Year Abroad: NOT endless vacation Past Review

By (Finance and Financial Management Services., Providence College) for

Arcadia: London - London School of Economics

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
There were so many times when I just wanted to pull my hair out and was so frustrated because I was doing all the right things, but felt no give-and-take with LSE. I proved to myself that I am capable of pushing myself to entirely new limits. I can walk into the most exclusive members-only clubs in London and have faith that I'm smart, that I'm talented, and I don't care what the kids in the lecture hall who know you don't have the same background as them think. I saw so many things I'm glad I had the chance to see, and I've made it on my own. It was certainly a valuable experience, but with no guidance on how to study for exams, and no help from LSE or Arcadia, it was probably not worth all of the unnecessary stress and anxiety of hoping eventually someone will help me. One of my teachers was also so bad that I wouldn't come here again knowing I could get the worst teacher in the world.

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.

While I had a few really good instructors, the two I had that were bad made the whole experience unpleasant. I went to Arcadia, my advisor, and the lecturer in the course about how the PhD student didn't know what was going on, and often the lecturers didn't hold the office hours they said they would, and their problem set solutions and lecture notes were riddled with errors. When you're teaching yourself most of the material, experiences like mine are quite frustrating.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The General Course program just churns out money for LSE. The support is poor at best. They are not helpful at all and do not make much of an effort to provide student with the assistance they need - in particular in studying for the exams, and helping to find other academic resources. Arcadia also was not quick to respond to student questions, and often did not make requirements and other program information clear.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

LSE dorm staff was incredibly lazy. You would ask them for things and they would get mad at you. Really unacceptable for fees students pay, and I've never seen anyone be rude to them. Really pathetic, actually.

* Food:

Students should try not to eat out all the time because it's very expensive. Try to make balanced meals in your dorm, and be sure to beware of buying things and not using them before they expire (gets expensive). The food really isn't great in England but Sainsburys and Tesco are fine and can be supplemented with sale items at stores like Waitrose. And, if you want to drink - find the happy hours! Full priced drinks in London are very expensive.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I did so many great things! Most related to LSE/Arcadia would be my trip to Ford's Dagenham Factory in East London which was a class field trip and the Dickens Festival in Kent. LSE also organized a walking tour and boat cruise which were fun.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Health care/NHS/LSE doctors office was fine. Nothing special and got the job done. Not as good as America, but I did not require any medication or treatment above and beyond basics. I do know, though, that a female was assaulted outside another dorm and that dorm's warden and LSE did nothing. After learning about that, I would never recommend that a female live on campus here as it was poorly handled and showed no concern for the dignity and safety of this female. I am just glad that it was not me, although it could have been and now I know if it was LSE would do nothing about it, after the Met police failed to make a case as it was a "he said, she said" incident.

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)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Make sure to book trips you plan on taking early, and find out if you can enroll in any programs that have discounts. Also, I am lucky because I had two month-long breaks (the first one I traveled the whole time, the second for 10 days), but when you travel try to do more than one city at a time as flying back and forth to your host city can get very expenses. Also make sure you have very serious anti-virus software! The internet is not as protected in Europe so I got a virus and had to take it to a computer store over my vacation and it cost $200.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • International Students
  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Opportunity to Travel
  • Selection of courses that were so different from PC
  • Learning about myself in a new environment
* What could be improved?
  • LSE Support
  • Examination method (shouldn't be the same as regular LSE students, GC students at a HUGE disadvantage as we haven't taken these types of exams before; OR should be weighted at 25% of overall grade with another assignment making up the full mark for the course)
  • Arcadia Support
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Don't come here if you're not willing to push yourself beyond anything you've ever done before. Even with excellent grades, leadership experience, 2 full-time jobs, and 90 hour work weeks for 5 months before I came here, there is nothing that could have prepared me for this. This school is on an entirely different level and if you're not okay with that, and you can't have a little faith in yourself and your abilities even when you think you're the dumbest person in the room (which is inevitable) pick a different, less intense program. Come here for the academics, not going out drinking with your friends every night or having 4-day weekends travelling every week.