International Connections


Katherine Rauch

Major: Kinesiology and Health


Minor/option/emphasis: Psychology

Year: Junior
Hometown, State: Norwalk, IA

Type of experience: Faculty-Led Program
Experience: WiSE in London
Experience website: https://www.wise.iastate.edu/current/study-abroad
Destination: England

Overall experience..
We went to London over spring break and did a lot of sight seeing and also spent 2 days in Liverpool. While in Liverpool, we toured the Cargill Seaforth branch to learn about global companies and opportunities for women in STEM fields. We also visited the University of Liverpool and met with their WiSE program, we got to tour their campus and network with their students. While in London we did a double decker bus tea tour of the city, visited the Tour of London, did a CSI style Jack the Ripper tour, visited Windsor Castle, saw two musicals in the West End Theatre Distract, went to a soccer game at Wembley Stadium, and visited a ton of different museums. At night we explored the city and tried a lot of different cuisines.

I learned...
I learned about this opportunity at orientation my freshman year of college. It wasn't until the end of my sophomore year that I knew I wanted to study abroad. I've been a member of the WiSE program since my freshman year, and this opportunity kept getting advertised in emails.

An impact to my life...
This experience really helped me grow as a person and become more independent. This was the first time that I traveled without my family, and was the first time that I left North America. I learned how to navigate the Underground transportation system in London and how to plan my free time in a foreign country. I really matured over the 10 days that I was overseas. This experience influenced my long-term career goals because it broadened my knowledge of the overarching deficit of opportunities for women in the STEM fields not only in the US, but also in different countries. This experience helped me to realize that I want to be a mentor to young girls to get them interested in the STEM fields, and I want them to know that they can go into any career field.

My most valuable learning experience...
The most valuable experience that I had while in Liverpool was talking to the students in the WiSE program from the University of Liverpool. It made me realize how ahead of the curve my major and department is when helping even the gender gap. A lot of the programs in Liverpool have a big gender gap when there are only 5-10 women in a class of 60 students. This made me thankful that I go to Iowa State where women are encouraged to enter into the STEM fields.

I will never forget...
The most memorable experience that I had was touring Westminster Abbey. There is so much history in that building and the architecture is absolutely amazing. We had a guided tour and learned about the long history of the royal family. Some many famous people are buried there or have memorials there and seeing them was something that stopped me in my tracks. The amount of history in the building is something like nothing else in the world.

A surprising discovery...
I did not expect to gain the level of independence and confidence that I did on the trip. Before we left, I was scared that I wouldn't be able to travel without my family. Throughout the trip I realized how strong of a person I am and how much of an adult I have grown into. I was able to navigate myself through a foreign country, and made 3 new best friends on the trip. When we left I reflected on my time in London and realized how much I'd grown as a person. I left London with a new level of self confidence and independence that will help me further my education into grad school and my future career as an Occupational Therapist.

Advice for others...
Everyone should study abroad while in college. It's an opportunity that should not be passed up or overlooked. Studying abroad helps you grow into a more mature person, and it gives you so many memories that will last a lifetime. It's an amazing opportunity that will change you for the better.

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