LSE: Learn Something Extraordinary Past Review

By (Finance and Financial Management Services., Western Washington University) - abroad from 09/21/2011 to 06/30/2012 with

Arcadia: London - London School of Economics

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My experience was extremely worthwhile. Living in another country forces you to see that there is more in this world than America. I learned a lot about myself as well. I learned I can handle a lot more stress than I give myself credit for. To write all that I learned is impossible; to know if it's worthwhile you have to just go.

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.

Academic rigor was unlike anything I have experienced. Because courses were year long, the material covered was far more in depth and specific than any classes I have taken at Western. I would say that of all the years of schooling I have taken, the one I spent at LSE challenged me the most. However, resources were not as abudant as I was used to. The tutoring center did not have a central role on campus and was not well advertised. A lot of students were not aware there was a tutoring center.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Orientation gave me chance to meet the people that were in my program while getting to know London at the same time. We stayed at a nice hotel not far from where my academic housing was. I was also provided with ample information about my future classes and the foreign grading scale. I didn't really interact with the program administration much after that except to have them alert me when one of my many replacement oytster cards came in the post. They seem like very kind people that truly care about helping you to have the best experience abroad.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My academic housing was fairly average. Compared to my on-campus housing at Western, it was very similar. I had a single room with two bathrooms share by the entire floor. The neighborhood I was in is one of my favorite in London and was about a 20 minute walk to uni and central London. I lived near Angel station at Rosebery Hall.

* Food:

The food, like the halls of residence, were very similar to Western. I was provided with 15 pounds a week for meals which allowed for about 3 or 4 meals a week. For the quality of the food I felt this was a bit expensive. Later in the year I ended up doing more of my own cooking.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The beginning of the program was difficult in terms of integration to the culture. I definitely experienced some culture shock and it took a while to adjust. In November I met the man I'm still seeing now. Dating someone abroad may not be for everyone but it immediately brought me into the British culture and someday I intend to move back. Getting to know local students is challenging but extremely rewarding in terms of the level of integration you'll experience.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The UK has a wonderful health care system for study abroad students. With the NHS students have access to free services and very inexpensive prescriptions. Birth control and other contraceptives are completely free as well.

* Safety:

Safety was a bit of an issue for me in London. This is due to the fact that I'm a forgetful and somewhat clumsy person. I got a bag stolen that contained school books, my ipod, my wallet, and my ipad which was pretty upsetting. I got my phone and wallet stolen a few months later. However, I would say London is fairly safe as long as you take all the necessary precautions and are aware of your belongings.

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)

London is well known as one of the most expensive cities in the world so it is not surprising that I was spending anywhere from $130 - $240 a week. Things like food and expenses were managable on a small budget. However, studying for an entire year means spending more on birthdays and special occasions.

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? Yes
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 80 to 150 pounds a week
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Opening a UK bank account and taking out 100 pounds at the beginning of each week helped keep me on track with my budget and saved on international and exchange fees.


* 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

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • 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?
  • Meeting my fiancé
  • Travelling around Europe
  • Challenging myself academically
* What could be improved?
  • Tutoring for international students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Don't act differently or try and change your personality while abroad. That's not to say you shouldn't follow social norms but don't try and be someone your not. Most people really like Americans.