Study Abroad at University of London Past Review

By (English and Rhetoric, SUNY - Binghamton) for

SUNY Binghamton: London - Semester in London

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Yes this experience was very worthwhile. I learned so much about myself. I was taught by great professors and learned about so many cultural things that I wouldn't have learned without this program. I can finally say "Yes! I've been there" when I see a picture of Big Ben or Greenwich Park. I loved living in a city that only people can dream of visiting. I've learned to be a lot more open-minded and patient especially with others that I do not get along with. I became more religious and faithful because I continued going to church in London and was part of an awesome Newman house that a lot of University of London students attended. I became more cultured because I did so much traveling and was exposed to so many different people and cultures. Overall, I think I became a better person because of this program and I don't regret anything and, of course, I would do it all over again.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month
The term and year this program took place: Spring 2010

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The workload was manageable and I enjoyed most of the books I read this semester. The teaching methods weren't as structured as I'm used to but i enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere. Unfortunately, there was no grading system or scale which I didn't really like because I wasn't sure where I stood in the class and I won't know until I get my final grades back.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I feel like Emily plays favorites. In Paris, she had no problem showing some girls where Longchamp was but she couldn't help my friend and I to find boutiques even though she claims she's been there multiple times. Also she didn't know even half of the concern that the professors did when my friend got injured. She couldn't even tell us what to do when obviously it was an emergency. We had to call a professor late at night and have him give us advice and where to go and how to get there. Emily is accessible and friendly but I feel she could've been more more helpful.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Neighborhood: Bloomsbury Building: 17 Bedford Place We had A LOT of issues with our building. We got there in early January and for the first two weeks we didn't have heat. The heat was always a problem. We would have it then we would lose it. Also we never got recycling bags. We ended up having to steal the bags from other buildings because that's what Acorn told us to do. Acorn was so late doing meager things for us. When a lightbulb would go out in a bathroom it wouldn't get fixed until two days later. Our room didn't get mirrors until the middle of the semester even though we requested them as soon as we got there. It was so annoying. I also feel like the housing this semester was completely unfair. The other flat on Bloomsbury was obviously nicer and more modern than our on Bedford and it's not fair AT ALL that we are paying the same price yet we get a older and more dingy place to live. The neighborhood was very good. The location was prime with two tube stations near by and the study center and the British museum only a block away. The location was the only good thing about our housing. <br /><br /> The neighborhood seems very safe. It's right near University of London and the British Museum so it's a prime spot for tourists and students. The flat was very old fashioned and dingy. The paint was peeling off the ceiling in the shower. The drains would clog all the time. The toilets wouldn't flush sometimes. The dryer in the building sometimes wouldn't dry clothes properly. I didn't buy anything for to settle-in, but I know that most of the people I lived with bought sheets and extra blankets.

* Food:

We lived near a grocery store, Sainsbury's, and that's where I bought most of my food. However, I went to Waitrose, a pricer grocery, for fruits because they seemed fresher. I'm vegetarian and I didn't feel restricted at all. The UK is very good about labeling foods that are vegetarian and vegan so that was a plus. If you would like to eat out, I would suggest Nandos and Pasta Brown.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

As I said above, my own traveling was awesome and the most memorable from my time abroad. The program went on a trip to Paris. I think this would've been more successful if we didn't have such a time restricted schedule! I didn't even have time to buy gifts. At almost every hour we had to be somewhere or meet someplace. It was so annoying! The hotel was nothing special. I wish they would've instead put us into a really nice hostel than put us in a 2 star hotel. On the other hand, the trips to Bath and Stratford Upon Avon were nice. However, when we went to Stratford Upon Avon, Emily and the professors told us that we would have a choice of staying in Stratford of going to Oxford. When we got to Stratford they told us we would be staying even though they didn't even ask us for our vote. It was very unfair! All of us wanted to go to Oxford!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I felt safe in the city and our flat was in a very nice area. When my friend got hurt Emily didn't help as much even though she was our number one person to go to. Instead we went to our professors who were very helpful, caring, and informative.

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'd say about 40 GBP
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Budget yourself and share stuff with your friends when you can.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • 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 open-minded, accept change, and learn to be patient with others. You will be living and dealing with people that you might not get along with.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Writing About London

Course Department: ENG 380R
Instructor: Professor Liz Rosenberg
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Professor Rosenberg gave us, I think, too much writing. There were four page journal entries due every week on top of reading and other little writing assignments. Even though the journals were easy to write it eventually became a burden because I would have to give up seeing London and instead be stuck in my room writing them. On the other hand, what I liked the most about this class is that I learned to express my emotions in a way that I never was able to.
Credit Transfer Issues: No
Course Name/Rating:

Shakespeare On Stage

Course Department: ENG 245H
Instructor: Professor Bernie Rosenthal
Instruction Language: English
Comments: I learned so much in Shakespeare because we were able to see all the plays we read and this made it easier to understand Shakespeare. I definitely wouldn't be able to learn what I did in his class than in a normal class in Binghamton. Bernie is very knowledgeable of Shakespeare. He knows all the ins and outs of the subject which helped a lot with things we didn't understand. He made us do presentations on all the plays we read which was a bit different than in a normal class, but it was informative and fun. He also gave us the choice of what to be graded which I really liked. I opted to take the midterm which I did very well on and that was to be counted towards my final grade.
Credit Transfer Issues: No
Course Name/Rating:

British Experience

Course Department: ENG 450W
Instructor: Professor Bernie Rosenthal
Instruction Language: English
Comments: I always looked forward to British Experience because we almost always went on trips. Just to name a few, we went to Kenwood House, Keats House, and the Imperial War Museum. Professor Rosenthal was definitely the one that took advantage of our awesome location. I could only wish that the other professors did the same. I really appreciated that Professor Rosenthal gave us another option than the 12 page final paper. Instead, some of us wrote a one page response to an article in the Camden New Journal. I was thankful for this option because during the last few days of classes all the professors decided to take us on trips and give us a lot of homework all at once.
Credit Transfer Issues: No
Course Name/Rating:

Justice and the Law in British Drama and Literature

Course Department: ENG 380Q
Instructor: Professor David Bosnick
Instruction Language: English
Comments: I learned so much in this class! But I think what helped the most is that there were only seven people in this class so the class's environment was a lot more intimate. Professor Bosnick is such an enthusiastic and knowledge teacher! I wasn't very interested in the course subject at first and I was only taking it for my Brit Lit II requirement but after taking this class I am so incredibly happy I took it. I read amazing plays and learned so much about justice and the law. The coursework wasn't too bad with readings every night and a quiz every class. We also had to do a 20 minute oral presentation and an 8 page final paper. It sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but in the end it is all worth it. I really loved this class. I do wish we went on more trips.
Credit Transfer Issues: No