Exactly what I needed. Past Review

By (History, Middlebury College) - abroad from 01/05/2015 to 06/10/2015 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a lot of knowledge about living in London, something I would like to do later in life. I learned about SOAS, a school I am considering for graduate work, and I gained valuable historical and literary knowledge on the country and continent that I am from (South Africa//Africa), something that I was lacking great access to at Middlebury. Additionally, I spent time with old friends and had a chance to go back to a country that I love.

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 courses I took were fantastic, centered on specific regions or countries within Africa (as opposed to the the entire continent), they were taught by professors who had either grown up in their areas of expertise or who had spent considerable time doing field work in those areas.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program was administered in an alright fashion, although it was a very individual experience - as the UK is known for - students have to figure things out on their own. Something I liked, but others might not.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The living arrangements were fine, I coped. However, there were several infestations of cockroaches, unhelpful staff, and many complaints. I think that SOAS is working on altering the living arrangements. However, for living in central London, the prices and location were amazing.

* Food:

The food in London is wonderful, and cooking for myself was very enjoyable.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I loved it. Although, I grew up in Wales and have many friends within the UK, so for me, it was like going home.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The NHS is free and if you learn how to use it, very helpful. However - I think Middlebury should give students more information on the NHS and how it works as non-UK citizens might find it a little daunting and slow.

* Safety:

It is a city - if you want to be safe, you can be safe.

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 a very, very expensive city. It takes time, but you can learn to live on a budget if you cook for yourself.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I tried to spend only 50 pounds.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Go to the parts of the grocery shop where things are on sale. Cook for yourself.


* 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
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The Professors
  • The classes
  • London
* What could be improved?
  • Advice from Middlebury
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew that I would only be graded on one significant and personally researched research paper. Not something I minded, in fact, I loved having the freedom to write on what I found interesting, it would just be nice to to know areas of assessment before arriving - 100% on one essay is a lot. I think that Middlebury needs to be more aware of different grading procedures in the UK. To get above a 70 is very difficult, especially when being graded on one essay alone. I think the return Middlebury grading cut-offs are a little off and should be adjusted to more better reflect the difficulty of achieving those grades in the UK.

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 Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Contemporary African Literature

Course Department:
Instructor: Kwadwo Osei-Nyame, Jr
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The teacher was fantastic and the books we read were brilliant. I loved the course.
Credit Transfer Issues: I had no issues, but students might wish to retain copies of the syllabus and other important documents.
Course Name/Rating:

Race, Class and Culture in the History of Southern Africa

Course Department:
Instructor: Wayne Dooling
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The course was challenging and I found it interesting. The instructor could have been more approachable, and perhaps provided the exchange students with a hint of what he was looking for in essays.
Credit Transfer Issues: No.
Course Name/Rating:

Violence, Identity and Politics in Modern East and Northeast Africa

Course Department: History
Instructor: Richard Reid
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Great class, readings, and discussions. Very interesting professor.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Japanese Art

Course Department: Art History
Instructor: Radu Leca
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Great class, interesting lectures, knowledgable and approachable professor.
Credit Transfer Issues: