The Most Enriching, Educational, and Fun Experience September 02, 2016

By (University of Massachusetts Amherst / UMass) - abroad from 01/13/2016 to 04/23/2016 with

CAPA The Global Education Network: London Study or Intern Abroad

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
In addition to memories and friends that will last a lifetime, I gained many valuable life skills: independence, confidence, adaptability, cross-cultural communication, the ability to work through difficult situations. Study abroad is probably the most worthwhile and beneficial thing that I’ve done in college. Everything that I learned I will take with me in my personal life and professional career. It was an invaluable and incomparable experience.

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 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? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

My classes weren’t incredibly rigorous, but I learned more than I had in most of my classes at home. It was a healthy amount of work to balance with interning, traveling, and enjoying a social life. Both of my professors were not only funny and entertaining, but incredibly engaging and clearly passionate about their subject area. Classes are 3 ½ hours long (once a week), but my professors gave us breaks. We went on field trips around the city for each of my classes, including a blue badge tour of the financial district and the Houses of Parliament (for free!). These trips brought me to parts of the city that I otherwise wouldn’t have visited, and also to parts that I frequented (Camden Town, Financial District) and taught me about the history and social climate that shaped them.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The onsite staff is incredible. Everyone is friendly, knowledgeable, and easy to communicate with. One of the highlights of my experience!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My housing was phenomenal. I was one of the lucky flats that had a dishwasher. The apartment was in great location (still central but out of the city chaos), my roommates became my best friends, and I felt like I was living like a true Londoner.

* Food:

Living in an apartment, I mostly cooked for myself. But English food is so much better than people say it is!! I went to Brick Lane for a Curry Night which was delicious, and the food from Camden, Borough, and Greenwich Markets is some of the best food I’ve eaten.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Going into the program I was nervous that I wasn’t going to feel connected to the culture because I wasn’t taking classes with English students, but that ended up not being the case! At my internship I worked alongside Brits and Europeans, which helped with the cultural integration. Even something as simple as having to commute like a true Londoner made me feel connected to the culture of the city. Additionally we had memberships to Imperial College London’s students union, so we could join clubs and go to the student bar. CAPA also runs a lot of weekend events around the city and cultural-related events in the center, so there are plenty of opportunities to connect with London and English culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn’t have any health issues, but if any do arise you are covered under insurance and CAPA staff can help you find a doctor.

* Safety:

I always felt safe in London. I left my flat alone at 5am one day to go to Belgium and felt perfectly fine walking and taking the busses by myself. I felt safer in London than I do back home; however my roommate did get pickpocketed once, so stay alert. Like in any city, you have to be aware of your surroundings and make smart decisions.

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

I would go with CAPA a million more times if I could. The London staff was nothing short of amazing, they want you to feel welcome and they are great resources for any questions you may have. They also want to make sure that you make the most of your abroad experience. They give you all the tools to immerse yourself in the city, and the internship class teaches you a lot, including how to use your study abroad experience to leverage yourself professionally. CAPA wants to see all of its students develop personally and professionally while also having an enjoyable experience. The internship site that they placed me with was a perfect match. I got to work in my desired field, network with colleagues, and develop transferable skills. I would not have been able to do this without CAPA.

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 is expensive and the exchange rate is not in our favor, but it’s more manageable than it’s made out to be. CAPA gives you a card for the tube and busses, so you never have to pay for transportation. Overall you’re going to spend more money abroad then you would’ve at home, but it’s worth every cent.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $175
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Cook food at home and don’t eat out often to save money. Prioritize what you want to spend your money on and make a budget, whether that be taking full advantage of London nightlife (which is very pricey), traveling to other countries, or exploring all of London’s tourist attractions. Cut out expenses in other areas and do things that are unique to London and Europe that you can’t do at home; skip Starbucks and instead spend that money on seeing a show at the Globe Theatre. Also don’t take a lot of weekend trips; stay in Europe for 2 weeks after the program ends and travel then. Traveling within mainland Europe is significantly cheaper than flying to/from London every weekend.

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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Inclusions (Oyster card, London Pass, Fieldtrips)
  • Internship site
  • Housing
* What could be improved?
  • The internship class (it has been revamped since I left)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known to not be nervous. My nerves didn’t inhibit my experience at all, but it took up a lot of my thoughts during the pre-departure phase. Study abroad is the most enriching experience and it unfortunately goes by so quickly. Enjoy every moment of it, including the not-so-great times. I would do anything to go back to my time in London.

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.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Learning Through Internships

Course Department:
Instructor:
Instruction Language:
Comments: My professor was not engaging and some of the material was dry, but once I was able to look past that then I was able to really take away a lot from the class, especially how to articulate my study abroad & internship experience, how to incorporate study abroad into my resume and cover letter, and the cultural differences between the American and English workplace. However the course has been completely revamped since I studied in London.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Post War British Pop Culture

Course Department:
Instructor: Richard Maguire
Instruction Language:
Comments: The most fun class I’ve taken in college! I learned so much about London’s social and political history from WWII to present-day, especially the music scenes and subcultures. We went on a field trip somewhere in the city every other week, and Richard is the BEST professor - so funny and entertaining!
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

European Government & Politics

Course Department: Politics
Instructor: David Edye
Instruction Language:
Comments: I was in London leading up to the Brexit vote, so we spent much of this class discussing that and the history of the EU. Professor Edye is wonderful. He has a thorough understanding of the EU and keeps the entire class period engaging and educational.
Credit Transfer Issues: