Rebekah Ellis

Rebekah Ellis is a final year student on BSc Planning and Real Estate here she discusses her experience of studying abroad in the USA.

On deciding to study abroad

Rebekah Ellis

Even when applying to study my undergraduate course: BSc Planning and Real Estate at Manchester, I knew that I would take the opportunity to spend one semester studying abroad at one of UoM exchange partner universities. It was a tricky decision between Arizona State University (ASU) and the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. Arizona won from the point of view of the weather! I was fortunate to get a place at ASU as my first-choice option to study during Year 2, Semester 1.

Studying at ASU gave me a more holistic view in terms of urban planning as it is crucial to address the interconnections between urban environments on a global scale in order to protect the vitality and sustainability of our cities in the future. With permission from my academic advisor, I chose a couple of sustainability courses to replace my modules at UoM. These courses made me further appreciate and see that challenges such as climate change impact everyone in different ways and varying intensities which must be solved globally as we all share the resources on earth.

On how study abroad developed me academically

Studying at ASU not only helped me grow academically, but also personally. I had to push myself out of my comfort zone by travelling to a new place and immersing myself in the culture.

When I arrived on campus for my first day, I noticed a huge skateboarding culture around the university, so I took part in the women’s skateboarding society! The way the university campus designs for skateboarding, instead of against, actually influenced my dissertation. Now, over a year later after finishing my semester in Arizona, I am doing my dissertation on skateboarding, aiming to assess how skateboarding may be better implemented and designed for in Manchester.

On the experience of living abroad

Outside of my studies, there were plenty ASU Sun Devils football games to get excited about! Everyone wears the Sun Devils colours, gold or maroon, for game day along with taking part in other traditions or chants for the football. There’s so much to get involved with at ASU, you’ll be sure to do something you never have done before once you get there!

Arizona itself has phenomenal scenery, I visited the Grand Canyon, Page, Flagstaff, Sedona, and Tucson. I also got the chance to visit other districts closer to the university such as Phoenix and Scottsdale. If you get the chance to visit Arizona definitely plan where you want to go because there’s so much to see!

Other incredible travels I did included going across the Arizona boarders to LA and Vegas… You can imagine the endless possibilities there! In LA my friends and I went to the beaches, the Griffith Observatory and Universal Studios. Again, definitely plan how you want to spend your time because you can’t do everything at one time, I’m so desperate to go back!