There's Nothing Wrong About Going on Self Adventures January 13, 2016

By (Anthropology, Brandeis University) - abroad from 09/15/2015 to 12/19/2015 with

IFSA: London - University College London

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot about the ability to go on adventures by myself because I was in control of what I wanted to gain from my experience abroad. It was worthwhile because by the end I had a better understanding of London from living in the city and explored it instead of attempting to jetting off to a new place every weekend. I also think it was interesting taking part of a different education system and comparing the differences with local students.

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.

The overall educational experience was quite good because it helped with learning more independent because most classes were a lecture coupled with a tutorial so there was not much in-class participation. There were a lot of readings each week that required self-discipline, but it was great having all the required readings available online through the reading lists rather than needing to buy books.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The IFSA-Butler team was great! They helped everyone in settled in the country before the term officially started with presentations on the local culture and academics and would stop by the university to have coffee and a chat. They also planned an Adventure Weekend to Wales and other fun excursions.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

IFSA-Butler arranged the housing with UCL accommodations which made the process easy. My housing was a 20 minute away from UCL campus, but it was close to many shops and tube lines.

* Food:

Although I mostly cooked for myself, London has many food markets that sell a variety of food. There is also a great farmer's market on Thursdays near UCL.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt pretty well integrated with the local culture just by means of exploring the city by myself. I think due to short time abroad though made making friends with the locals more difficult.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

London felt very safe especially for navigating the city by myself. Presentations on safety may dramatize the issues such as theft, but people just need to be smart and know where their stuff is.

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)

London is a very expensive city so it requires learning how to budget and spending on necessities.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Learn to shop at different stores in order to find deals.


* 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
  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Excursions
  • Predeparture newsletters
* What could be improved?
  • Finding a way to better connect with student on the program going to the same university
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I did more research on London before I went on this program in terms of things I took for granted such as grocery stores because even small things can change in a new country.

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!