London, I'll be back Past Review

By (English Language and Literature and Film and Media Culture, Middlebury College) - abroad from 09/14/2015 to 12/11/2015 with

King's College London: London - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It felt amazing to really get to know a great city like London, and to travel so widely. It was an amazing experience. That said, the educational experience felt like it got in the way of my other experiences. I didn't do many of the things I wanted to do because I was too busy worrying about writing papers for a different academic system. Many of my flatmates were taking their study abroad semesters pass/fail, which meant that they still had to do their work, but were able to explore much more widely. I didn't go abroad for academics. Frankly, Middlebury's academics are much better than King's, so it would have been nice if I could prioritize the actual reason I went abroad, rather than being constantly concerned about getting assigned bad grades due to unfamiliarity with the academic system.

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.

The professors were excellent and the classes interesting, but the British educational system does nothing to encourage student investment in classes. Professors felt distant, and the grading system felt contrived.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program administration was good, although with the size of the university, they felt a little inaccessible.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My flat was centrally located in London, which was amazing for seeing everything I wanted to see. My room was a bit small and dark, but it was nice having my own bathroom.

* Food:

There was no meal plan. Cooked for myself, which was fine.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

King's College made the bizarre decision to put all the American students together. This meant that we had very little interaction with the non-American students. In class, however, I did feel like I got to know some local students.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

All fine.

* Safety:

London feels amazingly safe. I had no problems with theft or with my physical safety. The main safety concern is with the traffic moving in the opposite direction, which can be overcome with a bit of caution.

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


* 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, but if you make your own meals and fly Ryanair when you travel, it's easy to avoid spending too much money.

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? Get a 16-25 railcard and apply it to your Oyster card right away. This will cut a third off the rate you pay for off-peak fares, as well as off regular train travel. Probably saved me $100-150 while I was there.


* 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

  • 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! and Amsterdam, Dublin, Bath, Edinburgh, Madrid, Glasgow, and the Cotswolds
  • Learning about Medieval London in London
  • Independence of living in a city
* What could be improved?
  • Pass/fail study abroad
  • The King's assessment system
  • Not grouping all the Americans together
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I think I was well-prepared for my experience. It would have been nice to know that taking history classes at King's (even intro ones) are expected to be extremely rigorous. I had to drop a class (which I didn't need to take) that would have ruined my study abroad experience due to its rigor.

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:

Performance in Medieval Culture

Course Department: English
Instructor: Sarah Salih
Instruction Language: English
Comments: While we covered interesting topics in class, and Professor Salih is a capable and knowledgable lecturer, the course felt a little disjointed, jumping around from one topic to the next, with only a few unifying themes. In addition, the seminars were not well run, and having no participation grade meant that most of the class stayed silent.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

London Literature 1380-1450

Course Department: English
Instructor: Lawrence Warner
Instruction Language: English
Comments: I really enjoyed this course. The lectures were fabulous, and Lawrence is an excellent professor. Unfortunately, he was a bit hamstrung (which he recognized) by the need to adhere to King's system of grading based on two papers. In addition, the mid-term paper topics could have been clearer.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Writing the New Nation: 19th Century American Literature

Course Department: English
Instructor: Edward Sugden
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Ed is a great, enthusiastic professor. While I sometimes found it odd that we had lectures in a straight English class (I found them necessary for the medieval courses due to the challenging nature of the material), his lectures were generally informative, and he leads excellent discussions. My main complaint is that we did not have a single graded assignment due until December.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Contemporary European Cinema

Course Department: Film
Instructor: Rosalind Galt
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Rosalind is a good lecturer. Our discussions (led by a grad student) were not overly interesting or informative, and it often felt like our instructor had specific answers in mind rather than letting the discussion flow. I enjoyed some of the films we watched, but in general they were not to my taste, and our readings were at times painfully dull.
Credit Transfer Issues: