Hey there! My name is Elena Cooper and I am a Psychology and International Relations dual major in the class of 2025. I was lucky enough to spend my Fall 2023 semester abroad at Syracuse University’s London Center Program, and I made tons of unforgettable memories. I took classes such as “PSC 300 – Death as Political: Violence, Grief, and Protest”, “PSY 400 – Conflict, Trauma, and Collective Memory”, and “HOA 473 – London Museums: Art, History, and Science”, as well as a 10-day pre-semester Signature Seminar called “GEO 304 – Sustainability on Trial: Environmental Justice in Northern Europe”.

For the seminar, we had the chance to travel across Norway, Sweden, and Finland, meeting local citizens, petting huskies, and feeding reindeer, while also having the unique opportunity to learn about sustainability in some of the greenest countries on Earth.

On top of the tour through Scandinavia, I was also fortunate to have been able to travel nearly every weekend, whether to another country, or another town/city in the UK. I did a lot of independent travel – sometimes with friends and other times alone – while abroad, making it to nineteen different countries during my time in Europe!

But, many of the coolest experiences happened within the realm of my program. For example, the London Center program sponsors free weekend and day trips to places like Brighton, Stratford-upon-Avon, Greenwich, Cork & Cobh, and Copenhagen, which housed some of the most amazing moments of my study abroad semester. In addition to large trips like those, the classes in London all use the city as their classroom, taking field trips to museums or other sites many of the weeks of the semester. That made it very easy to explore the city and feel right at home.

The people I met abroad were also a key part of making London feel like home! They are some of the most sincere, amiable, and compassionate people I have ever known, and I was lucky to share a space with them for a semester, whether that be in my flat or in Faraday House (home base for SU London!). My flat housed 12 total students, split across singles, a double, a triple (mine!), and a quad room, who all shared a combined kitchen/living room space. Everyone I lived with was spectacular, which really contributed to a positive experience abroad.

Our flat was always bustling with activity, whether from us, or from friends who always spent time at our place. But, the friends I made didn’t just come from my flat: they also came from the seminar, my classes, and from participating in activities both sponsored by SU London and independently around the city. (Some were even real, authentic Brits!) I also felt blessed to get a chance to connect with the London staff. They were so incredibly supportive and friendly, and really made me feel welcomed and encouraged in all my endeavors. My professors there were also the best I have had during my entire Syracuse experience thus far.

As far as the impact my abroad semester had on my future and career goals, I underwent a great deal of change. I had swapped my majors and minors numerous times already before going abroad, not really having a certain idea of my future. But, during my time in London, I developed more confidence in what I want to get out of my future because of the life changing experiences I had.

One particularly impactful moment was the time I spent in Lockerbie, Scotland with community members who witnessed the aftermath of the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing. Their stories humanized the horror of terrorist attacks, and impassioned me to study the connections between Psychology and International Relations, in this case in the form of terrorism. I now feel passionate and hopeful about the future, and my role in making it a better, safer place. Thank you Syracuse Abroad!

Elena Cooper ’25

Syracuse London

Psychology & International Relations