Name: Matthew Lenz
Major: Double Major in Business Administration: Marketing and E-Business
Graduation Year: Spring 2015
Hometown: Odenton, Maryland
Where I went abroad: City University – London, England
How I chose London
When I was in the beginning stages of the study abroad process, I was able to narrow my options down to three countries; Australia, Spain and England. I liked that Australia and England were English speaking countries. If I chose Spain I was committing myself to a Spanish culture and language on a daily basis. I only have 3 high school years of Spanish under my belt, so I was leaning more towards Australia and England. The Australia program was more expensive than the London program. The biggest draw to London for me was Europe. I knew that if I studied abroad in England, I would be able to easily travel to various countries in Europe.
My Special Day
Another draw to England was the English Premier League. I have been a Chelsea FC fan since I was a young boy. When I was growing up, my only connection to my favorite club was FIFA (a video game) and weekend games. I never imagined myself sitting at the game with thousands of other Chelsea fans.
The tickets were incredibly difficult to acquire. I ended up going to the game with a friend that I met in London. His name is Christian and I met him in one of my classes. He lived in the UK and through his connections was able to get me and my roommates some tickets.
The day before the game, I could not sleep. I had over 10 years of excitement built up and tomorrow was the day that I would finally get to watch my favorite soccer team play…in London…at Stamford Bridge…it all seemed surreal.
Our seats were located in the Shed End (south) and I was 7 rows away from the pitch. One of my role models and favorite players (Frank Lampard) was 10 yards away from me. Chelsea ended up winning the game against Stoke City 3-1. I must have taken at least 100 pictures throughout the game and cheered until I had no voice. It truly was a special day!
My Trip to Spain
When I decided to study in London, traveling in Europe was very important to me. One of the places I was able to travel to was Spain, but I didn’t know I’d spend the night in the Barcelona airport or travel on a ferry with Spanish soccer fans during the biggest rivalry game in the country.
My roommates and I flew from Nice, France to Barcelona and then we were supposed to take a bus to Valencia (We had it all planned out in the cheapest way possible). However, our reservation, for whatever reason, did not go through. So there we were in Barcelona’s airport at 11 PM. We tried renting a car, finding a different bus or even looking for a last minute flight. Our only option was a train that left at 8 in the morning. Being paranoid American travelers, we took shifts staying awake to “guard” our luggage. Needless to say it was a long night….however we did end up saving money!
My journey from Mallorca to Barcelona was very interesting. We took a ferry, which we soon discovered was a very local way of traveling. The chaos all began when our non-English speaking cap driver dropped us off at the wrong boat. After waiting in line for 20 minutes we realized that we were in the wrong place and we only had 15 minutes until our ferry left without us. There were no taxis in sight and only 1.9 miles (according to google maps) to the correct location. My roommates and I then proceeded to sprint to the ferry, carrying all of our luggage. We made it there just in time, they were about to close the ramp to board. My two American roommates and I were the only non-Hispanic people on the ferry and we were dripping in sweat. On the boat, El Clasico was taking place (One of the biggest rivalries in all of the sports world: Barcelona Fc vs Real Madrid Fc). There was a ton of yelling, screaming and angry Spanish men arguing all night long. It was certainly interesting!
These events were definitely not planned but looking back it made my study abroad experience even better. I loved Spain and I thought it was one of the best places that I traveled to.
Every student has this opportunity to study abroad and I think every student should take it. Studying Abroad changed my life. I work in the Study Abroad Office at Towson University to assist students so that they can have this opportunity as well.