The Experience of a Lifetime! August 31, 2019

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/02/2019 to 06/08/2019 with

Arcadia: London - Queen Mary University of London

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I have a perspective of what it's like to live in another country with a different political system, university system, climate, environment, culture, etc. I think Americans think of the UK as being very similar to us. There are a lot of things we share: a language, certain aspects of pop culture. Our music, movies, are heavily influenced by the UK, and vice versa. But there are also many differences, some very subtle, some hard to get used to, but all that are worthy to celebrate.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

University in England is different than in the US. Mainly it requires more self-study. Instructional time is generally shorter. There are less assessments that you are graded on, usually just a midterm roughly 25% of your grade and a final roughly 75% of your grade. (I took only Economics and English classes, so grade distribution may differ for other departments). The onus falls heavily on you to make sure that you are keeping up with the material. It's a slightly different style of learning, but in terms of difficulty, not unlike what most students in the US are exposed to. Teachers were generally very knowledgeable and passionate about their subjects.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Arcadia has an office in central London, not too far a way from Mile End. It's easily reached through the Tube. Staff are friendly. There are rooms to study or relax. Printing is free!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Queen Mary will place you into Freshmen flats, so the only downside is that you won't live with students in your our year who are likely taking the same classes as you.

* Food:

There are many food places off campus that are nearby. Stratford Mall is a Tube stop away and has a wide selection of shops and food. There is a convenience store on campus. There is also a dining hall, but the meals tend to be a bit pricy.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

London is a very diverse city. People are generally friendly. In public, people won't yell or shout crass remarks. If anything, you'll get stares (for not letting people pass on the left side of the escalators, for example). British English takes a while to get used to. You might have to ask people to repeat themselves. Also, there humor is extremely subtle and deadpan. It's a lot of sarcasm, some insults, but almost always in good spirit.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

There are a lot of pickpockets in London. Just be sure to watch out for your phones and wallets.

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

It felt like a seamless transition from my home school to Queen Mary. Sure, there were some kinks here and there. I had a hard time making sure I reached London by the program start date. But other than that, everything went as planned. And everything was planned thoroughly.

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)

You can budget by cooking meals. Sainsbury's and the Coop, two grocery stores, are extremely close to campus.

Language

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

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • International Students

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Academic Courses
  • New people that you meet
  • That everything was very coordinated
* What could be improved?
  • The university may seem overly bureaucratic at times
  • More information regarding rules/guidelines of Queen Mary
  • Better events held by Arcadia
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How to get involved with campus life, volunteer work, etc. at Queen Mary.

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.'