Karl with his table tennis team
Karl (far left in the middle row) with his table tennis team  ©

Karl Willis

Tell us a little about yourself, where you are and why you chose this programme.

I’m 23 and studying Sport & Exercise Science at Ulster University, Jordanstown.  At the moment I’m at Texas Wesleyan University studying Business Management. I chose this programme because I believed it would be a great opportunity for me to develop both as a person and academically.

What is your favourite memory from your time abroad so far?

Joining the table tennis team has helped me to meet lots of people with similar interests. We’ve done lots of fun things like going to an amusement park, and trying food from different cultures. The players and coaches get on so well with each other, and it has helped me to make a lot of close friends since I have been here.

How has your time abroad benefited you in terms of your skills and employment so far?

Firstly, I have learned to communicate with people much better; there are so many nationalities here (16 nationalities within the table tennis team alone, with many more on campus), and not everybody can understand my accent, so I have had to learn how speak in a way that they understand. Also, this is my first time studying business related courses, so I have learnt a lot so far in my first semester with regards to business skills, including management, and economics.

What aspect of going abroad were you most worried about before leaving? How did you deal with it?

I wasn’t really sure what to expect, in particular if I would be able to understand the business classes. It was a little difficult to begin with, but after a couple of weeks you quickly learn how to do the work. Speaking to the professors is also a great help; they want you to do well, and will assist you in any way that they can.

What advice do you have for people thinking about going abroad?

You should definitely go for it. It’s a fantastic way to meet new people, and you might never get the chance to experience another country in the same way as you can when you are a student, so take the opportunity if you get it.

What will you miss most when you go home?

I will miss getting to be around my friends all the time and socialising as much as I am. I’ll also miss the Texan heat, and free drink refills.

For students in Northern Ireland, find out how you could spend a year abroad with Study USA