Best experience of my life. Don't graduate without having studied abroad. Past Review

By (Politics, Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/14/2012 to 04/07/2012 with

Hansard Scholars Programme: London - Hansard Society

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I definitely appreciated the entire experience more when I was home. Although at the time it was stressful working a 9am-6pm internship while taking classes, looking back, I am so glad I chose Hansard.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: London School of Economics
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 program was academically challenging, but the program's leaders had some issues with organization.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administrators tried very hard to create a close relationship with the students, which was great because we felt we could really talk to them about the obstacles we faced throughout the program. Their one downside was that they were extremely disorganized.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Location was amazing! 15 minute walk to Parliament and 2 minute walk to the tube stop. Unfortunately, the building was owned by Notre Dame, and the building monitors treated anyone who was not a Notre Dame student as a second-class citizen. We had no access to study areas, even when Notre Dame students were not using them.

* Food:

We had our own kitchens and were super close to a wide variety of restaurants.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Because of my internship, I made friends with my coworkers and their friends. I took the underground and the overground everywhere and knew London pretty well by the time I left. I wish I was more integrated in the LSE system, but I did get to study with British students in the library, cafes, and student centers.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Luckily, the sickest I got on the program was the common cold, and there were many pharmacies near by where I could be medicine.

* Safety:

I felt very safe in London. I would walk back from the library or a night out at 3am or later and not feel uncomfortable. If I was anxious, I would take the night bus.

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)

1. London is expensive. Period. Bring however much money they tell you, then double it. Because I had a kitchen, I tried to cook for myself atleast twice a day, but especially the first two weeks when you're running around London exploring, you end up eating out a lot. And that does not even include drinks at pubs and clubs or traveling expensives. I traveled to 4 different countries and by the end of the program, spent between $3,000-4,000.

* Was housing included in your program cost? No
* Was food included in your program cost? No
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I would say around $250 a week. It varied from week to week, but you spend the most in the beginning.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you have a kitchen (which Hansard usually provides), cook for yourself as much as possible. It will definitely be more expensive then you think, so bring extra money. Get a credit card that has no foreign transaction fees (your bank will charge you 3-5% if you use your atm card at a restaurant); I got Capital One Journey card and it was great. I highly recommend opening a bank account at Bank of America if you are studying/traveling to Germany, France, or Great Britain. BoA has agreements with the major banks in each country (Barclays, Deutsche Bank, and BNP) that allow you to use your BoA atm card at their atms for free! I originially had Sovereign but I opened up a BoA account before I left. Best. Decision. Ever.


* 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?
  • I loved the cultural trips they planned for us. I got to take a class at Oxford taught by a professor who talked about how Winston Churchill invited for tea and then proceeded to yell at. I also loved the trip to Edinburgh, Scotland. I got to meet members of the EU and the Scottish National Party.
  • I LOVED the internship, it was by far my favorite part of the entire program. I got to walk through the halls of Westminster Palace, watch Prime Minister's Questions, give tours to British nationals, and complete a variety of governmental and non-governmental tasks for my MP.
  • I really enjoyed having three day weekends. It allowed me to travel!
* What could be improved?
  • The program would have been a lot better if it was better organized.
  • The professors should have mandatory office hours to meet with students. The professors taught at other universities while teaching us and I felt like they were often too busy for us.
  • I wish that the program was longer!
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Don't sweat the small stuff and make the best of any situation. You may not get exactly the type of internship you want with a certain Member of Parliament, but make the best of what you got. If you're extremely unhappy, ask Hansard to give you a new internship (they may whine about it, but they'll do it!)

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Politics and Public Policy

Course Department:
Instruction Language:
Comments: The professor was extremely knowledgeable and used powerpoint effectively, making it easy to follow along in class. She was not very clear about her grading policy, however.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Parliament and Politics

Course Department:
Instruction Language:
Comments: The professor was extremely knowledgeable and class was entertaining. Although he used powerpoint, he skipped around a lot from slide to slide and spoke too quickly. His powerpoint did not contain any form of organization (i.e. bullet points) and often only had contained pictures, which he would explain to the class.
Credit Transfer Issues: