Awesome opportunity to explore my favorite city Past Review

By (PSYCHOLOGY., The University of Texas at Austin) - abroad from 09/11/2013 to 06/20/2014 with

Arcadia: London - King's College London

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained confidence in myself, and I made friends from all over the world. I learned the value of travel while regaining an appreciation for "home."

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.

King's academic experience was at times incredible and at times frustrating. Almost of my classes met only one day a week, which was lovely except that it was difficult to connect with lecturers, TA's, and even peers. Often, professors and TA's spent lectures giving out reading lists instead of actually teaching anything, which frequently made learning difficult. The way we were tested and graded, however, USUALLY was essay-based, and we were given ample freedom to write about the topics that most interested us. Therefore, it was much like the "real world." Often, I was encouraged to dive into the readings I found most gripping and ignore that which I didn't care to learn. Very occasionally, a few of my teachers were unclear and, frankly, uninterested in helping students learn; they were simply there to judge us on our ability to teach ourselves. The libraries are pretty good, but the online resources are only mediocre when compared to the excellent online library of my home institution. A few of the courses were truly eye-opening and life-changing ("Language on the Edge" and "Museums of London: A Cultural History, for example). Others were mediocre at best. To succeed and/or enjoy any of them, however, required an incredible amount of self-discipline.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Arcadia was not very useful or helpful to me. When I was sick in the hospital, I contacted them via email and was met with no response, so after that I didn't try keeping up with them at all. However, I didn't feel the need to reach out to them much to be honest, because I was having a good time anyways. Had I been struggling academically or emotionally at any point throughout the year, I have no idea if they would have been helpful or not.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I stayed in Stamford Street apartments and WOW the location is INCREDIBLE. It certainly had its issues - mold problems being the worst one I had to deal with because of no ventilation in the shower area - but honestly I didn't care because what mattered to me was to be in such a perfectly central location.

* Food:

London food is pretty great, but it'll put a major hole in your pocket!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I love London culture; it's not really one culture; it's a HUUUGE mix of cultures from all over the world. I loved my time here.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I got sick many times. The King's student health centre was NOT good. The doctor was dismissive of me when I came in with tonsillitis until eventually I had to be put on antibiotics and go to the hospital. I highly recommend registering with a different GP office right off the bat if possible. However, every single other experience I had - with urgent care, A&E, and other walk-in clinics was excellent and COMPLETELY FREE.

* Safety:

I never felt in danger here. Like any city, you need to have street smarts, but it's one of the only big cities I've been to where I've always felt quite safe.

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)

Very pricy city, even when you're being smart about spending.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Too hard to track, frankly. I got much better the longer I was there.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Avoid pricier grocery stores (like Waitrose and M&S) when possible. If you're ever on the outskirts of London, on your way back GO GROCERY SHOPPING! It's much cheaper once you get out of the city center.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • Being in London!
  • Having free time to travel
  • Some very interesting classes
* What could be improved?
  • Better communication with Arcadia after orientation
  • More clarity about the grading system differences between King's and American schools
  • More clarity from professors about what they expect from essays
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had understood how to prepare for King's tests earlier on. You don't have to know all the material the way you do at UT. You just have to follow your interests and be able to form an argument about pretty specific topics.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'