Contact Us

Office of Admissions | Knight Hall 150
1000 E. University Avenue
Department 3435
Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-5160
Toll-Free: (800) 342-5996
Fax: (307) 766-4042

Find us on Instagram (Link opens a new window)Find us on Facebook (Link opens a new window)Find us on Twitter (Link opens a new window)Find us on LinkedIn (Link opens a new window)Find us on YouTube (Link opens a new window)

Study Abroad Changed How I see the World

Student stares out at the ocean on a study abroad trip


The person I am today is not the same person I was a year and a half ago.

And I hate that I’m saying that, and fully believing in it. It’s just so cheesy! As I reflect on it, when I used to hear people say things about change, I was a bit of a nonbeliever. Change, to me, was like Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. It’s like when you’re talking to a child about what Santa Claus brought them for Christmas. You believe that they believe in Santa Claus, but as for you, you know the truth.

Basically, I was a total change-cynic.

I had never found myself in a position that left me much changed. Sure, I had graduated high school and began college, but even leaving home and beginning a new step in my academic career felt like it was the same old Jocelyn running on autopilot.

And while the same old Jocelyn was an accomplished individual, who focused on doing well in school and creating relationships with those around her, and was a determined and driven athlete, she wasn’t really someone who took challenges easily. She barely bothered to leave her comfort zone, and thought most things that she wanted, were just out of her reach.

When it came to change, I knew that doing so could be good for me, but knowing is so much easier than doing.

Like many, I saw university as an opportunity to learn and grow both academically and as an individual. University was an opportunity for change. So, when I entered my first year of school in 2019, I attempted to search out opportunities that lead me to growth, and to change, and yet, I kept myself completely safe. Safe from being hurt, safe from challenging myself too much, safe from experiencing what could be really great for me.

Growing up, I was constantly surrounded by stories about the travels my family had experienced at one time or the other.


Young Jocelyn

A young, self prescribed change-cynic.



My mom is from Canada, and when she went to university, she had the opportunity to upgrade her nursing degree in Australia, as the Canadian nursing system was recognized there.

She is my hero, and someone I respect and attempt to emanate every day of my life. My mom has always been someone I admire and the stories I’ve heard about her time abroad has only continued to paint her in an amazing light. She’s my hero, she was and is everything I hope to be as I grow into myself. She takes chances, she challenges herself, she’s honest with herself and those around her. And in her twenties, she was a daredevil. It’s inspiring.


Heidi in Australia

Jocelyn's mother, Heidi when she was studying in Australia.



After my mom graduated, she spent the summer backpacking. Backpacking around Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and the surrounding islands. During a stop in the Cook Islands, while in the hotel pool with her brother, she met my dad. Just a twenty-something guy from Greeley, Colorado with his mom and stepdad on a scuba diving trip.

They were so much cooler then.

And, as the cliché line goes, the rest was history.

Throughout each story my family told, one message was clear – they all hoped that, at some point, I would have the same opportunities for myself that they had had.


Jocelyn's paretns first meet on thier trip

Jocelyn's mother and father with her uncle when her parents first met in the Cook Islands.



When I was 14, my grandparents took me on a month long excursion to England, Scotland, Wales, and France. We went to more museums than we knew what to do with, we saw sights that I had learned about since I was young, and I was introduced to a world different to the one I was accustomed to. I was amazed by the sights, blown away by the fact that an entire world existed outside of my everyday life. Blown away about how much more the world had to offer then I had thought.

During that month, my passion for traveling was born. Not only was I able to immerse myself into the rich history of the area around me, but I was also privileged to experience a culture outside of the one I had spent the previous 14 years of my life growing in. I now had this amazing chance to see the world up close and personal, with fresh eyes. What I saw was much more diverse, full of individuals who experienced similar situations to I, while carrying themselves through life with a different approach than I was used to. We may have spoken the same language, but we had a much different view of the world around us. While abroad, I came to recognize the importance of leaving an environment I found comfort in, opening my worldview, and learning more about the culture around me.

Upon leaving the United Kingdom and Europe, and over the seven or so years from my trip abroad, and the five years before I began school, my dream of traveling continued to manifest, where I became increasingly more serious about studying abroad while in college.


During the year prior to me beginning university, I had decided to swim for Wyoming, which I had originally chosen for a multitude of reasons, but mainly because of Wyoming’s amazing study abroad options and funding; considering the partnership between the institution and former United States Vice President, Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne. The Cheney grants at the University of Wyoming allows our institution to currently host the largest study abroad scholarship endowment of any public land-grant university in America.

After a series of events, including a worldwide pandemic, I was completing my third year of studies, having been injured and leaving the swim team, when a friend of mine reached out; saying that their professor had announced to their class that they had students pull out of study abroad program traveling to Rome, Italy and that the study abroad office would be reopening applications in attempt to gain a few more students to go.

And suddenly everything was moving very quickly. I’ve always been someone that becomes easily overwhelmed with things that are either daunting or I’m unsure how to move forward, and with the deadline of the Rome trip, I was making meetings in the study abroad office and attempting to make decisions quickly.

During my meetings at the study abroad office, I had also been introduced to the exact same program that would travel to London in the spring semester, as opposed to Rome in the fall. Like I said earlier, I had been to London a few years prior and had left feeling very certain that I could live in London when I got older.

I distinctly remember a phone call with my mom, where I said the same exact thing. That I had always wanted to be in London for a longer time then I had been able to previously, but… Rome. And, because my mom had always been incredibly supportive, she replied, “I think that my dream for you is to do both. We’ll just figure it out.”

And we did, we just figured it out. And to this day, I still believe that the loan payments are completely worth the experiences and growth I had.


In the fall of 2022, I traveled to Rome and studied art history in a faculty-lead program with UW professor, Rachel Sailor. There I lived in an apartment with five other students who I became very close to over the three months.


Rome Roomate

Jocelyn and her London roommate, fellow UW student, Kari Holte in Scotland.



While I was there, I became someone I’m incredibly proud of. As an only child, I’ve never much enjoyed being alone or doing errands by myself. I’m not one to search out adventures, I’m not someone you could call ‘easy-going,’ and yet I found myself going with the flow (albeit I went with the flow a little stressed), I said yes to every outing, every sightseeing opportunity, every learning opportunity, and I found myself seeking opportunities to go to museums or important Rome locations on my own.

In short, my time in Rome made me a confident individual, someone who was confident in her independence and confident that I just can.


Jocelyn in italy

Visiting the Gardens and Villa d'Este in Tivoli, Italy (A.K.A where they filmed the Lizzie McGuire Movie).



I came home for a little over a month in December of 2022, rushed to get a Visa and left in January of 2023 for three months in London.

I’m often asked which my favorite of the two experiences is, and they were just so completely different that it is impossible to tell.

On one hand, I met amazing individuals in Rome and truly got to know myself while I was there, but on the other, I was living out my 14 year old dream of truly living in jolly-‘ol London Town.

I also like to explain it as this: I took what I learned and grew comfortable in in Rome and applied it to my approach of spending time in London. I grew personally in Rome, but in London I grew professionally.


Neither of these trips abroad did not necessarily fit int my degree evaluation, as I am a communication major and PR minor, and one trip was art history and the other was political science. So, I wanted to find ways that I could move forward in my education while I was there. In Rome, I studied elementary Italian and international marketing, and in London I applied for a work placement.

The work placement allowed for me to apply my established education in an internship setting, as I was placed with Ronald McDonald House UK, where I was the assistant to the Community Fundraiser. This kind of connection and opportunity, I don’t think, would have been possible without having gone through the entire experience as a whole.

My time in London taught me how to be an accomplished professional; how to grow and learn in an already established environment, how to be helpful across a multitude of avenues, and how to speak up for additional opportunities. This was my first true internship that I had ever had, and the opportunities that I received during that time made me less concerned about future internships and what I could expect in a career.


London Adventures with new friends

Jocelyn and her roommates and friends made while visiting the Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi.



An unexpected experience London gave me was the change in my professional interests.

When I was in high school, I used to struggle envisioning what I saw for myself in the future. That Jocelyn had also never seen herself in a specific career field, didn’t exactly have any interests or passions that could be turned into a job and just generally worried that it was going to take some time to figure out where she was headed. Coming into university, I took some time exploring different possible interests and ultimately landed on communication, because it interested me, and I seemed to excel at it.

Let this be a footnote that that can be all that college is, finding what you do well in and sticking with it to see if it is an interest.

I turned my interest for social media into the academic path I took at University of Wyoming, taking various journalism courses and even including some graphic design courses that I hoped would translate well in managing and developing content for someone’s social media account in the future.

Going into my time abroad in London, I had curated my work placement to hopefully be in an area that could translate to my interest in social media and public relations, but I was also taking classes with our UW professor, Dr. Andrew Garner, that was centered around political science.

During the course of the three months in London, we studied and analyzed the differences of democracies around the world and even discussed the operations that go into democratizing regions and how regime changes can play out. As a student who had never taken any kind of political science course, it was eye-opening.

Just like when I was 14, traveling abroad for the first time. Just like when I was 21, living in a country that did not speak the same language as I, I was experiencing something that completely altered my worldview.


Jocelyn in London

Jocelyn visiting the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, outside of London.



I have always been (overly) passionate about politics (apologizing now to my parents, my roommates, everyone) but had never really seen it as a possible career choice, but suddenly it was all I could see, all I could want for myself. I was suddenly reaching out to a connection I had made at the United Nations while I was in Rome, suddenly asking Dr. Garner how I could utilize my background in journalism in politics, suddenly thinking about graduate school going in a different direction than I had thought a year prior.

Now, a year after arriving back in the States since leaving the UK, I am continuing to try and figure out how to involve political science, diplomacy and humanitarian aid, into my future career.


I started this piece by saying that I didn’t believe in change, but studying abroad has been the best change to ever happen to me. I desperately needed this change. It woke me up, it awoke a passion in me for something I didn’t see a future in, it revealed a confidence in me that I never knew I had.

Traveling has become so ingrained in who I am and where I find joy and I cannot wait to continue to foster this passion.

So, if you clicked on this blog because you’ve been thinking about studying abroad, this is your sign.


Worry about the how later; there are so many scholarships and grants available to you, there are a multitude of programs that will absolutely fit into your degree path. The opportunities are endless.

I want this for you! And I believe you can do it!

Maybe studying abroad can change how you approach the world, or your future, or how you accept change too.


Ready to change your view of the world too? 

Explore your own study abroad experience with the University of Wyoming.



Contact Us

Office of Admissions | Knight Hall 150
1000 E. University Avenue
Department 3435
Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-5160
Toll-Free: (800) 342-5996
Fax: (307) 766-4042

Find us on Instagram (Link opens a new window)Find us on Facebook (Link opens a new window)Find us on Twitter (Link opens a new window)Find us on LinkedIn (Link opens a new window)Find us on YouTube (Link opens a new window)