An Incredible Journey Past Review

By (Government, Cornell University) - abroad from 09/30/2011 to 06/30/2012 with

London School of Economics (LSE): London - General Course, Year-Long Study Abroad Programme

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I cannot begin to describe all that I gained from my time abroad. I learned how to be truly independent, to navigate strange places with little but a few words and a map, to experience new people and cultures, and really there is too much for a little blurb. I cannot every truly explain how incredible it was, but in short I think everyone should have an experience like mine at some point in their lives.

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.

Though the LSE offers a wide variety of courses, contact time is very minimal (8 hours per week). While some may prefer this research, intensive reading based form of study, I found it to be less engaging than courses at my home University. I did enjoy the wide range of materials covered in class, and the University does a good job of avoiding repetitive review of material. And while not necessarily a drawback, the fact that there was only one grade per class for the entire year was largely intimidating. Overall though I feel that I learned a great deal and am a much more independant and organzied student for it.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They had a lot of difficulty in providing information. I encounted a lot of time delays in providing services such as refunding 200 pounds to my school card. This effectively limited my budget in ways that could have been avoided if the administration had handled it better.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

It was regular dorm housing. Besides a largely uncomfortable bed, I was pleased with my location (A little outside the center) and it was kept fairly clean. There was a decent common area and a canteen that was nice.

* Food:

If you can afford it, London food is amazing and provides a large variety of options! The school itself has a decent canteen and cafe areas. My dorm provided dinners a few nights a week which was pretty good.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I loved the people and the culture. London has a wide variety of places and groups and I easily found one in which I fit in and was welcomed. The stereotype that the English don't want to befriend Americans or will be standoffish was completely unfounded in my experience. Towards the end of my stay, I was out with a Union Jack singing "God Save the Queen" for her Jubilee.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no major health issues to speak of, but I was registered with a local doctor (without problem) just in case.

* Safety:

I never had a problem with safety, but as it is a large city, I would not reccommend walking around late at night alone. Public transport is easily accessible and worth taking.

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)

It was sometimes a decision between a hearty meal or traveling, but Raman noodles are readily available and the University provided some options for food.

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? Yes
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 30 pounds
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Learn what the students do to save, generally speaking (ignoring alcohol costs) they know best how to keep a low 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

  • Local Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
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?
  • Location!!!!
  • Friends/Culture of London
  • Cheap Travel to Other Countries!!
* What could be improved?
  • Administration at LSE
  • Food Budget
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? You do NOT need to bring the whole world in your suitcase. Manage with as little as you can and you will be better for it (mainly at the airport weigh-in!)