Name: Neelam Mohammed Email: Neelam.firstname.lastname@example.org City Studied Abroad In: London, UK Program: IFSA-‐Butler University College London Program Details: -‐One semester (September to December/January to May) -‐Courses offered in every major subject fields; I took courses in Anthropology, Political Science, and History -‐Courses taught in English -‐Lived in a four-‐story flat in Notting Hill with other IFSA-‐Butler participants; approx. 25 min travel time via underground transportation; option to live on campus as well -‐Very large program, open to students from other universities like Princeton University, Duke University, University of Virginia, and St. Joseph’s University -‐Program also included weekend trips to the Lake District, Bath, and Dover, as well as holiday parties and dinners at restaurants with the IFSA-‐Butler staff Courses Taken: -‐Introduction to Theoretical Perspectives in Social Anthropology and Material Culture -‐Man and Animals -‐History of Parliament -‐International Development and Public Policy Other Courses Offered: -‐See UCL course catalog Favorite Parts of the Program: -‐The weekend trips to other areas of England were a blast! We had an adventure weekend in the Lake District up north, where we participated in exhilarating activities like mountain climbing and gorge scrambling through rivers. We also visited Bath to see the famous Roman baths and Dover to visit the castle and the famous Shepherd’s Neame brewery in the nearby city of Faversham. -‐The four-‐story flat was an amazing living and learning experience, where we lived with about 30 people from across the U.S. and were able to explore London and other cities with these other students. -‐London is a huge city with much to offer, ranging from world-‐famous museums to theatre performances to royal palaces. -‐There are many outdoor markets to shop at, especially during the weekends. My personal favorite is Portobello Market in Notting Hill. -‐Traveling, eating, and shopping is very expensive because of the pound-‐to-‐ dollar ratio; BUT tax is included in all the prices you see so you never have to guess how much you’ll be spending on groceries, meals, or shopping
-‐Take advantage of the student discounts that a lot of museums, movie theatres, and performance halls may have -‐Though you’ll be tempted to travel to other cities and even countries, make sure to explore London as much as you can. I was there an entire semester and didn’t even explore a quarter of the city! Least Favorite Parts of the Program: -‐The IFSA-‐Butler housing (off-‐campus flats) are fairly far from campus and require these students to pay a lot more to travel to school via the transportation system (commonly known as “the Tube”); on average, you spend $150 USD on everyday travel per month (try to obtain a student Oyster card through your school; it gives you discounts on the tube and bus rides) -‐Very strict attendance policy for study abroad students so you cannot miss your classes more than once or twice a semester -‐Customer service does not really exist, so don’t be put off by unfriendliness Other Things I Think You Should Know About Studying Abroad in the United Kingdom: -‐It’s normal to grab a beer at the pub with a professor (drinking age is 18, by the way) -‐Do NOT try to keep up with the British students when it comes to drinking; they have had plenty more years of experience with their heavier beers than you probably have -‐My favorite part about studying abroad in London was learning that a culture that we oftentimes consider to be similar to American culture, was actually quite different from ours. Even simple terms like "bangs" for your hair was shocking to the Brits, who took the term in a more...sensual way (their term for "bangs" is "fringe") -‐The grading system is very different and perhaps more difficult than the U.S. system; they don’t start at 100 and mark you down for what you get wrong, but start from 0 and give you points for what you get correct. This means you’ll have much lower scores, but don’t fret, a 65 at UCL is equivalent to a B+. An A+ is virtually unheard of because to obtain that, you have to get at least an 80 and that would mean your work is publishable (no one I knew got an A) -‐English food is not that great. But London is filled with all sorts of ethnicities, so the ethnic food is fantastic. Indian food is a must in London. -‐Don’t talk loudly in public, especially on the tube. People immediately peg you as being a loud, obnoxious American and are very cold towards you. -‐Dress up for classes. Sweatpants and the “just-‐rolled-‐out-‐of-‐bed” look is inexcusable. London is a fashion capital and the students remind you of that fact everyday. -‐ARRIVE ANY AND EVERYWHERE ON TIME OR EARLY. It’s considered extremely rude to be tardy to any meeting or class in London and professors will call you out for it.