Living in London is the best! July 22, 2020

By (University of Colorado - Boulder) - abroad from 09/14/2019 to 12/14/2019 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My experience abroad was definitely worthwhile. I learned that you can't put too much pressure on yourself to see and do everything because you will just be disappointed. Just take advantage of the opportunities that you can, and give yourself a break sometimes too. While studying abroad, you aren't really a local and you also aren't really a tourist, so finding that line between living "normal life" and doing toursity things 24/7 can be hard, but it's definitely one of the best experiences and I would do it again if I could!

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

It was a bit confusing at first figuring out how the educational system worked, as it is pretty different from universities in the US. After getting a hang of it, though, it wasn't too difficult.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The team through ISA, the program I was in, was very helpful in answering questions, getting us acquainted, planning trips, fixing problems in my flat, etc.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved my flat in Notting Hill. It was a great location and the flat itself was pretty decent.

* Food:

No food was provided.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It was harder to make friends with the locals than I expected, and I did feel a bit like a tourist most of the time.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't experience any health issues.

* Safety:

There was an incident on the London Bridge while I was in London (I was not present at the incident), and the ISA team as well as the Education Abroad team from Westminster both reached out and made sure everyone was okay. London is a big city so it's expected for there to be some safety issues, but I never felt unsafe being by myself or traveling around the city.

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

The program was very well organized, the staff were reachable and very kind, the planned day trips were fun and well put together, and the housing they provided was great!

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 spent around $430 a month on personal expenses not including travel. For travel, I spent about $1,700 for the whole semester, which included 4 trips outside of the country, and a few day trips within England.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Definitely set a budget for how much you want to spend and separate that out between weekly/monthly expenses like food, going out, entertainment, shopping etc. I would recommend making a separate budget for travel based on how many trips you want to take and how much you can spend on each trip. Also realize that you will probably end up spending more than you think you will, and build a cushion into your budget for that. I definitely tried not to spend too much, but at the same time you want to be able to take advantage of as many opportunities as you can while abroad, so keep that in mind too!

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? Exchange

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* 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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Housing
  • Location
  • Opportunity to travel
* What could be improved?
  • Help/advice for integrating with the culture and meeting locals
  • opportunity to live with locals
  • Guidance for traveling and budgeting
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew how difficult it would be to make friends with locals. Living with other American students in the program makes it easy to stay in a bubble and not meet very many locals, especially since it was hard to make friends with local students in classes. I would have tried a bit harder from the beginning if I knew this, because once it gets to a certain point in the program, it feels "too late" to try and make new friends. I also wish I knew how hard it would be to balance being a local and a tourist at the same time. Sometimes on my days off from class, I would be so tired from every day life that I wouldn't really get out and explore London like I had originally planned, and then I would feel guilty about "wasting my time." I think that balance was definitely the hardest part of studying abroad for me, but I'm sure that learning process is different for everyone!