Fly like an Eagle

My Study Abroad Year at Temple University in Philadelphia by Tom Golebiowski

When I first applied to study history at the University of Southampton, the idea of going on a year abroad hardly crossed my mind. I was coming to Southampton for the fantastic course, the exciting social life and the amazing campus: I couldn’t picture being anywhere else. But now, over a year on from one of the best years of my life – a year filled with so many incredible experiences – the opportunity to study abroad has to be one of the central reasons why my time at Southampton has been so remarkable.

Tom with his friends celebrating the Philadelphia Eagle’s NFL 2018 championship.

My year felt like a non-stop adventure. Philadelphia is one of the most historic cities in the United States, and I was studying at one of its biggest universities – from street festivals to campus events, there was always something going on. Plus, as the city is located two hours from both Washington, D.C., and New York City, I was able to explore most of the East Coast.

At first, I was nervous about being in Philadelphia because I was so far from home. But I settled in easily at Temple. The campus has state-of-the-art facilities and plenty of fast-food trucks, both of which I took full advantage of. I definitely should have put on a few pounds from all the Philly cheesesteaks and Chipotle but at Temple there was so much sport that I could play soccer (football!) almost every evening. Through intramural soccer I met amazing friends with whom I went to frat parties, hung out with between classes and explored the city, all of which made me feel like a proper American student. The people made my experience a million times more special. I’ll always have a place to stay whenever I visit, as they’ll have a place to stay in the United Kingdom!

Philadelphia is home to Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, so being a history student in the city was amazing. One of my favourite activities was to go for a run downtown between the buildings that built the nation, through the iconic City Hall and then jog up the Art Museum steps, made famous by the movie Rocky.

National Park Service photo. https://www.nps.gov/inde/planyourvisit/independencesquarebuildings.htm

All four of the major American sports can be found in Philadelphia, so I was able to enjoy basketball and American football games in abundance. In 2018, scenes from Philadelphia reached the UK news as the whole city erupted into huge celebrations after the Philadelphia Eagles won football’s most coveted prize, the Superbowl. Well, I was there. The feeling of being in a city where hundreds of thousands of people were singing and celebrating on the street together is simply indescribable. Go Birds.

Although the work wasn’t as challenging at Temple compared to Southampton and my grades did not count towards my degree, I really enjoyed studying in America. I took a brilliant Cold War class and did lots of extra reading in the relaxed setting of knowing that my grades did not count. I am certain that this helped me to achieve my best work in my final year at Southampton.

Tom sporting a Temple University t-shirt in front of the school’s mascot: Hooter the Owl.

I am so grateful to Southampton for my year abroad and I hope that every future student gets to have their own experiences living abroad!

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