Study abroad students experience Loyola in a new light


Bab and Hepburn pose in front of the street car. Both are European students studying abroad for the semester. Photo credit: Gabriella Killett

Gabriella Killett

Juniors Josephine Hepburn and Johannes Bab both seem to lead the normal lives of American students. The only difference is that they’re just visiting.

Hepburn, studying abroad for one academic year from Birmingham, England and Bab, studying abroad for one semester from Dortmund, Germany are living their lives as Americans for now, through their time as students at Loyola.

For Bab, with English as a part of his major, his semester abroad was required, while Hepburn planned for three years to study abroad.

Hepburn, a music major from University of Birmingham and Bab, a music and English education major visiting from TU Dortmund University, both came to Loyola to experience New Orleans jazz.

“I went to Frenchman Street, and that was pretty sweet,” Bab said. “It was like how I imagined the jazz thing, and there was a parade going on and people dancing in the street, dancing on cars and people going completely crazy. It was like ‘Yeah man, this is how I imagined this.'”

While enjoying their time studying abroad so far, Hepburn and Bab both observed some differences between New Orleans and their homes across the ocean.

Hepburn recalled her first impression of New Orleans as having incredibly different weather.

“I arrived when it was completely dark at night, and I remember me and my mum- she came with me- we actually thought that we must be standing under a heater or something, and then we just kept walking away from the airport and we were like, ‘No it’s not a heater,'” Hepburn said.

For Bab, the difference in food culture between Germany and the U.S. has been an adjustment.

“I have a feeling that here food has more sugar and a little bit more fat,” Bab said.

Hepburn has been adjusting to the size of Loyola, as the University of Birmingham has 30,000 students.

“You don’t really see the same person twice and it’s just huge and it’s so overwhelming when you first go and you’re 18 and you think, ‘Oh my goodness,'” Hepburn said. “Here it’s so nice to see the same people throughout the day. It’s really nice. I love it.”

Both Hepburn and Bab said studying at their univeristies in Europe was overwhelming, while they both feel a more relaxed experience at Loyola. For Hepburn, the relationships on campus between students and professors have helped create this environment.

“The professors get to know you as people,” Hepburn said. “You’re not just in a lecture of 70 people where you go in and then you leave.”

Both students, despite being in a foreign country, have been able to make friends on campus.

“Americans are more about having small talk and it’s harder to get to the step where it’s real talk and building a real friendship,” Bab said.

Bab and Hepburn have slightly different views, however, on what it has been like to socialize in the U.S.

“People don’t speak to strangers in England,” Hepburn said. “Everyone is just so lovely. It’s just the best.”

For Hepburn, it’s the little things on campus that make her experience all the more exciting.

“The first time I saw a lizard, I got so excited, and I love seeing the palm trees every day,” Hepburn said. “Every time I walk through Palm Court, I just think back to the three years of work I put in and think ‘Palm trees, I made it.’”