London: An Unexpected Success Past Review

By (Political Science and Government., Providence College) for

Boston University: London - London Internship Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I feel that I am a much more independent and confident person after my study abroad experience. Living in one of the largest, most cosmopolitan cities in the world has taught me a lot about myself and shown me that I can handle the stress of city life. I have also learned a lot about British politics and culture in general and I can honestly say that I love British culture and miss London terribly already. The experience has gotten me interested in pursuing volunteer and post-grad opportunities abroad and I am more seriously considering a career in International Security/Relations.

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.

For the first half of the semester I took two courses related to my Major that each met twice a week for 4 hour sessions with Fridays off. Classroom learning was overwhelmingly lecture-based however one of my classes utilized group projects and discussions to mix things up. My second class also included a trip to visit the European Union and NATO in Brussles which was a fantastic, interactive learning experience. In the second half of the semester I took a London Architecture course that was split between lecture in the classroom and fieldtrips around the city to examine the architectural style that we discussed in class. My other class was an internship tutorial that met three times over a period of seven weeks during which time I was completing a full-time internship in Politics. Homework for all of these classes was minimal with only reading selections assigned for each week. Larger assignments included one major paper for each course and a final exam. These larger assignments constituted our grades for each course. As my abroad program was an American University based in London, it was advertised as a typical American university experience with the same grading criteria and teaching style. However I would say that the experience was closer to that of British universities because our grades were determined by two assignments instead of multiple over the course of the semester. I definitely learned a lot about British and European politics and would recommend the program to anyone with similar interests. Living and taking classes in London was a fantastic learning experience! The professors were very knowledgeable of their subject matter and did a good job in conveying that information to students.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff at BU London is very knowledgeable and dedicated to providing students with opportunities to fully enjoy and learn from their host country. Very friendly. The social programme is full of wonderful activities for students to take advantage of a variety of cultural experiences. It was great to have that resource available. The staff at my residence was incredibly friendly and efficient. The guest policy is pretty confusing and changed while I was there but other than this area of confusion policy was very straightforward. I wish the program size was a bit smaller because it made it difficult to meet people when there were almost 400 students. Communication between the various res halls was also minimal. This is also especially apparent to non-BU students who come in not knowing anyone.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Housing for this program is located in South Kensington, London. It is a beautiful neighborhood and very safe. 10-15 minute walk from my flat to the class building. Far from affordable nightlife and restaurants (South Kensington is an extremely wealthy borough). Also far from my internship but it was still a managable commute. Sheets and a pillow were provided but we bought extra pillows and towels because these were unavailable. We also had to provide money to buy sponges, soap, and other cooking/cleaning items.

* Food:

There is no dining plan with this program which I consider a major drawback considering the cost of living in London.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The BU London Internship Program does a fantastic job setting up cultural events for students. I went ot several plays, a cliff jumping trip in Wales, trips to Stonehenge, Winchester, Oxford, Winchester, a football match, and several other events. The office also does a wonderful job of helping students set up trips that they do not already offer. The internship is also a great way to meet British people and to delve more deeply into daily life in London.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

London is one of the largest and busiest cities in the world. However I think that as long as students are careful and aware of their surroundings there shouldn't be a problem with safety. I found that any safety issues that occurred during the semester were often the result of student negligence. Healthcare was expensive because we didn't have access to the NHS but if you save the receipts from your doctor's appointments your insurance will refund you once you return to the US.

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)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Be thrifty! Most of your money will be devoted to food, transportation, and laundry. I saved the rest of my money for travel and did VERY little shopping. Whenplanning trips use discount services like Kayak, Easyjet, Ryanair, and hostel world. Use your student ID to get discounted admission to tourist sites.


If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Internship and the travel/cultural opportunities
* What could be improved?
  • Guest policy, connecting students through social experiences
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I was very unsure about my decision to go to London for my study abroad experience but everything turned out great. London is a phenomenal city in which to study particularly for those interested in history, politics, and economics. The city has something to offer everyone from fabulous museums and shows, clubs and nightlife, universities, restaurants and shopping. The BU London Internship Program does a graet job integrating students into London culture (which is very different from British culture) through the internship and social program offerings. However the independent agency that sets up the internships for students, EUSA, is a very frustrating group to work with and often gives students the run-around and doesn't listen to student needs and intersts. I would recommend this program for students interested in combining their time abroad with work experience and for those who have high energy levels-you will need it to tackle the hectic London lifestyle! But warning! The program is very expensive because you have to pay for all your transportation (the Tube is the most expensive public transit in the world), laundry, and food.