Lancaster, England: Quaint and Charming but never boring!! Past Review

By (PSYCHOLOGY., SUNY - Binghamton) for

SUNY Binghamton: Lancaster - Exchange & Study Abroad Program at Lancaster University

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I at first wanted to go to Edinburgh and not Lancaster. When I arrived however, I had a complete change of heart. It looked like a storybook town and even had a castle (with 85% or so of it, still a working prison). People were welcoming and interesting. I loved how diverse the student body was. I grew enormously from this experience. I was able to learn more about myself, having a room to myself, and sometimes going on walks alone along the rolling green fields and watch sheep munch away. I felt more autonomous, having to cook for myself and go out in search of opportunities to meet others, which is quite easy if you join a club or have a lot of flatmates. Another great way to meet students from abroad is to go on the trip offered by different colleges and the travel agency. I did not find it hard to fit in. Mostly, I loved all the travel I was able to schedule in around my schoolwork and still be able to come back to a comfortable base with supportive faculty.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The most noticeable differences were the exams at the end of the term, usually long answer questions in which you could choose a few out of many, and the longer papers. It was at times challenging in regards to the amount of reading. However, in the end it was all worth it and I felt the quality of teaching was very impressive.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program had a very helpful and welcoming atmosphere. When we arrived there was a meal in which we could meet other new students from abroad as well as the faulty. There was even a trip scheduled to the Lake district (a breathtaking sight in the North West of England). Lastly, the advisors are always available as well as the staff for each individual college. There was a great community feel.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The campus is about 20 min by bus from the city center. You can find anything you need in town, it is very pedestrian friendly and beautiful, with winding alleys and bi-weekly markets. You can purchase sheets with the school. However, pots and pans you can find as well as plates on campus at the charity shop or the thrifts shops in town, the Sainsburys (supermarket), Tkmaxx(our TJmaxx), as well as other stores that sell only houseware. the campus is very safe and nightlife can be found all over town, with the public buses being free late night for students to go back to campus.

* Food:

The food in town and on campus was good if not better than good, it depends on your personal taste but it is definitely not bad, so don't let England's reputation for bad food scare you, it's not true.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There is a travel agency on campus and many weekend trips to local areas. I went to places like Edinburgh, charming towns like chester, Stratford-upon-Avon (Shakespeare's birthplace), Bath, Leeds, Manchester, and Stonehenge. I was able to so to so many places and still complete my coursework and really learn. Getting a student rail card is more than worth it since you can save so much money on train tickets and it is a easy way to get around most of England. There was also a long Easter/Spring break that allowed me to travel around Europe to places like Germany, Hungry, the Czech Republic, and Austria as well as tour the highlands of scotland.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

You do have to pay insurance and there are health services readily available on campus. However, luckily I never felt so sick that I had to visit them.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I could easily spend under 20GBP (British Pound Sterling) a week on groceries, which at the moment is about 31 USD. I would keep a constant eye on the currency converter to make sure I did not overspend.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? My spending advice would be that you should remember you need to move back home at the end of your time abroad and therefore, shouldn't buy too many things you can use immediately. Also, though it may be tempting and easy, try not to go overboard with the partying, many people go out over three nights a week and that can really add up. Or go out on certain days where the prices are lowered just for students.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

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  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

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  • Local Students
* Who did you take classes with?

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A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? A student who is open-minded and wants to have tons of fun while always learning. Someone who is proactive and will go out in search of new exciting places to explore.