London — From the American Bubble October 17, 2015

By (Communication and Media Studies, Hood College) - abroad from 01/15/2015 to 04/25/2015 with

CAPA The Global Education Network: London Study or Intern Abroad

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a lot from this program — having never had roommates, or my own place, I got the opportunity to live independently for the first time in my life. Coming from a small town, the transition to city life was transformative too. I would say the trip was absolutely worthwhile for me, but a big flaw is a lack of immersion. This isn't the case for all CAPA programs, but the London location is held in its own center, not an existing university. The program tries to make up for this with plenty of MyEducation trips and events: all classes are required to get students out of the classroom and immersed with their environment. To CAPA's credit, the London program does this beautifully, but environmental immersion alone didn't match the experiences my peers had in other programs. Most students I knew were trapped in an "American Bubble" — most of the people we met through the program were American, and while we were encouraged to breach this barrier, the setup of the program made it hard to encounter and meet people from the area. CAPA does have a very large internship program which helps with cultural and social immersion, but I noticed that most of the friends and acquaintances my peers met through this were work-related, and didn't end up maintaining long-term contact or becoming better friends. Personal regrets for me involve choosing a study location in an non-English speaking area. That being said, CAPA's staff are wonderful and supportive, and if you do choose this program, you will learn a lot through your coursework, your environment, and your work, if you choose an internship. However, as an American, I might encourage considering CAPA's other locations before choosing London.

Review Photos

CAPA The Global Education Network: London Study or Intern Abroad Photo CAPA The Global Education Network: London Study or Intern Abroad Photo CAPA The Global Education Network: London Study or Intern Abroad Photo

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in *the best* apartment of the program, in Camden — it was luck of the draw, and from visiting friends, I can say that apartments varied greatly by location. All were in fairly safe areas, however, and the facilities worked.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Several people I know had to address health issues, mainly with mental health, and CAPA's counselling was top-notch in finding people care that suited them, inexpensively and quickly.

* Safety:

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

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)

London has a reputation for being expensive, but I had a few tricks up my sleeve! As a vegan, I didn't have to suffer the insane prices of meat, dairy, and eggs, and I cooked many of my own meals. I didn't spend much money on clothing or leisure activities, which seemed to be the downfall of many of my friends and classmates.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Keep luxury spending to a minimum. You're surrounded by free attractions, so save your precious money! Prepare your own meals. Bring or buy a lunchbox or a tiffin early on; it will be your best friend. Reduce meat, dairy, and egg consumption — these items are much more expensive in the U.K, and add up quickly.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

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
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Environmental immersion
  • Culturally relevant courses
  • MyEducation events and trips
* What could be improved?
  • Social immersion
  • Hire more native staff members
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew how hard it would actually be to find and interact with British people of my age without having had daily interaction with them. I also wish I hadn't underestimated my ability to adapt to my new environment — with the help of hindsight, I would choose a non-English speaking location if I could pick again.