the Ups and Downs of London Past Review

By (Psychology and Politics, Brandeis University) - abroad from 09/17/2013 to 12/14/2013 with

Arcadia: London - Goldsmiths, University of London

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Gained huge lessons in independence and self-reliance. Gained a lot of perspective on American culture and history. Studying abroad is totally worthwhile because you will grow a ton- I just perhaps should have considered a different city for myself.

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.

Goldsmiths is a wonderful school. My classes were engaging and interesting, and the workload was not overwhelming. Workload at this school was up to your own motivation, and you could take your course in whatever direction most interested you. The library was a hugely helpful resource at the school.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Arcadia made themselves extremely available and accessible. When I suffered a concussion while abroad, they were frequently in-touch and checking in, and helped me to book at doctors appointment immediately.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Living in dorms was fine- we got a kitchen, single rooms, and our own bathrooms. Arcadia and Goldsmiths, however, provide nothing for housing-- I got to my dorm with no blankets, sheets, pillows, or lamps for my room, and no pots or pans or silverware for the kitchen. It was very inconvenient to have to buy all this there. Many people threw their things away before leaving, so it was a waste as well. New Cross is not the nicest part of London to live in.

* Food:

It was nice not to have a meal plan and to cook for myself. New Cross is not the best place for food-- there are more fried chicken shops than anything else. But the pubs were great for fish and chips or a burger, and the ciders were delicious. New Cross has a bunch of cute cafes with great food, you just have to find them.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

People at this school are super accepting and open. New Cross and Goldsmiths are both incredibly unpretentious. Joining a school club definitely helped with integration into the local culture-- I joined the school's football (soccer- but dont call it that) team and felt immediately at home and comfortable with the girls.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

If you are sick, do not try to figure it out alone- ask the program what to do! While abroad, I suffered a concussion. I was very scared and in a lot of pain the first couple days because I didnt know what was going on or that I even had a concussion. I did not know what health insurance I had so first I went to a free walk-in health clinic. I waited for three hours and the doctor was horrible, very unfriendly, and gave poor information. I then contacted Arcadia and they made everything quite easy- scheduled a doctors appointment for me that same day, and it was free and with a great doctor. They called in multiple times to make sure I was okay. Arcadia was super helpful, but doctors in London do not go out of their way for you half as much as the American doctors I have experienced.

* Safety:

London can be a safe city if you pay attention. My very first day there, my bank card information was stolen because I used a sketchy cash-exchange machine. All my money was withdrawn within two days, which was stressful to say the least. New Cross is also known as one of the less safe places in London. Always keep your wallet and phone on you and keep your room locked. But- the public transportation system was incredibly safe and convenient. London is safe as long as you use common sense.

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


* 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)

London is a very expensive city. When I went, one pound was worth about 1.6 dollars. That meant a coffee was usually over $5. Food was super expensive, going out to pubs and clubs was expensive. The public transportation system is expensive. On the bright side, traveling around Europe is super inexpensive compared to traveling around the USA.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? about $200
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you are traveling around London, take the buses not the tube. The buses are only 1.40 per ride while the tube is somewhere around 3. Also, take megabuses or other alternatives to planes when traveling around Europe. Use AirBnb or hostels.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Host Family
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
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?
  • the school (Goldsmiths) was great
  • the pubs were fun
  • traveling was easy and fun
* What could be improved?
  • Arcadia should provide more necessities (kitchen/bedding)
  • put American students in suites with British students (instead of putting them all together)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How expensive London is, and how horrible the weather is.

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!