Hayden Lightle

Major: Apparel, Merchandising, and Design
Class: Junior
Timeframe: Spring 2022

Overall Experience

My study abroad experience was like nothing I had ever experienced before. In a good way of course! From the people I met to the memories I created, the London College of Fashion opened my eyes to a brand new world. Upon first arriving in London, I can easily say that I was scared. Having only lived in generally smaller populated areas to living in a huge metropolitan city was no easy task. There were times that I felt alone and wished to be home; however, as soon as I started opening up and making those connections with people that were in the same spot that I was in, everything changed. I soon realized all that London had to offer. My study abroad experience allowed me to widen my perspectives and make global connections from not only students and professionals located in London, but also individuals from all over the world. It has made me a more independent person.

Learning experience

The most valuable learning experience I encountered during my study abroad involves my independence. Being alone in a new country can be scary. It’s a new experience, in a new place, away from the comfortable environment I had always known. I learned to accept and adapt from this loneliness. I was able to learn to do things on my own, while also putting myself out there more to gain new friends. While it was hard, it showed me that I can do things independently and that true friends will be there for you.

Memorable experience

The most memorable experience I have from this experience is the history I learned along the way. As part of my study abroad experience, I was required to take a British Cultural Studies class. It was here that every week the class would meet and talk about the history of said location. The course would take us all over to different parts of London, which has a very deep history. Beyond doing the typical touristy things that I also love, it was like getting a mini private tour of more in-depth information at some less touristy spots.

What did you not expect?

Something that I didn’t expect and surprised me from studying abroad was how city life really worked on a day-to-day basis. Going from Iowa to London would be a difficult transition for anyone, along with adjusting to the cultural differences. Growing to adapt to city life, this has changed the manner in which I approach my professional life in a great way. As I plan to either live in a city or travel to bigger cities for my professional life, I feel more prepared for that city life. In addition, the cultural differences which also surprised me, helped me prepare for future connections around the world. Being able to relate on some level with the new perspective I had gained.

What advice would you give?

The advice I have for other students who want to study abroad or have a similar experience as I did is to do it, have no regrets, and live your life to the fullest. Studying abroad was like nothing I had ever done before and it goes by fast. If you are determined to study abroad, make it happen. There will be times where you’re scared and nervous and probably feeling alone; however, you are not alone. Allow yourself to have fun and enjoy wherever you are and the rest will be history.

How has this experience impacted your life?

This experience has impacted my life, as well as my personal, educational, and long-term career goals in so many different ways. Personally, it has expanded my perspectives to new heights where I am now able to relate to individuals from all walks of life. Educationally, my experience has allowed me to learn from industry professionals at a renowned school. I was about to gain information from people with real fashion industry experiences. Finally this experience has impacted my long-term career goals by not only increasing my knowledge, but by expanding my network to include individuals located all over the world. Knowing that studying abroad has impacted all aspects of my goals and changed my way of living has also prepared me for possible future situations where I could be living in that fast-paced city life.

How did you learn about this experience?

I first learned about this international opportunity through a meeting about the program during my freshman year (Fall 2019). From there, I made it a goal to achieve and learn more through study abroad fairs, websites, and reaching out to students who previously studied abroad and to ISU faculty.

International Connections