Great time in London but unhappy with provider Past Review

By (Economics, Brandeis University) - abroad from 09/14/2016 to 12/17/2016 with

IFSA: London - Queen Mary, University of London

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Living in such an expensive place really helps you learn to budget. When you're abroad you're constantly thinking of where to travel to next, so budgeting definitely comes in handy!

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Queen Mary was great. However, the program that I applied through, IFSA-Butler, was AWFUL. They did not provide us with accurate information about our housing. From the very start of my program I had reached out asking about when we would have to move out of our dorms because I had intended to stay beyond the program's end date and would have liked to save some money. I was told that we had to move out by December 17th. Mind you that there is a program fee to apply through IFSA-Butler, so of course you wouldn't doubt the accuracy of their information because you assume they are doing their job. I proceed to find an airbnb as soon as possible. I tried to find the cheapest one, especially with London already being expensive enough. However, after hearing from other international students, I found out that our housing contract was until January! I then reached out to my program advisor who was unapologetic of her mistake saying that "At the time I communicated the move-out date to students who asked, it was months before IFSA housing assignments became available. Based on previous years, I was under the impression that the contracts would not be valid beyond the program end date of December 17; that development only became known to me in these last couple of weeks." If she was unsure of the information she was passing along she should've made a note of that and then reconfirmed it for the students. But moreover, once new information was available it's the program's responsibility to notify the students. If my program had notified me sooner I wouldn't have rented the airbnb. After finding out about the news I proceeded to cancel my airbnb (despite a 50% cancellation fee), because saving a little money is better than no money at all. Why would I find housing outside of what I had already paid for? I've emailed 3 different people and they proceed to ignore my numerous emails. It's one thing to not compensate me, but to not even apologize and take ownership of their mistake is unforgivable (especially since I provided more than enough screen shots and evidence of their mistake). There is no denying that they were in the wrong, but they did not even apologize.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

Queen Mary was a great school, and I had an amazing time. IFSA-Butler on the other hand, left a bitter taste in my mouth. How I've been treated with regards to my housing clearly does NOT justify the program fee. My emails were continuously ignored despite my multiple efforts of reaching out to different people within the IFSA-Butler community.


* 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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Apply directly to Queen Mary or through other programs. Don't do IFSA-Butler if you want to save money!


* 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

  • Local Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • Culture/People
  • Traveling
* What could be improved?
  • IFSA-Butler
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Not to apply through IFSA-Butler.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.