London Learning: The Best Months Yet! July 22, 2020

By (University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa) - abroad from 01/20/2020 to 03/22/2020 with

University of Westminster: London - Direct Enroll Study Abroad & Internships

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I met some lifelong friends! I also learned so much about the London culture, it I greatly appreciate. I believe my two and a half months in London was very worthwhile.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Although four hour classes could feel long at times, I loved that I was only in a class for one day each week (I ended up having two classes on Monday and one on Tuesday). The class sizes were relatively small, which made me feel more comfortable. The coursework was a lot of work, however, you got a great amount of time to finish the work and all the instructors were extremely helpful. You only get a few courseworks/tests for each class, unlike in the United States (where you get an assignment each week).

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration was very good with communication and provided great resources. The on-site orientation was very informative and made me feel more comfortable going into my classes the first week.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved having my own room/bathroom in Marylebone Hall. The showers were a bit small and it was rather annoying when the motion sensor lights went out every three minutes while you shower. But all my flatmates were extremely nice and it was fun to bond with them in the communal kitchen. The elevators did break down often, which was not fun when you live on the 15th floor. It was very convenient, though, having all my courses in the Marylebone building. I could leave my residence hall room five minutes before class started. The common space game area was nice, a few friends and I would play Jackbox TV on the TV. However, they did close the space down about a month into my program for renovations. I also loved how convenient it was for me to go places from my residence hall. Baker Street Station was right across the street and there were many bus stops around, as well. I loved having Regents Park right across the road as well. The park is very pretty to take a walk or run in or to stop at the little cafe that was in the middle of the park. I also loved that places like Primark were only a 15 minute walk away and Buckingham Palace was a 30 minute walk (with many great stops on the way!).

* Food:

I absolutely love fish and chips in London! Curry was another staple food that I made for myself almost every week. The pubs in London are also so lively and I enjoyed going with my friends.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I found that most people in London were rather welcoming and nice! I loved the pub atmosphere as people are very open to talking. I got into an hour long conversation with two couples from London (I was fascinated with hearing their stories and they loved hearing about the United States).

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The program I was with provided each student with insurance, which was very ensuring for both myself and my parents. There were also many clinics around the area if any emergency were to arise.

* Safety:

Aside from the normal pick-pocketing you hear about happening in London, I felt rather safe in the city. On multiple occasions, I would set out walking by myself to any given location and I never felt uncomfortable or unsafe. I think knowing that many people are around in most locations, if anything were to arise, I could easily get someone's attention.

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

Although Coronavirus ended my program early, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in London. I was provided with so many great resources that made my study abroad some of the best months!

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)

Since I have been in college for the past three and a half years, I found it very easy to live on a student's budget. I would shop at Aldi's for all my groceries (making sure to bring my own reusable bags). I also would walk as much as possible, meaning I spent less money on transportation and I got my exercise in. I also would take advantage of the many free things to do in London. The museums in London are spectacular and the parks are breathtaking.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $60
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Shop at Aldi's or Lidl's in London. Not only are they cheaper, but their products are just as great! Learn to cook if you have access to a kitchen. You'll save so much money if you cook food for yourself instead of eating out every day. Walk as much as possible, not only will you save on transportation costs but you'll help yourself stay in great shape. Take advantage of all the free things to do in London. If you plan to do activities around London, try looking into the London Pass. I did the three day London Pass and it paid for itself within the first day! Shop at thrift stores around London. I got three canvas pictures of London for only a pound a piece!

Language

* 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

  • Americans
* 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 people I met
  • The amazing food options
  • The places that I got to visit
* What could be improved?
  • Elevators in residence hall
  • N/A
  • N/A
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Make sure to sign your credit card/debit card before going abroad in London. Every transaction you make with the card, they check your signature on your card against what you sign on every receipt. Also, make sure your name is on the card (I tried using my mother's card at one time but they refused to accept it since it had my mother's name on the front and not my own).

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.