadilly Circus (Similar to Times Square in NYC), and only 5 minutes away by tube from Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. The Regent Street Campus is also where the members of Pink Floyd were going to school when they formed the band in 1963.

I had one class that was all British students, and I was the only study abroad student. Everybody thought it was great to have an American in class with them, however I quickly learned that many of them only wanted to talk to me about the election, which got old very quickly. My other two classes were about half study abroad and half British students. The University had approximately 800 study abroad students during the Fall 2016 semester, most of whom were from the United States.

What courses did you take?
I took 3 classes while I was going to school in London, the first was called Imperial Capital World City: London 1750-1914. This course was focused on the rise of the British Empire. The second was Conflict and Commemoration: War and Memory in Twentieth Century Europe. This course looked at the different ways countries in Europe remembered wars that have occurred the years. The last course I took was The Blitz: Image, Impact, Legacy. This class was my favorite, and it focused on the Blitz that occurred over London and other big cities in England during World War II.

Describe the best part about studying history abroad.
The best part about studying history abroad, was that I could actually go out and see the places I was learning about in class, which is something that is rather difficult to do in Winona. There was one particular day in my class on the Blitz, where my professor was teaching about a bombing that had occurred in the financial district of London. After about 10 minutes, he turns to the class and says “You know what, let’s just go there.” So the whole class packed up, and got on the tube for 4 stops. We ended up having class on the steps of the royal exchange that day, and it still blows my mind that we were able to do that.

What was it like to live in London? What were some of the most memorable historical and cultural sites?
Living in London was absolutely fantastic. I love big cities, so being able to live in downtown London was pretty much a dream come true for me, and it was certainly a huge change from living in Winona.

For the class that I took on the British Empire, we had the opportunity to have “field learning experiences” versus having class in an actual classroom. My professor for that class managed to pull some strings, and for our last field learning experience, we had the privilege of going into the archives in the houses of parliament. It was absolutely incredible to see so many original acts of parliament dating back to the 1400’s that were signed by Kings and Queens. That was probably the coolest thing I was able to experience in London. I had the opportunity to go to Stonehenge, which was pretty awesome as well.

Also, traveling around Europe while you are already there is very affordable, so I was able to go to Edinburgh Scotland, Paris, Amsterdam, and Rome during my time in England.

What advice would you give to students considering studying abroad?
Do it. Going abroad for an extended period of time might sound a bit scary, and I’ll admit that I was terrified because I went all by myself. Taking that leap across the pond made me learn a lot about myself, and I became much more independent as a result. Also, if you are considering to study abroad, don’t let the cost deter you. It might be fairly expensive, but I promise that the experience will be worth every penny.

Future goals and plans?
My ultimate goal in the future would be to get a job as a museum curator, because ever since I was younger I have been really interested in museum work.