Bristol: A fun, cheaper alternative to London Past Review

By (Economics, Grinnell College) for

University of Bristol: Bristol - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was worthwhile, but I believe I would have gotten more out of an additional semester at Grinnell.

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.

The workload was much lighter at the University of Bristol than at Grinnell. You are only allowed to take three courses and they do not meet as often or require as much work as Grinnell courses do. The grading system is very different, in that you start at 0 and points are added (whereas in the US you start at 100 and lost points). The educational system in the UK is quite different from the American system as well. The students don't seem as eager to pursue their education as American students typically are and they are definitely a more homogeneous group (particularly in terms of class).

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I was quite satisfied with the program, though I did not need any special assistance or advising. They were very professional and offered good general advice. The only area they could improve upon is pre-departure preparation, where some of their materials were out-of-date.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The housing was great, but I was placed with four other study abroad students (three Americans and a German). Not exactly conducive to meeting British students.

* Food:

I cooked basically all of my own meals, buying groceries from Sainsbury's. Good restaurants in Bristol: The Burger Joint, Jamie's Italian, the Boston Tea Party, and The Hill.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The program organized an outing to Northern Wales, which was really fun. Lots of outdoor activities. There were also numerous opportunities to go on sightseeing tours and to see theater shows in London. The only difficulty is getting from Bristol to London in time to do these things.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Bristol seemed very safe to me. I did not need to make use of any healthcare facilities.

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)

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The city.
  • Reduced courseload.
  • Being able to travel.
* What could be improved?
  • The academics.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? If you want to experience the UK, but not the hustle and bustle of London, then check out Bristol. It's really easy to get around within the city and the rest of Southern England.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

History of University in Western Europe and the USA since 1800

Course Department: History
Instructor: Mr. Ian Wei
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This was an excellent course. The professor was very well-prepared and I feel I got a lot out of this course. It was exciting to represent the American view amongst British students and to hear their interpretations of the American and British educational systems. I definitely participated more often in this course than I typically had at Grinnell.
Credit Transfer Issues: No, I did not. Everything transferred fine.