Across the Pond

Leah

Senior Student Advisor

Education

Kingston University, UK

  • BA American Studies (Kenyon College, US)
  • MA Museum and Gallery Studies (Kingston University London, UK)

Contact information

leah@studyacrossthepond.com

WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE YOU STARTED WORKING FOR ACROSS THE POND?

Working at Across the Pond was actually my first full-time job; however, I had participated in a number of internships and part-time jobs during my high school undergraduate studies. One of these internships (which I had for several summers in a row) was with Home Box Office's recruitment team, which really gave me the skills to be a 'matchmaker' of sorts, and also identifying people's best qualities. I was also a Senior Admissions Fellow at Kenyon my final year of undergraduate; the main role was interviewing prospective Kenyon students to see if they'd be a good fit for the college and, more importantly, if it'd be a good fit for the student. These skills ultimately helped me prepare for working at Across the Pond. 

As for the UK, it was my study abroad in Florence and the subsequent chance encounter with an Across the Pond advisor that piqued my interest initially. Right after my undergraduate, I then completed an internship in Rome, working for Kenyon's Kenyon in Rome study abroad program. As the resident intern, I helped look after the day-to-day needs of Kenyon students studying in Rome--serving as first contact for any issues--and assisted in arranging their educational activities, which largely focused on art-historical related visits.  The combination of these experiences led me to realize how passionate I am about study abroad, and ultimately led me to studying in the UK and Across the Pond.

 

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO STUDY IN THE UK?

I had studied abroad for a semester in Italy and completely fell in love with the international experience. When I came back to the United States, I had the travel bug, and couldn’t stop talking about my positive experience (too much, really!). By coincidence, an Across the Pond advisor visited my university and it felt like fate. Once I realized that you could get a master’s outside of the US I did look at Italy as well, but—though I’d studied Italian for a few years—thought the language gap would be too wide. The United Kingdom seemed like a great compromise—I wouldn’t have to worry as much about language (but even with English as my first language, American English can be pretty different from UK English, so it was still a learning experience!), the UK had a rich cultural history, and I’d be only a couple of hours or so from different countries in mainland Europe. I could study and travel while figuring out who I wanted to be. 

I chose London specifically because I’m originally from a big city (New York) but had studied at a tiny university in rural Ohio for my bachelor’s degree. While I cherished my time there, I was ready to be back in a major city, with all of its cultural opportunities. What better place to enjoy my love of museums and art (and also have reliable public transport)? Kingston ended up being a really great choice location-wise, because it’s not right in the very center of London—so a fair bit less expensive—and is a very pretty market town—but I could get to central London in less than half an hour. The full name of the area is Kingston-upon-Thames, and it’s right on the River Thames, so there are also lots of lovely riverboats. Some even operate as pubs, and are such a pleasant place to spend a spring afternoon. It was the best of both worlds—the big-city experience that I’d missed at my fingertips, but also a lovely, quiet place to come home to.

 

WHY DO YOU LIKE WORKING FOR ACROSS THE POND?

I have met so many interesting people in this role—whether they are amazing students from all over the world who are passionate about their subject area and travel, my colleagues, and university representatives. We all share this mission of enjoying and promoting international education; obtaining international experience is incredibly valuable and enriching. Furthermore, I have always been a ‘helper’ personality-wise, and it gives me so much joy to help people achieve their dreams! I actually learned about working at Across the Pond myself when I still studying at Kingston. I thought it would be a fun role while I started my career and sorted myself out, and was genuinely, pleasantly surprised with how much I liked it. Here I am a decade later—my role has changed several times over the years, but I still have that love of helping students.

 

WHY DO YOU THINK PEOPLE FROM THE US SHOULD STUDY IN THE UK? 

Your life will be enriched in so many ways. You will meet so many interesting people from a large variety of countries and will enjoy learning from those diverse perspectives. Living abroad is also very helpful in terms of fostering independence, and developing problem-solving skills—you’ll occasionally run into confusing things while living abroad, and you’ll be all the smarter and better for it. You’ll also have international experience on your CV (especially if you work while studying, which I absolutely would recommend!), which can help you stand out amongst the competition when applying for internships and jobs.

 

LIST ALL OF YOUR FAVOURITE THINGS ABOUT THE UK! 

Wandering around London (still finding new things 10+ years later!); the amazing street markets; the incredible (and often free!) museums; the different accents/dialects (there are a lot more than you may realize); SCOTLAND; sticky toffee pudding; Guy Fawkes Night (such a strange holiday, and so uniquely British); long bank holiday weekends; the amazing music