London is SO GREAT! SOAS NOT REALLY! January 07, 2019

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 09/24/2018 to 12/15/2018 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Yes yes yes It was worthwhile. I got to learn about London history, I traveled, I understood european lifestyles, met new people. Developed more ideas about myself as well

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Honestly, it was not much intense. Academic rigor in general not as intense either - I did find that the professors had lots of literature, history resources which was great - on their reading lists. SOAS in general is not a good school for building community. I wouldn't go there again. You don't easily make friends.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The study abroad coordinator was great. However, SOAS administration, signing up for classes, doing anything needed was not good.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was really satisfied. It was center of London (Kings Cross) and I just had the essentials - own bathroom, bed, desk, chair, dresser - and a kitchen I shared with flatmates. Housing is expensive in London tho - and sanctuary students (Dinwiddy House) was sort of on the lower side of rent payments.

* Food:

London has great food. I had money for cheap groceries, super markets which was great. I made food. In general eating out at dine-in restaurants is really expensive.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I met LOTS of international students that were not necessarily from UK. The British people I did meet in school - were not always up for hanging out, getting to know one another as much, as London was soooo big. It's hard to meet up. People were not really engaging with each other in general after class. As an Asian (Pakistani Punjabi) it is so easy to be integrated within London because of the loads of minority communities in London. The only thing is that British born people are pretty rude and London doesn't give a good opportunity to get to know each other easily. You have to put in work. I give it FIVE stars because London is so great with so many different nationalities, ethnicities, religions that you feel normal there, in comparison to America. SOAS in general is not a good school for building community. I wouldn't go there again. You don't easily make friends.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not use health care at all. I did sign up for GP but I was not able to go to a doctor for check up - it was pretty confusing. And I had to pay as well

* Safety:

Yeah it was pretty safe to the standards of a big city. Obviously as a woman, you're always worried and watching your back..

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

SOAS in general is not a good school for building community. I wouldn't go there again. You don't easily make friends. I love LONDON THOUGH!

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)

SO HARD!!!!!!! Ah oh my gosh. London is so expensive. I ended up spending more than my budget FOR SURE.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? When I ate at home - 10 pounds a week. In general - eating out could be like losing 20 pounds a week (extra) or more.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? really plan what you are going to be doing - extra traveling, fun experiences included as well. Have some self control as well..

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?
  • Location in London
  • Courses
  • London!
* What could be improved?
  • Community integration
  • Connecting London to Wellesley
  • Bringing London things to Wellesley
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That SOAS was not going to be the place where you need to make friends. To get with local cultures. There's more than that - that first month you were there didn't have to be your time to push for integration then. I was having trouble the first month but I got better later because I realized the potential for london to bring so many people together! And those that I love as well (who visited me)