Love At First Sight Past Review

By (undecided, University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh) for

CEA CAPA Education Abroad: London, England

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I lived with four other random students that I have never met before. So just living in another country with 4 strangers was definitely different. We are now best of friends. Learning the culture of another country is not even explainable in words. You just have to be there to know the feeling. The British read newspapers every day; something only those who have time do here. Every day while I was in London, I found myself regularly picking up a newspaper for the subway ride to class or the bus ride to the store. A smaller thing that I keep on doing now is eat my fries, or as they call chips, with ketchup and mayonnaise. I even sometimes caught myself speaking in a British accent by accident. Life can really throw some interesting and changing things at you. In the end, there is a sense of accomplishment for being able to put yourself outside of your comfort zone and getting through the program.

Review Photos

CEA CAPA Education Abroad: London, England Photo CEA CAPA Education Abroad: London, England Photo CEA CAPA Education Abroad: London, England 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.

Since this is a summer six week program, you are required to take six credits. Your classes would meet for two 3 hour sessions a week, which was the perfect amount of time to learn what you needed to, with time to spare to soak up the London culture. The amount of material is congested, but you are graded on presentations and participation in class (That means no exams; at least not for the two classes that I took.) The teachers there were very interactive with their students, so participation is a MUST in order to pass. Their level of grading is also different there than in America. A 76 in the UK is equivalent to an A+ in the states. They also call colleges the same way we call high school. In other words, students between 14-18 years old went to college and if they wanted to further their learning, they would go to a university. Overall, the workload and level of challenge were there same as my home university. The CAPA center has a few of the textbooks that you need, so you would not have to buy your own textbooks over there if you can get your hands on one.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

There was always someone there to help you with class scheduling or advising if you needed it. The two receptionists were happy to help you with anything-from finding out what underground station to get on to refilling the printer with paper. Someone was always on-call, and we were given their emergency number in case anything were to happen. Some faculty were from the United States and now live in London, so they knew a lot about the differences between the states and the UK. Everyone else has been with the program for many years so they have had plenty of experience teaching American college students. They have already made housing arrangements for us, and they had set aside stipends (that we indirectly paid for in tuition) each week. The greatest strength was the amount of help and definite instructions we were given before arriving to London. They understand that we are new to the country, and gave us directions and maps to get to our houses long before departing the states.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

We were housed with students who were in the same program with CAPA International. The students were also from the United States but came from different colleges such as University of Tennessee to SUNY Oswego. Housing was randomly picked. I lived in an apartment with 4 other students that was a ten minute walk from Buckingham Palace in the Chelsea borough and only a 10 minute underground ride to class. Our neighborhood was very safe (in general, London itself has 5 cameras per citizen living in London.) Bed sheets and a pillow were provided along with laundry machines, oven, stove, sink, utensils, refridgerator, and plates. We had housekeeping once a week to give us new sheets, toilet paper, and vaccuum.

* Food:

Food that generally British is bland, but London has many restaurants to try out! However, a traditional tea time and fish and chips is a must. There isn't a main cafeteria in the summer classes building with CAPA but there are definitely places to eat in the Imperial College, which is where you would go to classes if you were in the fall or spring semester. You cannot walk down a single block without finding a place that sells food.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

CAPA International had a planned trip to Stonehenge and Bath, free for students in the program. Throughout the two weeks, they would have free or discounted trips that you can sign up for on a first-come-first serve basis. Some trips included going to Greenwich for a day or just going to see a play in the Shakespeare globe at a discounted price. Sometimes "T @ CAPA" were planned out for students to gather and just have a cup of tea with some treats and to socialize with other students. Depending what class you are in, you may take field trips to a museum as another form of learning for that class. They had a calendar with up-to-date events going on during the six weeks that we were there such as the Queen's birthday celebration.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

There are many security cameras and police officers around. You just need to be smart about the more common 'city crimes' such as pick-pocketing. CAPA makes sure that the students have health care while studying abroad and they explain what procedures to go through in case it is needed. You would just have to pay a 'downpayment' so-to-speak to go to a hospital or see a real doctor (you should really only go if its absolutely necessary), but you can get it back by filling out some insurance papers to give to your insurance company when you arrive back in the states. The faculty at CAPA can help you fill out the paperwork. An alternative would be to go to a pharmacist first and ask for their advice before going to a place that may ask you to pay.

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)

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

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  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

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  • Other

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Even if you have no idea what you are going to do in life yet, study abroad! It is worth every cent and anyone with any major, decided or not, can study abroad.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Child Development in the UK

Course Department: Psychology 1050
Instructor: Mary Andall-Stanberry
Instruction Language: English
Comments: We read about many case studies of children being neglected and learned about how the abuse can change development. A trip to the Children's Museum in London was taken to help us understand the changes from old times when children were treated as adults to the modern day. Readings from the text were required before lecture so you can participate in class; the readings were not too difficult and you were open to discuss any confusion during class. You were taught the differences between the changes in law made for children in the UK versus the laws made for children in the states which I personally thought were quite intriguing.
Credit Transfer Issues: No, I did not have any credit transfer issues upon returning home because this was a Pitt in London program. The classes automatically count as if you were taking them at the University of Pittsburgh main campus.
Course Name/Rating:

Western European Government & Politics

Course Department: Political Science 1311
Instructor: Anthony Gristwood
Instruction Language: English
Comments: You can tell that Professor Gristwood is very passionate about the history and political changes in the European government. I learned a lot about the political happenings in Europe that was going on early in the 1800's to the present day. It was also rather exciting at the time because the United Kingdom had voted for a coalition government a few weeks before my study abroad session started, making European politics that much more exciting that Professor Gristwood made an appointment for our class to go inside of Parliament (which is VERY hard to do from what I understand.)
Credit Transfer Issues: No, I did not have any credit transfer issues upon returning home because this was a Pitt in London program. The classes automatically count as if you were taking them at the University of Pittsburgh main campus.