A Semester in the North of England: Fun, and Just Outside My Comfort Zone Past Review

By (Robotics Engineering, Olin College) for

University of Leeds: Leeds - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This was my first international experience, and I am so grateful I had the chance to spend a semester living so differently. I met great friends and learned a bit of self-sufficiency.

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.

This was a good opportunity to take courses that I would not have the chance to at my home university. However, the level of instruction was not up to my home university's standards. I am also used to a lot of hands-on, project-based, and team work, and found many of the lectures in Leeds unengaging; of course, I've been spoiled by an exceptional program at home.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Representatives were generally available when I visited the office in-person (email communication was challenging), and usually able to help me. However -- and I think this is entirely reasonable -- they did not know much about the American higher education system or immigration requirements for American students.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The location was fantastic (in regards to classes and the city center), and the price very reasonable. Facilities left a little to be desired, but how picky can a college student lucky enough to be studying abroad be? There were substantial security threats in the area, but when violent activities peaked, the police and campus security took extra measures to maintain our safety. I needed to buy everything in order to settle in (bedding, school supplies, cookware, toiletries, et cetera).

* Food:

I enjoyed the semester of cooking for myself.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The campus international group organized fantastic trips around the UK.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

See housing review for safety matters. I did not have an experience with healthcare, but some of my fellow study-abroad students encountered some problems.

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 spent approximately $40/week on groceries and personal expenses, but shopped quite thriftily.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I expected some currency conversion fees, but not 5.5% on cash withdrawal. Also, I did not expect to spend as much on social activities as I did, but still managed to stay well within my budget (the equivalent of a semester at my home university).


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None

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

  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • opportunity to travel
* What could be improved?
  • assistance with routine matters
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? This is a fantastic program for someone with little international experience looking to experience a new place without the stress of communicating in a second language or major culture shock.