Jaki Bass, a business analytics and information systems major and Global Access Ambassador, participated in the International Business in London program in winter 23-24
Thursday, April 18, 2024
Jaki Bass

Reflecting on my time in London, I can confidently say it was a whirlwind of new experiences and eye-opening moments. Stepping out of the familiar confines of the United States for the first time on my own was both exhilarating and nerve-wracking. However, as I embarked on my adventure, I quickly realized that every moment was worth the initial uncertainty.

London welcomed me with open arms, offering me a glimpse into the rich tapestry of European culture. The city's diversity struck me in ways I hadn't anticipated, and my exploration extended beyond the bustling streets to the charming landscapes of Wales. The contrasts in culture and demeanor between the places I visited were stark yet fascinating, revealing the intricate layers of human experience.

Coming from the bustling metropolis of Chicago, London presented a refreshing change of pace. The warmth and politeness of its inhabitants, coupled with their penchant for privacy, left a lasting impression on me. The efficiency and cleanliness of London's transportation system were a pleasant surprise, a far cry from the crowded chaos of home. As I navigated the city's labyrinthine streets and parks, I embraced the unexpected joys of walking everywhere—an integral part of London's culture.

"While my time abroad presented its share of challenges, such as adjusting to new social norms and expectations, each obstacle became an opportunity for growth. Embracing the unknown with an open mind allowed me to overcome these hurdles and emerge stronger and more resilient."

During our trip I not only got to experience the International Business: Data Analytics program in London but also in Wrexham, Wales. We took this travel to do exploration about the new celebrity owner Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenny of the Wrexham football team. London and Wrexham, Wales, exhibit distinct cultural differences. London, a bustling metropolis, embraces multiculturalism, boasts iconic landmarks, and thrives as a global financial hub. In contrast, Wrexham, a smaller town, focuses on Welsh heritage, features a more localized economy, and emphasizes community values.  

We got to experience numerous football games during the time abroad to assist in the class and it was a fascinating experience to witness the various types of matches and how deeply embedded football is in their cultural fabric. From the lively discussions in the stands to the electrifying atmosphere on the field, the passion for the sport was palpable. The warmth and inclusivity of football culture welcomed us with open arms, allowing us to seamlessly integrate into the community. I found myself unexpectedly captivated by the fervor surrounding the game, realizing just how integral it is to their way of life. As we delved deeper into the history and traditions of football, I gained a newfound appreciation for its significance within their culture. The sense of camaraderie and shared enthusiasm among fans transcended language barriers, forging connections that transcended mere sporting events. It was a testament to the power of sport to unite people from diverse backgrounds under a common passion. In retrospect, my immersion into football culture was a highlight of my time in London and Wales, enriching my understanding of their heritage and fostering a deep appreciation for the universal language of sport.

In hindsight, my journey to London was more than just a physical voyage—it was a journey of self-discovery. I gained insights into different facets of my identity and learned to navigate the complexities of cultural exchange with grace and humility. 


The Global Access Ambassador Scholarship program provides awards to study abroad for a summer, semester, or academic year. The scholarships are intended to support students who study abroad with the intent to serve as Global Access Ambassadors upon return to the UI campus. Upon completion of the study abroad program and return to UI, award recipients are asked to submit a photo and an open letter to prospective students or suggest an alternate means of sharing with prospective students.

Please note that the opinions and views expressed by ambassadors are solely those of the students and do not reflect or represent the views of International Programs or the University of Iowa.


International Programs (IP) at the University of Iowa (UI) is committed to enriching the global experience of UI students, faculty, staff, and the general public by leading efforts to promote internationally oriented teaching, research, creative work, and community engagement.  IP provides support for international students and scholars, administers scholarships and assistance for students who study, intern, or do research abroad, and provides funding opportunities and grant-writing assistance for faculty engaged in international research. IP shares their stories through various media, and by hosting multiple public engagement activities each year.