A member of the prestigious Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State, Sun Devil Gymnastics' rising Junior Corinne Belkoff recently accepted the opportunity to study abroad in London, England alongside fellow Gym Devil Heather Udowitch. A standout in and out of the gym for the Sun Devils in 2017, Belkoff was named to the CoSIDA District Eight All-Academic First-Team, while also earning Pac-12 All-Academic First-Team Honors. Back in Tempe, preparing for the impending fall semester and 2018 season, Belkoff reflects on her studies abroad...
Studying abroad in London was one of the greatest academic endeavors I have ever experienced, as I was fully immersed in a culture with rich history and beautiful sites, sharing the journey with a group of motivated Barrett Honors students with a similar love of academics to my own. We arrived in London on May 25th, where we experienced a bit of a culture shock as we lacked both cellular data and access to GPS. Although it may have taken my roommate, Heather Udowitch and I, a good three hours to find the place, we eventually made it to Courtfield Gardens, a beautiful student living complex in the heart of South Kensington, London.
From that point on the entire trip was a whirlwind, fully booking our days to ensure we didn't miss out on any premier London attractions. On a typical day, we first attended class from 9:00am – 1:00pm, studying both Romantic, Victorian, and Modern literature along with Shakespeare, with two of the most brilliant Barrett professors I have ever had the change of working with. After class, with hardly any pause we would be off on a field trip, maneuvering our way through the London underground transportation system, where we impressively only got lost a few times. We visited sites such as romantic poet William Keats' house, the Tate Britain Museum of Art, The Tower of London, along with Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, where we had the pleasure of seeing both Romeo and Juliet and Twelfth Night. My personal favorite group wide trip was visiting The University of Oxford, as its exceptional architecture and rich educational history inspired me from an academic standpoint to seek the academic prestige that my professor, who was in fact an Oxford graduate, has achieved.
Apart from required class activities, we did quite a bit of touring ourselves, hitting the major London tourist sites, while spending a long weekend in Paris. From the London Eye, to Big Ben, to The Eiffel Tower and the Palace of Versailles, we truly experienced Europe and its historical richness. Not to mention being about five miles from London Bridge on the night of the horrific London Bridge and Borough Market attack, allowing me to experience firsthand the devastation as well as unity such an awful terrorist attack can have on a community.
It's safe to say that my study abroad trip was truly an experience of a lifetime, only increasing my passion for traveling, and the academic opportunities Barrett the Honors College has to offer. I was so fortunate to be able to spend this trip with my roommate and teammate Heather Udowitch, and am so grateful my parents were willing to fund such an unforgettable experience.