'Can You Fold A Pound?' And Other Dumb Questions I Asked Abroad Past Review

By (Birmingham-Southern College) - abroad from 01/06/2017 to 01/16/2017 with

University of Birmingham: Birmingham - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I was so challenged by how isolating studying abroad can be. I am introverted, and did not expect to miss my family or friends when I was abroad, but I really deeply missed them throughout the whole experience. I really gained more self-reliance and an ability to be more adaptable, while I also learned to value the people I care about more and fight for the things I prioritize. I can also cook crepes now, so that is kind of neat!

Review Photos

University of Birmingham: Birmingham - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo University of Birmingham: Birmingham - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo University of Birmingham: Birmingham - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo University of Birmingham: Birmingham - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo University of Birmingham: Birmingham - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I really enjoyed two of my classes. I felt like these classes were well taught and I learned a lot while taking them. However, my other two classes were confusing and I did not feel like I understood what was going on. Part of this was probably my fault, but I felt like the professor could have communicated more clearly. I also felt like I was not prepared for the exams, just because it was a whole new system.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration here really tried to be friendly and approachable. Yet, trying to organize my class schedule was a nightmare, and I wish they had better organized things before we arrived.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was very frustrated with my housing at times. Doing laundry was always way more overwhelming than it had to be, because the machines often did not work and they were over priced. Once the laundry machine messed up and so my clothes were soapy and soaking wet when I went to get them, and even when I washed them again they still smelled like burnt dirty socks for some reason, which was super gross. My kitchen was always disgusting, because my roommates did not clean up after themselves. I think a good way to solve this is to have the Vale staff or RA or someone organize a meeting for roommates together at the beginning of the semester. It is important to set up rules and ways of communication in the beginning or it will never happen. I realize I could have taken this upon myself, but I was a new student and they already had their own thing when I got here, and I think this makes it really intimidating to try to discuss chores. Maybe study abroad students should be encouraged to have a formal meeting with all their roommates at the beginning of the semester to exchange contact information and establish some cleaning and socializing systems. I will say Maple Bank was pretty nice for the price and for being a freshman dorm. I wish I had a kitchen when I was a freshman. I do not think the freshman here realize how lucky they are to have a kitchen. The walk to campus was a pain when it was raining, but otherwise it was usually fairly pleasant and I actually grew to enjoy that time. Overall, the Vale was a nice place. I liked the lake and I am grateful that the hub was so close!

* Food:

I really appreciated the meal plan here. I budgeted well and usually was fairly content. I especially love the Mexican place in the university center. The burritos were so tasty and the staff always was friendly and made me smile! All of the cafeteria staff on campus were really nice and I was grateful for their friendliness!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I really benefitted from joining a few societies on campus! It helped me meet people with stuff in common that we could bond over!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not have any interaction with the health care system on campus this semester.

* Safety:

I always felt well informed and able to reach out and stay safe.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

I definitely enjoyed my experience on many levels. It was an incredible way to get to know English literature. I made some international student friends that I will cherish for life. The location was in the middle of a lot of really great places.


* 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)

I was able to budget and make it through okay, but I was pretty much always stressed about money.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? It really depended on the week and my meal plan. It really fluctuated, so probably between $5-50.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Prioritize and only get what you really need. Make sure any splurges (fun meals, souvenirs, etc.) are budgeted out ahead of time. Save every penny you have ever made in your life for this. Always go for the cheapest traveling option, by using "best fare finder" on trainline, or skyscanner, or something along those lines.


* 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
  • 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?
  • The Cool English Literature Sites (ex: Stratford-Upon-Avon)
  • The Sheep
  • Becoming a well-travelled version of myself that I have always dreamed of and worked towards becoming
* What could be improved?
  • Freshman are loud. Always bring earplugs.
  • Why doesn't the U.K. have Chick-fil-a?
  • I know I could always budget better and study harder than I do.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? When I came to the U.K., I had a big fear of letting people in that I would end up having to say good bye to. So, I missed out on chances to hang out with new friends, and ended up feeling kind of alone for a lot of the experience. I eventually let people in and made some amazing friends, who I am deeply grateful for. I would just advise anyone to be present. Getting good grades is only part of the equation. The other part is laughing, laying in the grass, and going to the pub with your buddies. Do not be afraid to make friends, because, if you don't, it can get really lonely.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'