Bristol the City- Better than Bristol the University July 08, 2017

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/13/2017 to 06/03/2017 with

University of Bristol: Bristol - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My experience was worthwhile. I definitely gained a lot of independence and confidence in myself, along with the positive of exploring new places I might never have gone to in my life if I hadn't studied abroad. Even with the negatives, I am still very grateful for my time abroad.

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.

A lot of this rating has to do with one particular class. Due to the original professor going on paternity leave, it was taught by a last-minute substitute who did not know the subject matter fully; students were not informed the class would be taught by a sub until the day before the class began, despite the university knowing this fact much earlier. The local students in the class constantly complained about how bad the class and substitute were. The way credits work in UoB's history department, I essentially only took two classes, so half of my semester (academically speaking, at least) felt mostly like a waste of time. I would not recommend history students going to UoB for study abroad, as most local students I talked to had many complaints about the department as a whole. It was my impression that other departments outside of the humanities are better run.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

IFSA-Butler staff in England seemed to be a mixed bag. A few staff members were very nice and helpful, while others seemed to be constantly disorganized. It was hard to figure out which staff member to ask about various questions. More internal organization and delegation could have helped this.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The housing I had for most of the program was wonderful. It was newly built. I had my own room in a 10 person flat, with my own en suite and a large built in desk/wardrobe combination, plus a nightstand and a large bulletin board. There was a shared kitchen, which was often disgustingly messy, though that was the fault of my flatmates, not the program. Before my main assignment, I was placed in temporary housing for the first week of the program. This housing smelled horrible, had doors that were nearly impossible to open with one arm, showers that were falling apart, etc. Overall, my experience with housing was very good, but it easily could have been much worse had I been living in a different building.

* Food:

I made my own food.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

English culture is fairly similar to the US, so it wasn't too hard to feel comfortable. However, I was never able to meet any locals who I would call friends. I think a lot of this had to do with me arriving in the middle of the year, when friend groups are already established.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not have any health issues while abroad and did not experience the healthcare system.

* Safety:

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

While I absolutely loved Bristol as a city, and am very thankful I got to experience it, University of Bristol was not a good place to study history, one of my majors. Moreover, when I initially chose Bristol, I thought I could also work towards my second Environmental Studies major, but could not the way credits vary in size between departments. I wish my academic experience had been better, and also that circumstances had facilitated making friends a bit more.

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)

I'm not entirely sure how much I typically spent. Most of the time my grocery bill was under 20 pounds, and I went to the store 1-2 times a week.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local 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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • the city of Bristol
* What could be improved?
  • University of Bristol history dept
  • IFSA Butler organization
  • more opportunities to make friends
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew how poorly run University of Bristol's history department is.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!