'Great' Britain Study Abroad Past Review

By (International Relations and National Security Studies., Clark University) for

CEA CAPA Education Abroad: London, England

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
As an international relations major at clark I've realized I need to travel a lot more. There is so much in the world to see and being in London and being able to travel to Europe (and Africa) made it a reality. I've also realized some things in terms of what I would want to do for a career someday because of my internship at the AIDS Consortium.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: F.I.E.
The term and year this program took place: Fall 2009

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Though we were supposed to attend UCL's Birkbeck College, we ended up having to a small school in Kensington at the last minute called F.I.E. As much of a pain it was to travel between our internships to class, FIE had a lot of good outside of the classroom experience. Some of the trips we went on included the Royal Academy of Arts, Parliament, The Imperial War Museum, Brick Lane and the Globe Theater.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Elizabeth Watkins, who runs the internship program is an amazing woman. She is caring, prepared, well connected, and always willing to go out of the way for her students.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

We lived in flats in central London. It is truly a great opportunity. However, the housing authority ACORN, was a bit of a pain sometimes when it came to maintenance.

* Food:

We alloted a stipend to live off of, so we bought our own food at the local grocery chains, Tesco and Sainsburys.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I loved the people. It is no wonder why they call it 'Great' Britain. I would move back to London in a second.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

There were very few times that I felt my safety was a risk.

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)

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Do it! If you want to gain real world experience and do it in one the best cities in the world, seriously consider the London Internship Program.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Music in 20th C. Britain

Course Department: n/a
Instructor: Newton Armstrong
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Fun course, however it was 3 hours long. The instructor often let us out early, but it was a very engaging opportunity to learn about modern music in Britain. We covered everything from the Beatles to the punk movement to the Britpop era. We had to attend several concerts and write reviews. Wonderful experience.
Credit Transfer Issues: no
Course Name/Rating:

British Politics

Course Department: n/a
Instructor: Bradshaw
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Good course. Learned a lot in terms of the structure and function of the British government. There was a high emphasis on the distinctions (or lack thereof ) between the legislative and executive branches. The professor was a but moody and fussy, but overall a good class. We visited Parliament and the Imperial War Museum.
Credit Transfer Issues: no
Course Name/Rating:

British Culture and Visual Media

Course Department: n/a
Instructor: John Makey
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Couldn't have asked for a better professor! Makey is a realy down to earth guy. I learned a lot from this class, especially the diversity of London as a city. There was a lot of media dissection, which was fun because there is a lot hype and sensationalism in the newspapers in Britain. We explored Brick Lane, A London neighborhood which has a high Bangladeshi population. We also went to the Globe Theater and the Royal Academy of Arts to see the Anish Kapoor exhibit. Highly relevant and engaging class! Would recommend it to anyone returning to FIE.
Credit Transfer Issues: no
Course Name/Rating:

Internship at the UK Consortium on AIDS and International Development

Course Department: n/a
Instructor: n/a
Instruction Language: English
Comments: My internship was probably the most enlightening experience. I worked at the UK AIDS Consortium, which is a policy network/NGO devoted to HIV and AIDS work within the UK government, as well as numerous non-governmental organizations. The consortium is located in a small office in the neighborhood of Hoxton. Worked with some absolutely lovely people who are passionate and devoted to implementing positive HIV policies and practices . I worked primarily with the Stop AIDS Campaign branch, which dealt primarily with outreach to student groups and pressuring MPs within Parliament. Although I had some mundane tasks, the work I did was fulfilling and I often got to travel around London, as well as attend meetings, sometimes in Parliament.
Credit Transfer Issues: no