Great semester in a nice city Past Review

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/02/2013 to 06/08/2013 with

Arcadia: London - University College London

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned that a college full of english-speaking students in the center of a European city is not that different from the same in a US city. I wasn't expecting an eye-opening cultural experience, and I didn't get one, but what I did get was still really nice: an academically challenging semester in a great city with everything close and available. I loved studying in coffee shops and the being able to go out for drinks or a nice meal with ease (especially chinatown). I made a few great friends who I plan to stay in contact with. I also got visit friends in other programs in Europe, and I felt those trips (which in total lasted about a month) were enough cultural enrichment to make me satisfied. It was a very memorable and worthwhile experience.

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.

The workload was ideal for my abroad experience--challenging and interesting material to study during the term w/ very few graded assignments (so I had time to acclimate, make friends, travel, etc...), plenty of time to study for exams in the last month before exam term.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

UCL was great--I was sick for international student orientation but I received a lot of personal help getting set up with courses and receiving info. They were really nice about it. Arcadia people were also nice and welcoming, but they seemed a bit disorganized and left most of the initial acclimation to us. For instance, we received little info about moving in, and as a consequence were the only students to have not filled in an important housing registration form. There are more examples.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Lived in a flat (Schafer House)--ideal location in Central London right by UCL, also had a kitchen which

* Food:

Many indian restaurants down the street, a few Sainsbury's and Tesco grocery stores a short walk away.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt very integrated with the local London student culture--I didn't find it very different from local US student culture, though.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

HTH worldwide was a fantastic resource, especially given that I became very sick during my first two weeks. They took care of everything--doctors, payment, etc--it was straightforward and they were happy to answer questions on the phone.

* Safety:

I did not have any dangerous encounters. Many of my friends in other European countries had their wallets/smartphones stolen, but I never heard of that happening to anyone during my stay in London.

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)

Central London... I like to cook and wasn't skimpy on ingredients, but even on the weeks I only spent money on groceries and Costa coffee, I would spend around £100. One could definitely live on £50 a week though.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? £150
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Buy groceries at the larger Sainsbury's and Tesco's and look for sales. Ask everywhere for student discounts, the Caffe Nero by UCL gives you 15% off.


* 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

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
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?
  • My courses
  • The people I met
  • Living in the center of a big city
* What could be improved?
  • My host program could've been more involved and organized
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Pragmatic things like which phone carrier to use (giffgaff) and where to shop, and different neighborhoods to visit (although that info is easily accessible).

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Molecular Biophysics, PHASM800

Course Department: Physics and Astronomy
Instructor: Dr. Bart Hoogenboom
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Fantastic teacher--knowledgable and interested in the material (which is related to his research) and extremely approachable. Kept my attention during once-weekly, 3-hour sessions. Instructive and quick homework assignments each week along with reading. Studying for the exam required a lot of time, but with the past exams available it's manageable. An excellent course.
Credit Transfer Issues: