Exhausting but worth it: traveling, studying, and british-ing abroad. June 28, 2018

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/02/2018 to 06/09/2018 with

IFSA: London - University College London

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot about myself, and I guess that's part of the point in going abroad, to learn about yourself and becoming a better person. I got to learn about living in a space a bit out of my comfort zone, and how to enjoy traveling, with people and by myself. It was all completely worthwhile.

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.

Classes were slightly different than at Brandeis, mostly just involving more lecture time and less discussion groups. It's unfortunate that classes were affected by the strike, but it was still an interesting experience nonetheless. I did not appreciate that most of our grades came from the final, personally it was hard for me to focus on each class being important when our grade was based on one assignment due months from then.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

IFSA was very helpful and welcoming. UCL's administration was a bit too bureaucratic for me to ever really get assistance from, but the anthropology department was very helpful in different ways.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was living in a first year/abroad students dorm, which was nice in that campus was a five minute walk away and we had a cafeteria, but it was communal kitchens and pretty normal dorm life. Many of my friends weren't in that housing, rather they were farther away in suites, and I wonder if I would have enjoyed my experience more in that type of setting.

* Food:

The cafeteria food was comparable to Brandeis dining, no offense to Brandeis dining. Living next to a busy street meant many cheap food options and nearby grocery stores which was nice. Was never stuck eating the same kind of food repetitively.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I never really became friends with anyone British my age, and that just might be from circumstance of living with first years. Drinking culture was a bit more active than I was used to, but I got used to it overtime.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I never had any pressing health issues, but living in a city with reliable health care made me feel safe.

* Safety:

London is a very safe city. There was a bit of a scare this year over stabbings, but nothing near UCL. Always be on watch for pickpocketing on the tube, and bikers snatching phones, but you don't have to be overly paranoid about it like in some European cities.

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

I did really enjoy London and how different it was to live in a city and go to a city campus in a central hub of Europe. I don't think I would have enjoyed my time as much if I wasn't out of my comfort zone in that regard. However, I did appreciate not having to learn a new language and to be in a familiar culture.

Finances

* 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 expensive.

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? You can save a lot of money if you buy groceries instead of eating out. Even so, London is just generally more expensive than other parts of Europe, so keep that in mind when deciding where to go.

Language

* 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
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?
  • London is a fantastic city to live in.
  • The trip to Lake District National Park was very enjoyable
  • Meeting American students from around the country and getting to know their experiences.
* What could be improved?
  • More events to engage with students (though on the other hand, not having a lot of events allows us to have experiences independent of the program which was nice)
  • Better response and engagement during the strike
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That planning trips and events months ahead of time instead of weeks can save a lot of money.

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!