Thea Winston is a rising accounting senior from Forrest City, Arkansas. Before a hectic senior year of taking the GMAT and participating in her many student organizations, Thea traveled to Brighton, England. From academics to street art to some timely lessons on acceptance, Thea shares her experiences abroad. 

First time in London, England near Covent Garden

January 30th, my first day of class, was the beginning of a completely different academic experience. I woke up early to make sure I could catch the train and grab breakfast at Daisy’s Sandwich Shop, a family-owned business right across from the station. I made it to the classroom in about 15 minutes and there I met the girl who would become one of my closest friends.

The University of Sussex provided a variety of courses, but Race, Culture and Ethnicity (RC&E) and International Business Strategy (IBS) were the most influential in my overall experience. RC&E gifted me with a unique perspective on race relations which is invaluable in the time period and climate in which we are living. While I can innately understand race relations in the U.S., it is wise to attempt to gain insight globally as the world continuously becomes smaller.

While I was there, I took an alternative city tour that captured some amazing street art.  The last photo I shared was the most striking. The irony in being a U.S. citizen capturing this art while my home country issued a travel ban was not lost. In fact, the mural touched deeply.

Captivating street art in Berlin, Germany

While traveling was amazing, I must express my love for Brighton, England. It’s such a liberal and accepting place that people from all corners of the Earth can come and feel welcome. Whether it’s the hole-in-the-wall comedy club, the vegan donut shop or the booming seafront nightlife, there is something for everyone. A typical night for me would include grabbing a bite of street food and then having cider with friends at a pub in “The Lanes,” which were alleys near the water that contained restaurants, shops and everything in between. Outside of the city itself, the people are what make Brighton amazing.

Here’s proof. On the first night, after a huge delay in flights, I finally arrived after dark with no sense of direction or cell phone service. All I had was a screenshot of my new address. I asked a taxi driver, he told me I should just take the bus, so I got on the first bus that says University of Sussex. Once on, I had no idea which stop was mine nor could I use my phone for proper directions. Eventually, someone on the bus walked me to the train station, dragged my luggage and bought my ticket to ensure that I got home safely. This is the embodiment of the type of people that stayed in Brighton and I am lucky to have had the chance to meet some of them and call them a friend.

Meeting with a fellow honor student at the Plaza Mayor in Madrid, Spain

While Brighton was amazing, there’s no place like home. When I arrived, the first thing I wanted was American fast food right after seeing the faces of my friends and family. To them I hadn’t physically changed; however, they knew the Thea that had returned was not the same one who left them months ago.