Finding Home While Abroad August 19, 2022

By (Psychology, Wellesley College) - abroad from 01/24/2022 to 06/12/2022 with

University of Bristol: Bristol - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I honestly feel like I found my home in Bristol and hope to move back sometime in the future. I learned a lot about myself, other people, and how to travel. I matured. It was 100% worthwhile.

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.

It was very different from my educational experience at my home university. I only had one exam for each class which counted as 100% of my grade. However, I liked this. We had weekly lectures and seminars. I found the teaching and readings to be more efficient and concise. The university was great with my disability accommodations.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration was very hands-off. This was often a bit frustrating. I'm unsure if this was a cultural difference, if my home university is overly involved, etc. It was sometimes a bit frustrating, especially in the few weeks preparing to arrive.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was initially put in a studio in Bath, which was about a 1h15 commute to the university each way. I appreciated that they got me a studio to suit my disability needs. However, the distance from campus was an issue. However, three weeks in, I could switch to a two-person flat in the center of Bristol. It was amazing. It was recently constructed, I always felt safe, and the staff was helpful.

* Food:

We cooked our food, so this is not applicable. However, in Bristol, the food was excellent and relatively affordable. They have many dietary options.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I think getting to know other Bristol University students was a bit difficult. This may have been because I was in Bath for the first three weeks. To get to know local students, you must take the initiative and put yourself out there. However, I met many other study abroad students and local Bristolians through a Facebook group.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I was very confused by the healthcare system. They have a university health center, but I was outside the accepted geographic area. However, I had to call 111 (a non- life-threatening emergency line) for a few dental and medical issues, and they walked me through the process. I recommend registering for a GP ASAP once you are assigned your accommodation. It's much different than US medical systems, and I'm not sure if the Bristol administration understood the extent of the differences.

* Safety:

I felt incredibly safe in Bristol. I felt safe walking alone in my city area, even at night. The accommodation had 24/7 security.

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

I found a home in Bristol. Despite the hands-off approach to some aspects of Administration, it was a great experience. It's a great university with excellent lecturers and a manageable balance between free time and academic rigor. The city itself is progressive, safe, and accessible. There are always a diverse array of events within walking distance, and the people are friendly. I highly recommend the experience to anyone who is not afraid to put themselves out there, figure things out for themselves, and explore. You must take the initiative to find friends, clubs, and opportunities.


* 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 received a substantial amount of financial aid from Wellesley College. I never felt stressed because of money.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $150
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Figure out early on which foods are healthy but cheap each week. Give yourself a budget for fun activities each week and stick to it so that you have some savings if there is an opportunity that costs more. Because I budgeted, I was able to go on a few trips.


* 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? Direct Enrollment

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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The city of Bristol
  • The people
  • The course material
* What could be improved?
  • Administration
  • Preparation for arrival
  • Orientation in person
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew how important it was to meet people through the global exchange office and in organizations during the first few weeks of the term. I was living in Bath and got COVID and found this put me at a disadvantage in meeting other people. However, over time I was able to find community.

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 Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.