Best Experience of My Life July 05, 2018

By (English Education, Xavier University of Louisiana) - abroad from 01/01/2018 to 06/02/2018 with

Arcadia: London - Goldsmiths, University of London

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a lot of experience with managing a monthly budget, becoming familiar with a new environment, learning how to navigate foreign transportation systems, and arranging travel plans. All of the challenges I overcame to make this opportunity happen were certainly worthwhile.

Review Photos

Arcadia: London - Goldsmiths, University of London Photo Arcadia: London - Goldsmiths, University of London Photo Arcadia: London - Goldsmiths, University of London Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I had a wonderful time during my five months in London. My study abroad program provided opportunities to take part in local travel and offered a writing resource center that was open for a few hours every weekday. I also knew that my program contact was available if I had any questions.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration staff checked in regularly, including when I was traveling in other European countries, and always responded quickly to my emails when I had questions.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I had my own room and bathroom, and shared a kitchen with my 7 flatmates. Although it was smaller than I was used to, there was still plenty of space and I loved it.

* Food:

There was no meal plan for my university, so I cooked my own meals or ate from local restaurants. I greatly enjoy cooking, so there was no issue concerning food. Also, everything is a lot fresher than the fruits and vegetables I usually purchase from American grocery stores.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Although most of the friends I made were American or study abroad students from various other European countries, I connected and became close with my British classmates, traveled all around the city to the point where I could give directions on the tube, and I volunteered with a local after school program.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

During my study abroad experience, I never used my abroad health insurance, however I was happy to know I could. Still, I gave an average rating because I have asthma and my lungs were very irritated by the smoke I inhaled during my time abroad, even though I do not smoke at all.

* Safety:

I felt safe when I was traveling around the city, but several of my friends did not. London is a very busy city and there is a large homeless population, but the key to staying safe is simply being aware of your surroundings.

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

Arcadia was incredibly helpful during my time abroad, and Goldsmith's University truly was the perfect program for me. I lived and made friends with several people from countries all over Europe and America, and I plan to stay in contact with all of them. I also learned about various works of literature and cultural theories in my English classes on Shakespeare and Sensibility & Romanticism, and my education course on Culture & Identity. I also had an invaluable one-on-one class for Intermediate Mandarin, which expanded my knowledge of the language and culture.

Finances

* 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)

I am a very frugal person by nature, so adhering to my budget wasn't an issue. However, I never fully adjusted to the currency difference.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 100-120 pounds
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? My advice would be to create a budget prior to going abroad. My monthly budget included: souvenirs, groceries, recreational activities, laundry, eating out, necessities, and miscellaneous expenses.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

I had a one-on-one Intermediate Mandarin course for 2 hours twice a week.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Lower-Intermediate
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? The best way to practice is by speaking with other people who speak the language, practicing writing the language on a regular basis, and listening to television shows and movies that use the language you are studying.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
* 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?
  • All of my professors were incredibly passionate about their subject material.
  • London is an amazing city and I had the opportunity to travel to several nearby countries.
  • Through Arcadia, I found an after school program to volunteer with for six weeks.
* What could be improved?
  • Tighter security would have been a major improvement during my experience. There were some very loud and disruptive residents who lived near me, and I had to deal with an inconsiderate flatmate for weeks who filled the flat hallway with smoke.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I would have purchased all of my textbooks online or borrowed them from the library, because after 5 months abroad, there was no room for my large textbooks in my suitcase.

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!