Life Changing Experience! Past Review

By (Salem State University) - abroad from 05/20/2017 to 07/23/2017 with

AIFS London - Richmond, The American International University in London

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained an understanding of what it is like to live outside of the seemingly closed off United States and experiencing the amazingly diverse city of London all while being able to cheaply travel to other cities in Europe and experience their history and culture.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Some courses were excellent, but others were subpar. We also had to supply all of our own materials for courses such as Photography.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Great and very helpful, but had an overall tone of profit, and you can notice that is what they are in there for.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The dorms were nice enough for the location, it does not seem like the do a lot of updating in the UK.

* Food:

It was a gamble for the food, and we spent so much money elsewhere because of the cafeterias terrible hours and even worse choices. They said it was culturally different, but most restaurants in London served much better food. Not only was the food horrid, but there were usually only two options, this makes it difficult for anyone with dietary restrictions. The food they served at lunch would often be the leftovers from dinner the previous night. We spent too much money on this program to get food like this, with the cafe only being open a couple hours a day on weekdays only.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I did not meet a single person from the UK on the program other than the staff, they did not do one thing to try and integrate us into the local culture, this was left up to the individual.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

No health issues, no vaccines needed for this country.

* Safety:

Aside from the few terrorist attacks that sadly happened while we were in London, the city seems extremely safe, and Kensington is probably the safest place in London.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

AIFS did not seem like it actually cared about its students, and I don't think I got the most amount of value out of my money in this program.


* 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)

Not at all. Food and travel were very expensive, during one of my classes I spent well over £60 on traveling and spend hundreds if not thousands of pounds on food because of the lack of quality food provided by the program. London is a very expensive city and it is not likely that you will be able to stay on student budget.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? £200
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Save even more money than you were planning to save originally!


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

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

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Optional Excursions
  • Location of Dorm
* What could be improved?
  • Integrate Dorms with Locals
  • Better Food
  • Treat Students like Adults
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How easy it would be to make friends on the program and how easily I would forget about life at home. I was nervous going into it but the nerves quickly went away as I explored the great city of London.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.