Unforgettable Experience in a Magnificent City Past Review

By (Trinity University) - abroad from 09/05/2017 to 12/16/2017 with

IES Abroad: London - Study London

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Absolutely worthwhile. I gained confidence, independence, a deeper appreciation for history, a deeper cultural understanding, and more pride for my hometown and where I'm from. I expanded my comprehension of contemporary political issues through my coursework. Finally, I learned that I'm capable of a lot more than I previously gave myself credit for.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Academic rigor depends on courses a student chooses; same goes for intensity. Resources are excellent - IES London Centre has a library full of course materials, and staff and professors are willing to help students locate resources if needed.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Accessible, approachable, and caring for students. Sometimes, as far as program events and excursions go, strictness for time and scheduling got in the way of students' enjoyment of the activity, though.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Some issues with housing staff service to students, but these were cleared up quickly. Laundry is expensive, and students weren't warned of this prior to arrival. 5 pounds for a single load of laundry (3 for wash, 2 for dry). That adds up.

* Food:

I made my own food more often than I ate out, but Tesco (the local grocery store) is close to housing accommodations, and the food in London, generally, is pretty good and varied.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Because I didn't have regular interactions with British students, as the nature of the program involves studying with American students generally, sometimes I felt detached from the local culture. But, then it becomes up to the students to get involved - go to a pub to watch football, meet people at clubs, etc. There are ways to get around this downside. Not to mention, the program is "Study London" after all - and we definitely learned so much about the city and its culture through excursions and courses.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

While I didn't personally had an experience with UK healthcare, IES staff is quick to help students get to a doctor or specialist. The process is streamlined and easy to navigate. Quality of healthcare, from what I've gathered from my friends' experiences, can be inconsistent.

* Safety:

Safety protocol is detailed, and in the case of incidents, IES is quick to send out mass communication to ensure every student is accounted for.

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

While there are some issues with the program, I loved my time and living in London.


* 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 an expensive city. There isn't a way around that fact. I made a budget before I left, and modified my budget as the program went a long. Even without eating out a lot, food can get expensive. Cocktails are expensive as well, no matter where you go. Book travel as soon as you arrive or at least reasonably quickly, because train and plane tickets get expensive fast, as do hostels.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $175.00
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Analyze how you're spending your money every so often, and make changes to your budget every two weeks or so. I used this great app called Fudget - it's free and user-friendly. I had a weekly budget for all 15 weeks, as well as separate itemized budgets (i.e. travel, phone, transportation, food & drinks). Using the app throughout the semester really helped me manage my finances because I input each and every transaction, and I used a currency converter app to change pounds to dollars so I would force myself to see that I was spending even more than I thought. I had to remind myself, even months into the semester, that the conversion rate between pounds and dollars existed - it's easy to think, "this meal is only 9 pounds! So cheap!" - but in reality, that's something like $12. Hence, converting pounds to dollars and inputting that cost into a spending tracker/budget app clearly showed me exactly what I was spending. I highly recommend doing this, especially if you're operating on a tight budget.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* 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?
  • Living and studying in a city like London - rich in history, culture, and opportunities to have fun!
  • Course offerings
* What could be improved?
  • Organization of IES, especially with regard to academics
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The student oyster card that gives unlimited travel is only cost-saving if you plan on taking the tube or bus often for an internship or travel - otherwise, I would just use pay as you go.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

The United Kingdom and the European Union: A Troubled History

Course Department: Political Science
Instructor: Michael Drolet
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This was one of my favorite courses I have taken in college, including those from my home university. I gained a deep understanding of the history and context leading up to the 2016 decisive referendum. The professor is passionate, knowledgable, and teaches the subject very well. To students who wish to gain a more comprehensive understanding of Brexit and the future of the relationship between the UK and the EU: take this course.
Credit Transfer Issues: None.