Keep Calm and Don't Go Broke Past Review

By (HISTORY., Providence College) - abroad from 10/03/2011 to 06/11/2012 with

Arcadia: London - London School of Economics

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I could not possibly list what I learned from the experience. The lessons were endless. It was an incredibly rewarding and worthwhile experience that I will likely not have again.

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.

LSE is an incredibly hard school. Its purpose is to have the most employable students possible. Therefore all the academic programs, especially economics, are incredibly challenging and are about 90% independent study. However, the level of difficulty makes an LSE degree very attractive to employers and post-grad programs.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Arcadia was incredibly helpful in my initial days in London. Many of my friends on the General Course did not have the same comprehensive orientation that Arcadia provided and so I felt I had a leg up on them during the first few weeks at LSE.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I stayed in High Holborn Hall, which is the closest to campus. With High Holborn, you will essentially be paying for location over amenities . The renovated rooms (which I was moved to for Lent and Summer Terms) are incredibly nice, whereas the original rooms (where I spent Michaelmas Term) were sparse and drab. Regardless of whether they are renovated or not, the singles are small, but that is the price of living in Central London. Everything is very conveniently located from Holborn including the night life, campus, and the grocery store.

* Food:

The majority of food shopping is done on your own, but you will also receive an LSE sQuid card with 400 pounds which can be used at a number of locations. The food at these locations is very good, but can get a little repetitive.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Unlike other programs in England, LSE puts you right in with the regular students. I was able to make really good English, American, and other nationality friends. Being there for an academic year also led me to feel more integrated in English society. I genuinely felt like a Londoner by the end.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Arcadia provides health insurance that worked fine. I went to the doctor once and it was just like any visit with an American doctor. However, the insurance company could not pay up front and so I payed out of pocket and it took a long time to get reimbursed.

* Safety:

For a major city I felt incredibly safe. I wasn't involved in any major incidents and didn't hear of a single incident of pickpocketing. However, it is a city and there is still crime. I just can't imagine a city getting much safer though.

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)

After living in London for a few weeks, you will laugh and then cry at how expensive the city is. Eventually you will figure out the cheapest possible way to live, but every new adventure has the possibility to bankrupt you. You will need to be very careful with money, especially being there for a year.

* 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? 100 to 150 pounds ($160-$240)
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? The only way to really save money is to not leave your dorm room. This is not realistic so the only thing to do is remember where you can get good deals. Also, if you plan on traveling outside London get the student railcard.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
  • 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 students (both general course and regular)
  • The academics
  • The night life
* What could be improved?
  • Prepraring students for the academic intensity
  • Preparing students for financial burden
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How difficult LSE was and how much independent study I would need.