An Independent, Unforgettable, Cultural Experience Past Review

By (English Language and Literature, History, Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/29/2018 to 05/19/2018 with

Advanced Studies England: Bath - ASE Study Centre

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Simply learning the eccentricities of how another country worked by living as a relatively independent citizen in one of its cities, alone, was a worthwhile experience. The sheer amount of cultural and historical experiences embedded in the program from seeing plays at Shakespeare's birthplace to exploring the ruins of a castle destroyed during the English civil war were also unparalleled by anything that could be learned about second hand through the internet.

Review Photos

Advanced Studies England: Bath - ASE Study Centre Photo Advanced Studies England: Bath - ASE Study Centre Photo Advanced Studies England: Bath - ASE Study Centre Photo Advanced Studies England: Bath - ASE Study Centre Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The rigor and workload of courses is highly dependent on which courses you take at ASE. Taking all English and History classes, for example, meant for me regular weekly reading assignments of 300 pages or more, whereas a roommate I had taking primarily media related courses regularly expressed having very little to no outside work for her courses. The courses themselves, however, are as engaging as you make them--doing the readings so you can participate makes all the difference and, like with almost any college level class, determines how much you get out of the program. In my case, course work did often dictate what I could and could not participate in outside of courses but I also believed engaging with it allowed me to get as much out of my classes as possible.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration of ASE is what separates it from other programs. Every member of the staff is helpful, friendly, easy to approach, and eager to help the students attending the program. Even staff members who seem intimidating from a distance are sociable and truly invested in getting to know you.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The living arrangements are a series of townhouses scattered around Bath that truly encourage cooperation between housemates, but also instill a sense of independence. There is no dining hall or set meal times or even regularly restocked utilities, meaning that ASE gives students a feel of what it is like to live independently that is often missing from regular college dormitories. The houses seem to vary in quality, however. I lived in a more modern house and was very satisfied with it, but others I knew living in an older house were regularly reporting problems that made living comfortably difficult.

* Food:

For food, you are completely responsible for what you eat, where you eat, and how much you spend on food. As the program only provides food at special occasions, this is a difficult item to rate. The food around Bath is like in most other cities--there are nice places, there are cheap places, and there are many grocery stores if you decide to eat in. While most of the food was nothing spectacular, a good cook will be perfectly content with the dining setup. Someone with less cooking knowledge might have a few difficulties balancing their budget if forced to eat out every night.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Probably the program's biggest shortcoming. Integration with local clubs and community gatherings was difficult to engage with and required high effort to maintain. While the opportunity to join clubs at the local university existed, very few students participated. Most social connections in this program will be made among the other American students, not locals unless given great amounts of attention and upkeep.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Though personally never needed by me, the resources available seemed accessible and also anonymous in case of private or sensitive cases.

* Safety:

I personally never felt in danger or worried for safety over the course of the program. However, Bath still is a city and requires a degree of awareness of people, cars, and anything else that may be passing by. Though it was stated that such a thing is a rare occurrence, a student was mugged during my stay in Bath. The main advice learned by this incident is simply to keep only some money on you and walk in groups at night, which is general advice for most cities.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

Though with its faults, ASE is the best experience I have had attending college. There is very little that I look back on and do not think fondly of. I loved the house I lived in, the cultural trips I went on, the hikes through the English countryside, going out with other students on the program, participating in class discussions, the Thai restaurant across the street, the late night trips to the only open grocery store, walking ten miles along the river on days off just because it was possible. The first thing I thought upon returning home was how much I would enjoy returning to England, particularly, Bath again.


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

With a work study while abroad and with an eye on budgeting, the program is very livable if weekly expenses are thought of ahead and planned for, while also allowing some leeway for extra purchases for souvenirs or nights out on the city.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Between 60-150 pounds a week
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Eating out or going to clubs every night is the fastest way to drain money. Learning how to cook and knowing when to stay in so the nights you do go out are worth it are both important skills.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Program study trips
  • The trip to Stratford upon Avon
  • Independent living
* What could be improved?
  • Cultural interaction
  • Improved housing for some of the more rundown houses
  • Potentially ability to switch roomates, should a problem arise
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? While doing everything the program offers is nice in theory and often very rewarding, it is also perfectly fine if you need to skip a hike or lecture if it is not to your interests. Many things will be enjoyable, but not everything will be engaging for you. There are also simply days that, whether due to seasonal illness, schoolwork, or personal reasons, it is better not to force yourself to attend whatever event is going on.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!