Advanced Studies in England: Excellent Decision Past Review

By (Literature, Sarah Lawrence College) for

Advanced Studies England: Bath - ASE Study Centre

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I loved my study abroad experience! It made me appreciate going to an idiosyncratic school like Sarah Lawrence even more, and it was also fun to do something different for a semester. Besides that, it was my first time in Europe, and I loved it! I'm seriously considering applying to grad school in England, and maybe even moving there one day. Besides that, I met some different sorts of people, and made some good friends who I hope to see more of in the future.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I found the workload to be suitably challenging, while still giving me plenty of time to have fun and sightsee--exactly what I wanted in a study abroad program. Class was mostly very interesting and everyone was a reasonably good student and had interesting things to say in class. The academic culture was a bit different from Sarah Lawrence in that nobody was totally dedicated to what they were studying, and students had a somewhat lazier attitude toward homework. It was a change, but not a terrible change, and not one that kept me from learning. I had a lot of fun and learned quite a bit.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Su and Emma, the two women in the administrative office, always seemed to be pretty on-the-ball--a nice change after dealing with Sarah Lawrence administration. Things always got done in a timely fashion, and if I ever needed help with anything I got it. The program was well-tailored to my needs as an American student, with credits and grades and so forth. It was also a small enough program that I knew everyone running it knew me individually, and the classes were all fairly small and discussion-based; both things made it a nicer experience for me. I really enjoyed everything about the program--especially the field trips! The only thing that would have made it better was getting the internship I applied for, so that I could have gotten some work experience and met more English people along with all the American students in my program, but I really liked the four classes I took, and everyone I met, English and American, was great.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in a house with 6 other students from the program. It was in a nice neighborhood, and it was only a 10-minute walk from both the study center and the city center--very convenient. I also appreciated that the house had a sizeable kitchen with two fridges, some cookware and dishes, a washing machine, and a dryer in it. When we moved in, there was even some food already in the fridge and the cabinets that the program had provided! We did need to buy our own food, toiletries, etc for the rest of our time there, but it was really nice to have that bit of food when we were first settling in, and to already have dishes and pots to use. We were also provided with fully furnished rooms, including bedsheets (but not towels), and there was an excellent stock of VHS tapes and DVDs already in the living room. I liked my roommate a lot too. I could have been happier, I suppose, with the other people in the house, but I can't complain much, and any complaints I did have were balanced out by having such a nice house to live in!

* Food:

The program gave us 40 pounds a week for food, but unless you have a lot of extra money besides that to spend on everything, it's a little bit hard to make ends meet, even when you're mostly just buying food. I didn't always eat super well--I had a LOT of pasta with just sauce and cheese--and I always spent every penny that they gave us, along with quite a bit of my own money. So I don't know if I always had the quality of food I wanted, but I did get enough food, and I was reasonably satisfied. There's plenty of good food in Bath too--if you can afford it!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The program made a real effort to give us opportunities to meet English students. That didn't necessarily mean that I met many, but that was more because of my lazy, antisocial tendencies than anything else. The opportunity was definitely there, and I did meet a few English students here and there, which was fun. There were also field trips for most classes and several trips organized for everyone in the program, which gave us plenty of opportunities to sightsee and also socialize with people who weren't in our classes. I really enjoyed all the trips I went on, particularly the hike on the south coast in Dorset.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I came down with a nasty stomach bug my first week in Bath, and there was one night I was throwing up basically every half hour for about four hours straight. The program had provided an emergency cellphone number by which I could reach one of the directors, so I called that after I'd already thrown up about three times and was getting freaked out. Jonathan, the program director, calmed me down a little and then told me to call the free national healthcare hotline for advice on what to do. I wish there was something like that in the US! It was especially nice because I didn't have to move if I was just on the phone, and that made me less likely to throw up again. Anyway, I called, and it took a few minutes to get on the phone with someone, but the woman who answered gave me some advice and told me what kind of medicine I could take, if I was going to take medicine. The only hiccup was that I asked her about American brands of medicine and she wasn't familiar with their ingredients, but that's only natural. Either way, calling the hotline gave me some peace of mind and I had an idea of how to deal with what was going on. So the program was great about being there for me, and so was the British healthcare system!

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


* 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)

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? For a Sarah Lawrence student in particular: If you want to spend a semester seeing what normal school and normal people--but still good school and good people--are like, do Advanced Studies in England! For anybody else: It's a fantastic balance between academic rigor and fun sightseeing, with a decent amount of cultural immersion as well. This program will make you love England.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

History of the Middle Ages

Course Department:
Instructor: Peter Turner
Instruction Language: English
Comments: I loved this class! Peter Turner is a thoroughly engaging teacher who knows his subject well and made us all think about history in new ways. Our field trip to see Roman ruins in Wales and England was fun and interesting, and I always found class very entertaining and learned a lot. While none of my classes felt like Sarah Lawrence classes in their format, this one was definitely up to the academic standard that I expected after two and a half years at Sarah Lawrence. It was one of my favorite classes in my whole college career.
Credit Transfer Issues: None!