The University of Iowa

Student Reflections on First-Generation Abroad: Emigration to studying abroad

December 20th, 2011

Reflections from First-Generation Students

Dear Prospective Student,

My name is Laura Cyrek, and I am currently a sophomore studying business and mass communications at the University of Iowa. This winter I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a few weeks with the Tippie College of Business in London. It was, without a doubt, an absolutely incredible experience I would love to have again. 

 With two parents who emigrated to the U.S. in the late '70s, they have been unsure and hesitant about certain aspects of the college experience. When I brought up the idea of spending two weeks in London with a bunch of people I didn't know, they bombarded me with questions. Luckily for me, the entire process has been extremely easy. There are dozens of people within the Study Abroad office who helped out with general questions as well as anything we wanted to know about financial aid. Before I knew it, I was on the plane across the Atlantic Ocean.. 

We took many tours outside of usual class time in London, including those of Parliament, the Tower of London, and a spine-tingling Jack the Ripper tour. We had plenty of time for ourselves, which I personally spent shopping and going out for sushi at Harrod's. The housing assignments were spacious, clean, and practically perfect. My roommates, who I did not know prior to the trip, became some amazing friends I will cherish throughout my college experience.

After class commenced, a few of us took a two-hour train ride to Paris, where we spent a few more days sightseeing. This winter called for an amazing experience I will never forget. Knowing how easy it is to organize and put together, I can't wait to spend a full semester abroad!


Laura Cyrek