Living in London is Amazing. Past Review

By (Social Justice and Social Policy/ Politics, Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/12/2013 to 04/27/2013 with

Boston University: London - London Internship Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned so much about London/ the UK in terms of culture, politics etc. I loved having the opportunity to live independently in a new city, navigate the tube and explore the various neighborhoods, market places museums and historical sites. I also learned a lot about myself. I now trust my ability to make travel plans/itineraries, and feel like I've become much more connected to the world. I definitely broke outside of my Northeast American College student bubble by meeting new people, exploring different cities and experiencing the cultures of each one! totally a 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 courses are not very difficult, provided you do the reading and pay attention in class. Everything is pretty straight forward, although some professors are more harsh than others.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

There was always staff in the main office; however they were not very organized. It took nearly a month to register students to blackboard, and some were never even registered properly. It was very difficult to navigate the student link page, but it was useful to sign up for tickets to events/day trips outside of London.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was living in Sorbonne House. It was definitely in an excellent location--closest to the South Kensington Tube stop, the National History Museum is across the street, and the V&A is a few blocks away. I was in a double that had bunk beds--not my favorite, which was confusing since there seemed to be enough space for two individual beds. It was nice to have our own bathroom though (as each bedroom does). It was nice to have a kitchen to use on the floor; however, not everyone is respectful of shared spaces so it was pretty gross a lot of the time. That being said, there are housekeepers who were very friendly and clean the room/bathroom/ kitchen once a week.

* Food:

South Kensington has two supermarkets in reasonably walking distance from the dormitories. The Sainsburys is a bit larger than Waitrose and somewhat cheaper; however there is better quality produce at Waitrose, so it is sometimes worth it to pay a little extra for that. It was fun to cook meals with friends on the floor, and there are plenty of cute restaurants and pubs in the area. Pret a Manger and Cafe Nero are all over London and the two in South Ken are close to Harrington Gardens--makes for a good snack run during a class break.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The first half of the program was very different from the second half in terms of integration with local culture. In the first five weeks, class is with American students only, and you are living with American students. This doesn't leave much room to meet local Londoners unless you go out of your way or have a connection with someone in the area. This changed significantly during the internship phase of the program. I know that a lot of my friends--myself included--got along really well with their co-workers. This was a fun and interesting way to get to know the British culture, as I became familiar with workplace mannerisms, and attended a few outside events with my colleagues. There is also Imperial College in South Kensington, which has a student bar/club--a fun way to meet some local college students either on trivia night, or just mingling by the bar. Overall, in order to truly interact with the local culture, it is important to try new things and meet new people and get out of your comfort zone a bit!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Thankfully I never had health issues that needed to be addressed, but I know that some of my friends needed to access a doctor while in London. BU has a list of local physicians to use; however, the visits were very costly and I don't think my friends ended up using them. Instead, they went to a different doctor so that their home insurance could reimburse them for the visit.

* Safety:

I definitely felt very safe in London--South Kensington in particular. It is a beautiful upscale neighborhood that is very residential/quiet by 11:00pm. The tube is very efficient, but it is important to be heads up no matter what--especially late on the tube or night bus. Same rules apply in every city: go out in small groups at night--never alone, keep your purse in front of you to watch out for pick pockets--lots of people had iphones stolen! and know where you are going/how to get home ahead of time.

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 very expensive--especially South Kensington. Spent about $150 a week on food/personal expenses.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? approx. $150-200 plus the oyster card for the tube was 80 pounds per month ($120)
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? oyster card student month plan sounds expensive but it's definitely worth it to have the unlimited access--and it works on night buses! otherwise you pay about 5 pounds roundtrip every time you go out.


* 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

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • 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?
  • Location
  • Internship
  • ...did I mention that London is amazing?
* What could be improved?
  • BU administration on site
  • program is too short
  • four hour classes are too long
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Everyone says this, but time goes by so quickly, so I wish I had planned some trips/sightseeing ahead of time. It was pretty rushed to get it all in by the end of the program.

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 Networker
An active student leader, it was important for you to network abroad as well. Once overseas, you sought out student clubs, volunteered with local organizations, or attended community events. You encouraged your friends join you, and often considered how you could reflect your international experiences in a resume.