Tea, Cake, Secondhand Bookshops, and Oh right, Studying Past Review

By (International Relations, Comparative Literature, Wellesley College) - abroad from 01/05/2015 to 06/12/2015 with

SOAS, University of London: London - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned that cultural dynamics often vary. What is taboo or sensitive to say in the US may not be the same in the UK. People are generally friendly wherever you go. Schools like SOAS are gems for diversity and cultural exchange.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The students and professors were absolutely phenomenal. People truly cared about the projects they were working on and they always inspired awe in me with their dedication. The SOAS library, known for the largest collection of books from the Middle East and Asia, is unlike any library in Western Europe or the US I have seen for that very reason. While most resources can be found through their system and in the library, the proximity to UCL's Senate House Library and the British Library meant there was never an issue of not finding something.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The admin were very nice and tried to be as helpful as possible. Occasionally they were a bit slow, but that is the nature of administration so I don't blame them too much. But they did try to organize activities that would allow the internationals to socialize and feel like they were part of the community.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

SOAS student housing is not the best and while I got lucky and didn't have too many issues, I know many others whom suffered. I have never had experienced the loss of water in my building as much as I did in London.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It was slightly difficult to break into the local British student culture as friend groups became relatively established by the Spring semester. I personally was not able to meet any local students, but that might also be the nature of SOAS as it is a predominantly international campus. Local students hung out with you, but my circle of friends were mostly internationals like me.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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 an expensive city and while I tried to keep my spending minimal, there is only so much you can do.


* 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? Direct Enrollment

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • 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?
  • Diversity
  • Flexibilty
  • Culture
* What could be improved?
  • Internal technological systems
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had a better understanding of the student population. They were fantastic and diverse people in their backgrounds, the way they dressed, and the way they thought. Had I know what kind of school they were in terms of general political thought, I would have had a slightly better time.

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!