Past Review


SUNY Binghamton: London - Semester in London

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I would definitely chose a program that is run through a University that is non-American. Not that this one was not life-changing and great, but it didn't allow for a complete submersion into the life of the British culture like I was hoping for. the laid-back classes did allow for more free time, but I guess I feel as though could have gotten more out of classes with British professors. My cultural awareness and understanding of politics, government, school systems, etc. has definitely increased, but most of what I learned was sought-out on my own.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks
The term and year this program took place: Spring 2010

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The grading can be a little confusing only because you are not given grades on papers weekly or even monthly for that matter. Many students, including myself, new that they were getting their work done with a good amount of effort put it, and yet, we still weren't sure how we were doing since assignments weren't graded when handed back. It seems as though when there were grades (even those on a check, check-minus, etc scale) they were very fair. Just wish there could have at least been mid-semester evaluations.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I wish that our program trips could have included a more democratic voting on the things that we got to see and do. It seemed like for trips like Stratford-Upon-Avon and many others, all of the students agreed upon the things that they wanted to see and do, but it came down to what the professors wanted. Now, we thought that was very unfair considering we were the ones who were paying for each and every one of these trips without ANY income, unlike the professors. Paris, however, was nice because there was more free time in addition to the organized trips.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

In addition to myself and my roommate there was another room in our flat with three other girls. We shared two bathrooms, a small living room, and a very small kitchen. It was on the third floor of a four-floor (4-flat) building in a beautiful area right in central London. <br /><br /> It was nice that the sheets/towels/pillows/etc were provided but items such as the shower curtain, pots, pans, and other cooking materials were very poor. It would also be nice if there were curtains provided. They were very good with fixing minor problems on time (light bulbs, etc) but we did go the first THREE weeks of the semester without heat, and it took and entire week and a half until we even had space heaters.

* Food:

Cooking within the flat was challenging since there were terrible pots and pans, but it was the budget-wise way of getting by so I learned to make do. Grabbing a meal at a pub every once and a while is affordable, and the sandwich meals at places like Boots, Sainsbury's, and Pret were affordable and very good.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There were a lot of organized trips to places within London, especially through the British Experience class which was nice because I otherwise might have not thought to see them. Some of these places included The Imperial War Museum, Greenwich, Keats House, etc. The end of term party was very fun and successful.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Well, I once had to rush the girl in the flat above me to the emergency room because she cut open her head from falling off the chair. The professors and program director were very concerned and were willing to rush over but we took care of it and the people in the hospital were helpful as well.

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? Food (groceries and meals out) - [40 to 50] Oyster top-up (transportation) - [20] Mobile phone top-up - [5 to 10] Shopping - [20 to 40 pounds -- More or less some weeks]
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Did not anticipate the amount of money that would be spent on transportation. A lot of what we wanted to do was within waking distance, and yet, somehow the Oyster card always needed to be topped up. I also wasn't planning on spending so much money topping up my mobile phone. I also still had to pay bills back home (car, medical, etc) so that didn't help.


Language acquisition improvement?

Well, seeing as how it was an English speaking country, my language skills remained mostly unchanged except perhaps and increase in vocabulary.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Be prepared to be around similar people very often. Make sure that you keep out of the flats and out doing things even on your own to keep yourself happy and satisfied. Make connections whenever and wherever possible. Involve yourself in charity events and keep an eye out around the University of London campus for flyers pertaining to things to see/do/help with. Try to get out and see places that you wouldn't normally consider seeing such as contemporary art displays, small low-budget (cheap) plays, student-run shows, and concerts of any sorts. Involve the people you live with every now and then, but make sure you have a lot of time to grow on your own. We had planned nights were we would all make tacos and watch Glee, but otherwise, I did my own thing which helped a lot.


I also think that the program should go back to the way it was a few years back where it followed the Binghamton schedule. It would have been nice to have finals week the week before we left. Having to finish school, take care of shipping and packing, while also squeezing in the last few sights to see was a bit too much for the last week. Even if the final week of class is just pushed back a week or something. Just a suggestion.

Danae May 03, 2010