DIY education in a fun city June 28, 2018

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 09/18/2017 to 06/08/2018 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?
It was worthwhile. I learned a lot about how to live in a city (from a rural/suburban area). I gained some really close friends, although they are mostly American. I was able to travel a bit which I had not been able to do before studying abroad. I also learned how to take my education into my own hands.

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.

Academically rigorous institution. But limited additional resources. Difficult to connect with faculty. Much of the education was reading from powerpoint slides to an audience of a couple hundred students.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Mostly quite helpful.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Great. Center of London, clean, with few other residents using the same kitchen. Close to campus. Lacks the same community feel of university housing in the US.

* Food:

LSE did not provide food in my residence hall. They do have a variety of cafes on campus which are good. I liked the one in the SU.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Mostly hung out with other study abroad students (mainly American). LSE did not have many events to integrate or mix with locals.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

UK healthcare was amazing. A friend visited the hospital for free and they were very caring. LSE was understanding of the situation although they required paperwork.

* Safety:

Center of London is pretty safe. At night you can get a lot of creepy men which is not ideal. Only felt genuinely afraid a couple times when being followed but overall if you stay in a group at night it should be fine. I had no issues during the day.

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

Much of the teaching is left up to the student. You really get out of it what you put in. That being said the general culture there is to do nothing for the whole year and then teach all of the course material to yourself in the last month before final exams. It does not encourage learning as you go like many US institutions. Lectures are massive and can take an adjustment period if you are used to a small liberal arts college environment. There are a lot of optional lectures with great speakers and I did not take as much advantage of those as I should have. It is difficult to feel as though the LSE campus is a campus community. Joining a sport (much less commitment than US counterparts) is likely your best bet at meeting locals and international students and getting on the social scene. Any sport or organization ("society") that you join will charge a membership fee. LSE often works on a "pay to play" system. The city itself is vibrant and has many opportunities. Make the most of the museums and public parks.

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)

It is possible to spend less, especially if you are fine with eating pasta most meals. Unfortunately it usually takes money to make the most of London, especially when you start to meet people. My friends and I made potluck dinners and cooked dinner for a group which cut costs down a bit. I typically got around the city on foot most days but if you are more likely to use public transport (especially if you live farther from campus) you could be spending more (one way tube ride is £2.40, bus is £1.50).

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? unsure, possibly £80
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Try to walk as much as possible. It's good for your health, is free, and you see more of the city that way! If not the buses are a great option. Try to cook your meals rather than go out to eat. The grocery stores have some really good options.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Exchange

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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • joining a sports team
  • traveling to other countries
  • Public lectures and speakers (outside of courses)
* What could be improved?
  • More information to participants
  • less stress at exam time
  • not making every event cost money
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew that it was hands off teaching, that LSE contracted out most of the orientation week and study abroad experiences to a private company, and that additional events and societies would cost more 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!