England - The food there's not half bad, and the Brits are even more endearing than you hoped Past Review

By (Kinesiology and Exercise Science., Valparaiso University) for

Valparaiso University: Cambridge - Valparaiso University Study Center

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I feel that I am definitely a more confident and content person after this experience. I want to go back, but now I feel that I can be happy no matter where I am. I feel less restless.

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.

At Anglia Ruskin, it was different in that for a science class (anatomy and physiology 1), we had 2 papers and a final as the only workload, but I was interested in most of the lectures and think I retained information that way. It was also interesting to have to do much of my own research for the two papers I wrote, rather than looking off of the notes a professor had already dictated. The grading (marks) system was also very different. As far as the classes at the center, I felt that I still remember MUCH of what I learned there. It may be that the self-reflection and discoveries I was making abroad put me into a very "plugged in" mode to be educated, but I found the classes to be very applicable to me. I think some of the methods of teaching were also very different from what I was used to (especially in English history), and so each class was something new and exciting as far as the learning environment was concerned. I was also determined to leave a positive impression of American students behind for the English professors.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

He was very helpful in every way that he could be, having lived in England for about a year before that. He loved to make sure we were doing alright, and making the most of our experience. He was an integral part of the program.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The Valparaiso center is a house that all 16 of us American students lived in, and it is deeply rooted in tradition (such as a "common meal" once a week, which one or two people from the house prepare), and we were responsible for cleaning and providing for ourselves, most of the time. It instilled a sense of pride within all of us, and quickly felt like a home to us. Our program director made sure to stop by often, even when he wasn't teaching, because he became a part of our group and was not only a useful resource to us, but our friend. We didn't need to purchase sheets or much cookware, and for whatever we purchased that could be considered useful for the entire house or for future students, we were reimbursed. The center was about a 10-15 minute walk from the center of town, and many clubs, stores, and restaurants were within a 30-minute walking distance radius.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Our first trip to London was great for orienting us with how to travel around the country, and to not be afraid of big, foreign cities, and our trips to castles, the Lake District, and Stonehenge were definitely beautiful, social, memorable, and educational. I wouldn't change any of them.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

There were no vaccines. If we had a health concern, there was a clinic directly across the street from the center, and I believe 3 of our students went to it for minor health issues. The clinic was not as responsive as our American students were used to, but I don't know that they really needed to be.

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? Especially in England, things are expensive. I would say I spent roughly £50 on a very, very cheap week, but otherwise at least £75-£100 per week. On a travel week, this price varies drastically. Sometimes, I spent £200 in just a few days when traveling; this included food, hostel stays, souvenirs, buses, etc.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Don't be too frugal, as you are studying abroad to experience as much as you can, but also, look for deals with food, and only buy the souvenir if you're prepared to pack it or ship it. I wish I would have been informed of how expensive trains in Europe can be, even when using a Eurail pass. Be prepared to pay a fee before traveling.


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Fluent

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? A student who is ready to go out to make the best experience they can, to get to know the Brits on a whole new level, and to travel, travel, travel, but not forget about exploring England as well.