Preparing to Study Abroad
Why Did You Choose England for Study Abroad?
Ariana McSweeney Kenyon College IFSA-Butler Program: Mansfield College, University of Oxford
I’m obsessed with ith eeverything er t English—the literature, the culture, the cities and the countryside.
Alexandra Lonati Emerson College IFSA-Butler Program: Queen Mary, University of London
As a theatre kid, I have dreamt of London my whole life. The culturally diverse population, the juxtaposition of tradition and urban newness, the excitement of the West End!
Hannah Borge Drake University IFSA-Butler Program: University of Bristol
My parents actually went on their honeymoon in the English Southwest and Wales, so there are photos of their trip all over our house. England also has a very rich history that has interested me for a long time. I figured studying at Bristol would be a perfect fit!
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ENGLAND Kristina DeMichele University of Dayton S RI
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I have always loved England, and as an English major I wanted to visit the mother country of English literature. I saw that Oxford was offering a Jane Austen program, my favorite author of all time, and I just had to go!
IFSA-Butler Program: SSt. Peter’s College, University of Oxford
CONTENTS 2 Welcome from IFSA-Butler 3 Welcome from Our England Office 4 Overview of England 8 Institute for Study Abroad Services 14 Academics 22 Finances 22 Program Fees and Financial Aid 26 Managing Your Money Abroad 28 Student Expenses Abroad 31 Getting Ready to Leave 31 Official Travel Documents 33 Booking Your Flight to England 34 Insurance and Health Care 36 Packing 39 Technology and Communications 42 Living Abroad 42 Housing 46 Legal Matters 47 Health and Safety 51 Emergencies Abroad 51 Culture Shock 53 IFSA-Butler Policies 55 Information 55 Information Resources 56 English Glossary 57 English Food and Drink 58 About Us
Preparing to Study Abroad ENGLAND
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Welcome from IFSA-Butler Welcome to our programs in England! We’re thrilled that you’ve chosen to study abroad through IFSAButler, one of the oldest and largest nonprofit international education organizations in the United States. At IFSA-Butler, we take our slogan “More Culture. Less Shock.” very seriously. One of our top goals as an organization is to make sure that students and their parents are as prepared for the study abroad experience as possible, and this comprehensive planning guide is one way of achieving this goal. It should answer many of your questions about living and studying in England, from academic and cultural differences to the cost of living abroad to packing suggestions, and everything in between. The topics covered in this guide are some of the most important issues related to study abroad in England, and we’ve incorporated suggestions from past participants as well. Most of our dedicated staff, both in the U.S. and in England, have lived and studied in a variety of countries. They have personally experienced the joys of living in another culture, as well as the occasional frustration! Their enthusiasm for international study and understanding of cultural issues helps us give each IFSAButler student a successful and enriching academic experience abroad. We wish you an exciting and successful experience in England! Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns. Institute for Study Abroad U.S. Office 800-858-0229 A Note about Terms An understanding of the terms ‘British, ‘Great Britain’ and ‘United Kingdom’ will be helpful as you read this guide, but also in your study abroad experience in general. Great Britain is mainly a geographical term to describe the large island that consists of England, Scotland and Wales. The United Kingdom is a political term that refers collectively to England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Officially the country’s name is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. “British” or “Britain” pertain to anything in Great Britain or the United Kingdom. IFSA-Butler offers U.K. programs in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
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Welcome from Our England Office We are pleased that you have chosen to study in England through IFSA-Butler, and we look forward to welcoming you to our country. Even though the IFSAButler office is in London, our outlook is not London centered. Each of us has lived in various parts of the country, and we appreciate what it is like to move to a different environment. As a result, we have tremendous knowledge of the United Kingdom and are more than willing to share it. We’ve found that many students arrive thinking that because the United States and England share the same language (more or less), we share the same culture as well. Not so! Thus, our very first piece of advice to you is to keep an open mind; don’t expect everything to be the same as it is at home. We can assure you that it is not. After all, you are coming abroad for something different! To derive the maximum pleasure from your new experiences, you must be willing to throw yourself into exploring your new environment—even if it means being confused by different accents and words, trying strange new foods, trying modes of transport other than a car, looking right before crossing the road and getting lost from time to time—for losing yourself in a new culture is both exciting and enlightening. At the end of their stays, most students say that the best part of their whole experience abroad was learning different approaches to ordinary things and growing in selfknowledge and independence. One of the first surprises is that the United Kingdom seems to have a lower standard of living but a higher cost of living than the United States. Basic values in the U.K. differ from those in the U.S. Quality health care is heavily subsidized and requires almost no out-ofpocket costs. People have less disposable income and value thrift and “making do” with what they have. By and large, they put less emphasis on material possession; people do not view “having things” as a sign of social status. There is less social mobility in the United Kingdom, as it is not dependent on the acquisition of wealth. Another interesting difference is that English students are not in any sense “consumers.” The burden is on the student to make something of the excellent educational opportunity rather than on the instructor to make something of the student. English students are guided
Director of D A Academic Affairs A Andrew Williams Director of S Student Services Lynne Alvarez
rather than led to knowledge. Bright, self-motivated U.S. students (like yourself ) tend to thrive on this very different approach. For a single course, students often have a combination of large lectures and small tutorials or seminars to discuss the readings and lectures. The readings are rarely textbooks but may be from journals, chapters in various books and even whole books. The assignments are often more personalized and demand a lot more individual student input. Because education in the U.K. is state funded (including at Oxford and Cambridge), only the top 25 percent of students continue on to higher education. The U.K. system provides education for intellectual elite who may appear nonchalant, but whose nonchalance is a defense mechanism in a highly competitive system. You should work to your very best standard, and when you do, you should fit comfortably into your university niche. One thing we can guarantee about your study abroad experience is that if you really immerse yourself, you will have a fantastic opportunity to learn about a new culture. We’ll give you a great deal of information at the IFSA-Butler London orientation. You’ll have a chance to ask questions and to get out and learn for yourself. Once you settle into your English university, you should remember that we are only a phone call away. The IFSAButler London office isn’t here only for business calls; we encourage you to phone or pop in anytime for a chat and a cup of tea. We like to hear about what you’re learning and experiencing in our country, and we love to hear about your great adventures as you dig in and make the United Kingdom your second home. We hope you treat living abroad as an education in itself and our office as one of your primary research resources, for education isn’t found only in books. Institute for Study Abroad, Butler University London Office
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Overview of England Geography Although many people think of England as a land of green countryside, quaint cottages and cozy tea parties with the vicar, the nation today has a hip, urban edge that belies the watercolor image. England’s 50,000 square miles still encompass beautiful countryside and lovely little villages, but its cities are a main attraction and vibrate with art, culture and nightlife. Along with Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, England is one of the four countries that constitute the United Kingdom. While each country has its own culture and traditions, they are united by a common government and currency. The United Kingdom is also a member of the European Union. England, Scotland and Wales comprise an island that is separated from mainland Europe by the English Channel. Thanks to the influence of the surrounding water, England is mild and damp, with temperatures that rarely drop below freezing. Rolling hills, windswept moors, craggy chalk beaches and low-lying ferns are all part of England’s landscape.
Part of my decision to study abroad revolved s wanting to visit aaround round always a England. I also really loved the idea of living in a foreign country for a year, so the opportunity to do both while continuing my studies (the time when I was most likely to have the most freedom in my life) meant studying abroad, and it was the best decision I ever made. –Stephanie Biediger, Rice University St. Catherine’s College, University of Oxford 4
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People England’s current population reflects centuries of immigrants. Bronze Age people were replaced by Celts, whose legacy is even stronger in neighboring Scotland and Wales. Conquering Romans left their mark in aqueducts and roads that still exist. Later, the Angles, Jutes and Saxons divided the country into kingdoms; these kingdoms in turn began to think of themselves as “English.” Vikings made raids into the English territory, sometimes assimilating into the local culture. The Normans invaded in 1066, and their conquest of England was complete; throughout the Middle Ages, high Norman (French) culture and peasant Anglo-Saxon culture existed together. Through several centuries of empire building, the country’s population benefited from infusions of people from all parts of the world. Indian and Middle Eastern groups in particular flooded into England, especially London. Today, people of Anglo-Saxon, Scottish, Irish and Welsh ancestry, and also those from India, Pakistan and the West Indies, make up a substantial part of the population. We recommend that you read up on the history of England before going abroad. See the “Information Resources” section of this booklet for more information.
Politics The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II as the reigning head of state. The country is also a parliamentary democracy. Government Structure Like the United States, the United Kingdom has a three-part government structure. The legislative functions are enacted by Parliament, which has the supreme authority for the government as a whole. Parliament has two houses; Members of the House of Commons are elected, while those of the House of Lords are appointed or are hereditary members. The executive branch is composed of ministers, members of the Cabinet, government departments and other organizations that are under ministerial control. The judiciary (court system) determines common law and interprets the statutes.
Political Parties There are two primary political parties in England: the Conservatives and the Labour Party. The head of the government is Prime Minister David Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party. Scotland and Wales Some control of local affairs has been returned to the governments of Scotland and Wales, a process called devolution. Devolution continues to be a hot topic in the political landscape, along with issues about asylum seekers, farming, health, education, the European Union and the role of the U.K. in the current worldwide political and military environment. We recommend you read up on current issues in the U.K. before you go. Check out www.direct.gov.uk and our list of sources in â€œInformation Resourcesâ€? at the end of this book.
Monarchy The Queen is the head of the executive branch and plays a part in the legislature. She also heads the judiciary. In addition, the Queen is the commander in chief of the armed forces and the head of the Church of England.
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Religion Religion has played a substantial role in the character of England. England was a Catholic country for several centuries until King Henry VIII demanded a divorce the pope wasn’t willing to grant. Henry VIII then established the Church of England, booted the monks out of the country and became the head of the Anglican Church. Religion and politics became completely intertwined, culminating in a bloody civil war in the mid-17th century between Cromwell’s Protestant Parliament and Charles I’s Royalists. Today, the Church of England is the largest church in the country, and the Queen is the nominal head of the Church. However, a large number of other religions, including Catholicism, evangelical Protestantism, Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism, are present and growing throughout the country.
Modern British Culture Pub Culture A great deal of social life throughout England centers around pubs. You can get a meal, a pint of beer or just go to chat and relax. Many pubs also offer great music. Discos, which are dance clubs that are generally louder and more expensive than pubs, are popular with college students. Manners The English place great importance on manners. Always remember to say “please,” “thank you” and “pardon me.” Traditional courtesies such as giving up your seat on a bus for someone who is elderly or pregnant are still common and expected. Humor British humor is known for its subtlety and understated, dry nature. Irreverent jokes about everything and everyone abound in British culture, with few subjects deemed off-limits. Informality Some aspects of British society remain very formal, but relationships are surprisingly informal, even more so than in the U.S. Professors and tutors are often on a first-name basis with their students, though we recommend addressing your professors in England formally until invited by the instructor to do otherwise.
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Act like a local. They are the ones that have been h b liliving there for years, so they know the best spots to shop, eat, and relax. The best places I found while abroad in London were shown to me by friends and just exploring the city by walking. Don’t be afraid to branch out to the non-Americans in your classes and around where you live. –Shannon Carleton, University of St. Thomas University of Westminster
Communication Styles The English tend to be less direct and more understated. For example, a comment of “not bad” from a professor may actually be high praise for a job well done. Stiff Upper Lip Modern Britons may be more demonstrative in public than in previous generations, but they continue to pride themselves on their ability to “keep calm and carry on.” Keeping a stiff upper lip is deeply ingrained in the culture, and it governs reactions to everything from serious national emergencies to poor customer service in a shop. When it happens, British complaining is subtle and calm; loud and demanding complaints are frowned upon as brash and ill-mannered. Diversity Modern England is an extremely diverse place. Since the 1960s, waves of immigrants from Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East have made England one of the most multicultural countries in the world. In addition, IFSA-Butler works with some of the most prestigious universities in England, and their excellent reputations attract students from around the globe. You are likely to live near and attend classes with a substantial number of students from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, India and elsewhere in Europe, as well as with U.K. citizens from a wide variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
Try not to look like a typical “American” ttourist. i t They Th are quite easy to point out once you have been in the country for about a month or so. Also, pick up on subtle social norms. For example, no one talks on the tube! It’s really amazing to watch a couple on a platform be talking to each other and the next minute on the tube they are completely silent. –Yasemin Erkan, Saint Joseph’s University Birkbeck, University of London
Our philosophy is to help our students achieve cultural immersion, which means we help you enroll directly into university courses and integrate into university life. We do not segregate our students from their host university communities. Sports Many English are devoted fans of professional sports. Football (don’t call it soccer!), rugby and cricket are the most beloved spectator sports, but golf, tennis, horse racing and badminton are also popular.
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Institute for Study Abroad Services At IFSA-Butler, we pride ourselves on our outstanding student support and comprehensive services. We work hard to ensure that our students (and their parents!) are well prepared before departure, and that our students have an excellent experience once abroad. Below are some of the highlights of our predeparture, on-site and post-study abroad support.
Program Advisors Each IFSA-Butler England program has a U.S.-based advisor who is available to answer your academic, cultural and program questions about England or study abroad in general. Your program advisor processes your application, serves as the contact between you and your host university and helps prepare any necessary paperwork for your housing and courses abroad. Your program advisor is your main IFSA-Butler contact person in the U.S. and is here to help prepare you for your great adventure!
IFSA-Butler Finance Office While your program advisor is your main contact for most IFSA-Butler and study abroad questions, you or your parents may also work with the IFSA-Butler finance office on money matters. The staff in the finance office send program bills, process payments, make payments for all of your England university housing and tuition, and prepare contractual agreements with U.S. universities to ensure a smooth transfer of financial aid to our programs. You can reach our finance office during regular business hours at 800-858-0229.
England Office En IFSA IFSA-Butler maintains a fully staffed office in the heart of London. The office is dedicated to the assistance and L support of our students throughout England. Support sup services include: ser • A thorough orientation for students upon their arrival • Activities and events during orientation • Organizing excursions and special events for students • Verifying the full-time course enrollment of each student • Personal and academic assistance to students • Special lunches for programs outside of London to ensure the well-being of our students • 24/7 availability for help with emergencies.
Our London office is located in Paddington, London at the following address: WeWork Paddington 2 Eastbourne Terrace London W2 6LG England 0500-827-885 (toll-free within the U.K.—land line only) 800-8751-8751 (toll-free within the U.K.—land line only) The office is conveniently located and easy to reach. Our staff are available to assist students throughout their time in England. 8
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Predeparture Preparation Materials IFSA-Butler prepares you for your study abroad experience by sending a series of publications, updates and emails. These materials include: •
Advising emails from your IFSA-Butler program advisor. These emails cover some general England preparations such as visa application instructions and health insurance information, but they mostly center on details specific to your program and host city. Money Matters, a leaflet focused on program fees, financial aid, scholarships and other topics related to finances. This Preparing to Study Abroad guide. We send a print copy of this guide to parents and a link to an electronic copy to students. We are always happy to provide a print copy to students upon request.
We send all of the above materials to parents of our students. We also send bills to parents. If you don’t want your parents to receive these materials, you must notify us in writing and also provide an alternate billing address.
Travel Arrangements IFSA-Butler partners with STA Travel to offer travel booking assistance for our students. There are several advantages to booking your flight reservations through STA: • Work with an experienced travel agent • Lock in the price of your international ticket with a deposit and pay the rest later • Reduce or eliminate change fees with the option of a Multiflex Pass for flexible travel dates • Compare airfare prices between airlines so you book a ticket that works for your budget and travel time • International Student Identity Card (ISIC) is included Any program student who arrives on their program date within the published arrival window will be provided with ground transportation from the airport to IFSA-Butler orientation. If you arrive outside of the published timeframe, you are responsible for your own transportation from the airport to the orientation location. The address and directions to the orientation location are included in the Travel Newsletter, which is email to students prior to their U.S. departure. M O R E C U LT U R E . L E S S S H O C K .
England Orientation The IFSA-Butler orientation, held in London, will prepare you for the academic and cultural changes you can expect in England. It’s also a great opportunity for you to learn more about our on-site services abroad. You must plan your travel so that you arrive in time for the first day of orientation at the time designated in your predeparture update. During orientation, our England staff will address the following topics, all geared toward helping you better understand your new environment and easing your adjustment into your new culture: • • • • • • • • • •
Differences between U.S. and England academics An overview of England’s culture Safety abroad Course registration and other academic practices Individual university sessions Housing Health care Immigration documents and requirements Study abroad survival skills Distribution of wallet-sized emergency cards, which include emergency numbers for police, fire and ambulance, as well as our England office after-hours emergency number
To help you adjust to local time and overcome jet lag, we organize the orientation schedule around relaxing activities that may include a bus tour, theater performance, some dinners and lunches, and ample free time to explore London. Housing and Meals During Orientation During orientation, we house students in a hotel or in IFSA-Butler housing in central London. IFSA-Butler provides some meals during the orientation, but don’t forget to budget funds for the meals that aren’t included, as well as your free time entertainment. See your budget planner or the “Cost of Living” section of this book. Summer Orientation Our summer program orientation is abbreviated due to the shorter academic schedules of summer programs, but it includes all of the key cultural, academic and safety issues listed above. A lunch, dinner, evening excursion and other activities are also included. Important: For All Students All of our orientation meetings and activities are mandatory. IFSA-Butler reserves the right to withdraw you from the program, with no refund, if you miss all or part of the orientation.
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Post-orientation Activities—Semester and Year Programs IFSA-Butler offers numerous excursions and events as part of our semester and year programs in England. All of these activities are included in our program fee unless otherwise noted. Our England students can take part in the following: • Adventure Weekend • Two or three single-day excursions per semester • Thanksgiving celebration (fall semester) • Refresher Tea (London students) • On-site lunches (outside of London students) • Family Visit (optional, not included in the program fee) Adventure Weekend The Adventure Weekend is a weekend event offered in the fall and spring semester to all students on the program and is included in the program fee. We will take you to Snowdonia National Park (spring semester) or Lake District (fall semester) for hiking, spelunking (caving), hill walking, rock climbing, canoeing, dragon boat racing and other supervised outdoor activities with trained guides. This weekend fills up early, so respond to the invitation from our London office in writing. No refund is available if you choose not to participate. Please pack hiking boots, rugged gear and some warm clothing for the Adventure Weekend.
One of the most fulfilling experiences IFSA-Butler helped me to have was IFSA B tler he a homestay with an English family. I think it’s important to take advantage of opportunities like that, because it’s the best way to see your host country’s culture firsthand! –Ariana McSweeney, Kenyon College Mansfield College, University of Oxford
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Day Excursions Our London office organizes two or three one-day excursions each semester. These trips depart from London with destinations such as Bath, Stonehenge, Oxford, Brighton and Canterbury. Entrance fees are included in our program fee. Refresher Tea London students are invited to our office each semester for a traditional English afternoon tea. On-Site Lunches Throughout the semester, London staff visit students studying outside of London for lunch. These meals are a great way for our students outside of London to connect with our England staff and to share their experiences, ask questions or discuss problems. Thanksgiving To make you feel at home, we organize a Thanksgiving celebration for fall students living in London and will refund the cost of a turkey and vegetables for students studying outside of London who wish to cook their own Thanksgiving meal. Although some of the traditional U.S. Thanksgiving foods are not available in England, we make creative substitutions where possible. Many universities in England also have special meals for this time of year for U.S. students.
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My favorite event definitely had to be the weekend in the Lake District. Personally, I am not much of an outdoorsy but everything about the place was breathtakout tdoorsy person pe ing and I ended up having a fantastic time during the activities. I also got to meet other study abroad students I would have never been able to meet if it wasn’t for the weekend. –Yasemin Erkan, Saint Joseph’s University Birkbeck, University of London
Family Visit As part of your introduction to living in England, IFSA-Butler recommends participating in a family visit. This brief stay in the home of a family in England is organized through Experiment in International Living (EIL). Information will be sent to any interested student before departure. This is an optional part the IFSA-Butler program and the cost is not included in the program fee. However, students who choose to participate will be reimbursed US$50 towards the cost of travel to and from the family visit. The family visit is available for all semester and year programs in England.
Post-orientation Activities—Summer Programs IFSA-Butler offers a smaller number of excursions and activities for summer students. Events vary by location but usually include a lunch and at least one visit to a historic or cultural site in the region of the summer program. In addition, most host universities offer cultural events and entertainment as part of their summer programs. We encourage our summer students to take advantage of these activities as much as possible.
Emergency Assistance Abroad One of IFSA-Butler’s most important services is our emergency assistance to students. Our staff in England are trained in crisis management and have extensive experience handling student incidents and emergencies. Our staff in England share emergency phone coverage and are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to help with any emergency. See “Emergencies Abroad” on page 51 for more information.
Transcripts You will receive a Butler University transcript recording the grades and credits from your host university. For information about our registration and transcript policies, see these topics under “Academics” in the next section of this booklet.
Program Duration Please note that IFSA-Butler program services abroad are in effect between the program start date and program end date on the program calendar.
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Academic Differences Specialization in England The primary difference between the U.S. and English educational systems is the level of specialization. In the United States, you are probably accustomed to a liberal arts education in which you select courses in a wide variety of subjects from introductory to advanced levels. Students in England, however, begin to specialize during secondary school (equivalent to a U.S. high school). Until the age of 16, students in the United Kingdom study eight subjects. Those planning to apply to university then narrow their focus to three or four subjects for the final two years of secondary school and must qualify for university study by taking exams in those subjects. Students who do not plan to go on to university generally leave school to take jobs. Of all secondary school students, only a small number are accepted to, and ultimately attend, a university (about 25 percent). They enter university already possessing an extensive background in the subject(s) they plan to study. In this specialized system students enter medical school and law school straight from secondary school. Degrees in England Degrees in England are based on a concentrated study of a discipline within a faculty or college. Therefore, students apply directly to a specific course within a faculty rather than general undergraduate admission to a university. Throughout their degree, English students take classes within their chosen department along with a restricted number of electives.
As a U.S. student entering the English system, you willll need to adjust to an academic environment that offers fewer class instruction hours per week and emphasizes individual study outside the classroom.
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The U.K. University System The university system in the United Kingdom is state supported. Student enrollment is limited because the government heavily subsidizes tuition for all U.K. students, which makes entry standards extremely high. Student services are paid for by students but are also subsidized by the government. These services include meals, housing, student unions, libraries, etc. Universities in the U.K. charge overseas students much higher fees. The overseas fee is similar to tuition out-of-state students pay at a U.S. college. Academic Progress and Student Independence Instructors in England do not monitor each studentâ€™s individual academic progress. Itâ€™s a studentâ€™s responsibility to keep up with the class work and to select subjects for the essays. The academic term or year structure is not based on continual assessment, but rather on two essay assignments and/or one final exam at the end of the term or semester. Course Structure Generally, the structure of a course combines both seminars or tutorials and lectures. You are expected to participate in discussions during the seminars and tutorials, and are usually assessed by your level of class participation in addition to your regular assignments. U.S. students usually do well in these sessions because they are more accustomed to speaking out in class.
In your free time you are expected to go to the library to do preparatory work for class such as research and reading related to the course topic. This research is done so you can bring back your own thoughts to contribute to class discussion. You will find that the English method of education is very open-ended. Professors will expect that your final papers and exams show all of the research and reading you have been doing outside of class. Reading Lists Most professors in England will distribute “recommended reading” lists for courses. Some of these lists may contain hundreds of books and articles! You don’t have to read all of them, but you are expected to choose a broad selection from the list in the course of your research and studying for the course. Don’t wait until the end of the semester to keep up with your reading! If you feel that you lack assignments or have nothing to do, you may have misunderstood the system. Contact your lecturers or the IFSA-Butler London office for advice on organizing the workload early in the semester or term. Grades and Credits Unlike the U.S., most university courses in England do not have regular assignments and tests. Instead, all or most of your grade is likely to come from a comprehensive essay and just one or two exams written in essay format (see Exams below). This system will make your ability to study independently very important. Grades are normally written in letters (A–F), but may take other forms. The English system does not have grade point averages. The average grade in the United Kingdom is a C, which is considered quite respectable. If you expect to achieve A and B work, you’ll have to work hard. It is your responsibility to check with your home college to find out the policy on transfer credit. Some U.S. colleges and universities will not transfer credit for courses with a grade of less than a C. Exams Most courses in England have just one or two exams, and students are expected to use these exams to demonstrate their overall knowledge in the course subject, particularly the research and independent reading that they conducted on their own throughout the semester.
Multiple-choice exams are rare in England. Even in the sciences, exams are often given in essay form. Good writing skills are essential. If you need some refinement of these skills, you can seek help from individual tutors or from your academic advisors. Oncampus study skills centers can also help. Study Habits in England Part of the cultural difference between the United States and England is apparent in the way in which students study. During university breaks or holidays, students in England take all their work home and complete drafts of essays that might not be due until the end of the semester. College students in England will often brag about how little they have to study despite their good grades, but in reality, they are probably spending a great deal of time on preparation work and reading. Library hours are less convenient than in the U.S., and university students do the majority of their studying during the day in the library. Students from the United States need to structure their time according to the English system. In England, students typically socialize at night, distracting U.S. students who are accustomed to studying then. Failure to adjust to English study methods can lead to poor academic results.
G Get started early on tthe papers. Over there emphasis is given to the a llot ot of emph papers and there is a minimum requirement for around five sources. Use your resources and check out a lot of different books and use them while writing instead of just trying to find all online sources. Also, ask your professors if it all right if you use American English while writing. – Shannon Carleton, University of St. Thomas University of Westminster M O R E C U LT U R E . L E S S S H O C K .
Classes in England—Summer Programs Most summer programs in England are geared toward U.S. and other international students and have a structure that is more similar to U.S. colleges and universities. Nevertheless, it is important to understand the general academic structure of universities in the U.K., as the professors and instructors will have British-style expectations of students.
Academic Ethics and Culture Just as systems of higher education vary greatly by country, so do concepts of academic ethics. As a visiting student, it is important for you to be proactive by searching your host university’s website and/or student handbook for its policies regarding academic ethics and classroom behavior. IFSA-Butler staff and your host institution’s international office are also great resources for guidance on this topic. Remember to ask what challenges previous U.S. students have faced at your host university. If you are accused of academic dishonesty, inquire immediately about the appeals process available at both your host and home institutions, paying special attention to deadlines.
Status You are classified as a “full fee-paying, nondegree or visiting student” at your host university and are entitled to enroll in any undergraduate course for which you are qualified and in which space is available. You are subject to the standard regulations of the university and have the same rights, privileges and obligations as regular degree students. You must abide by all the rules and regulations of your host institution.
Course Registration You will most likely register for your course choices after arrival at your host university. Please have additional approved course choices in case your first selections are not available. During the enrollment period it is your responsibility to ensure that: • You are enrolled in a full course load as deter mined by IFSA-Butler. • You meet any prerequisites required for any courses in which you enroll. • You are aware of any issues that may affect grade or credit transfer to your home university. Notifying IFSA-Butler of Your Enrollment • Once you finalize registration at your host university, complete the online IFSA-Butler class registration form (more information is given at orientation) indicating your individual course schedule. • A staff member in England will verify your full-time enrollment. We use this form to verify your host university grade report before completing your Butler University transcript. Submitting your course registration form is mandatory. • If you make any changes after submitting your form, you must immediately inform the IFSA-Butler England office in writing. Any change in your registration could affect your credit. • U.S. law requires students who are receiving federal or state financial aid funds to earn a certain amount of credit: at least 12 U.S. semester credit hours for a term or semester or 24 U.S. semester credit hours for the year. Failure to comply with these guidelines can affect your future financial aid awards and eligibility. Falling below the course load minimum may also revoke your student status in England and lead to deportation.
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Registering for Required Courses If you are required to take certain courses abroad in order to graduate on time, follow this procedure: • Put the request in writing to our U.S. office before departure. Your program advisor will request the course on your behalf. • Depending on your host university, you may or may not receive confirmation that the course is available. • Before leaving the United States, check the IFSA-Butler website to verify current course offerings at your host university. • When you get to registration at your host university, request the course again and explain why you need it. • Remember that there are course cancellations in England at the last minute, just as in the United States, so be prepared to make a substitution if necessary.
IFSA-Butler Full Course Load As an IFSA-Butler participant, you are required to undertake a full course load at your host university and to follow its regulations for degree-seeking students, including taking exams where applicable. By law, you must maintain the recommended course load to ensure your continual registration as a fulltime student. Taking less than a full course load may violate the terms of your visiting student status in England and jeopardize your U.S. financial aid. The Student Handbook that you receive during your orientation abroad outlines the number of U.S. credit hours you must take at your host institution to equal a full course load as determined by IFSA-Butler. A full IFSA-Butler course load is the equivalent of: • 12 U.S. semester credit hours per term. • 15 to 16 U.S. semester credit hours per semester. • 18 to 20 U.S. semester credit hours for the spring two terms. • 30 to 32 U.S. semester credit hours for the year. • Oxford and Cambridge only: 12 credits per term. • Summer full-load standards vary according to program length and host university requirements. See our website for individual summer program credits.
Tips for academic success in England • You’ll have fewer contact hours with your professors than at your home institution and will be expected to work more independently. • Many of your classes will be held in large lecture halls seating more than 100 students. These lectures will be complemented by seminars/ tutorials, small discussion groups held at another time during the week. You are required to attend both and to actively participate. • Students at Oxford have a different kind of tutorial—the one-on-one practice for which the university is famous. Cambridge has a similar system, known as a supervision. • Most lecturers will distribute optional reading lists from which students are expected to select supplementary reading. You are unlikely to pass without reading extensively from these lists. • Students and lecturers in England put less emphasis on presentation and more on the content of written and oral work. Always back up statements with documented sources. Create a logical argument and stick to it. • Assessment occurs less frequently in English universities, so it’s important to stay on top of the workload. • English universities are less flexible with regulations and deadlines. You should know the rules, and don’t assume you can break them without penalty. • Grade inflation occurs less frequently in the United Kingdom than in the United States. Consult the University Profile you will receive during orientation for U.S. grade conversions. • Adapt to the work schedule of local students. Go to the library and study during the day. You can socialize at night. • Introduce yourself to your instructors, let them know you are a U.S. study abroad student and find out their expectations for the class.
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When you register for courses abroad, you will need to tally the credits, points or units (not number of courses) to achieve the required full course load as determined by IFSA-Butler. Our England office can help you verify that your enrollment constitutes a full course load. Course Overload IFSA-Butler does not recommend registering for more than the full course load. If you sign up for more than the equivalent of 18 U.S. semester credit hours, please obtain written approval from your home university and forward this approval to IFSA-Butler. Taking more than the equivalent of 16 U.S. semester credit hours in a semester can result in a tuition surcharge by your England university. When this occurs, we send a bill to your designated billing address. Your home institution may also charge a fee to process additional credit hours.
reported that their workload was more than double that of arts students for the same amount of credit. Butler University cannot increase the credit of any course taken abroad without approval from the host university.
Home Institution Regulations
Some U.S. institutions may impose on their study abroad students the same academic regulations applicable on their home campus. In some cases these regulations may conflict with IFSA-Butler policy. For example, if your home institution requires that all students abroad enroll in four classes, you may be taking too many or too few credits according to IFSA-Butler standards. Consult your IFSA-Butler program advisor if this applies to you.
During orientation, we ask you to sign a contract in which you acknowledge your enrollment responsibilities to your host university and to IFSA-Butler.
Types of Courses Not Allowed IFSA-Butler does not allow students to take the following types of courses in England: • • • •
Graduate courses Courses for audit Online courses Courses for pass/fail instead of a grade (unless that is the only way the course is assessed)
Only courses taken for a grade and credit will count toward your full-load requirement.
Course Credits Be aware that a course’s time commitment does not always correspond to the course’s credit allocation. Science and engineering students in particular should be prepared to spend considerably more time in class and labs than students who take only liberal arts courses. Our science alumni have 18
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Course Withdraw Dates Withdrawing from courses in England can be complicated and subject to many rules. Please note the following: • Be sure to confirm the final withdraw date with your host university. • If you wish to withdraw from a class, you must do so formally with the university by the published date, and then notify the IFSA-Butler England office in writing that you have withdrawn. • If you drop a course after the published withdraw deadline, that course will register as an F on your transcript. • Obtain written confirmation from the host university that you have withdrawn from the course. Otherwise the course may appear as a fail on your Butler University transcript. • Your host university may charge a late-drop fee. This fee can be quite high. It is your responsibility to learn the deadline and adhere to it. • Be sure that by dropping a course you do not fall below the IFSA-Butler full course load.
Class Attendance Students studying on an IFSA-Butler program are required to attend all regularly scheduled classes. Failure to attend classes can result in loss of credit and jeopardize your visiting student status.
Completion of Coursework You must complete all your academic obligations before the end of the program. If you turn an essay in late, it may get lost and you will lose credit. If you turn in an assignment to anyone other than your professor, be sure to get written confirmation.
Incomplete Grades If you have an incomplete, you must complete the class requirements by May 31 (for fall) or December 31 (for spring and year students) or by the host university deadline, whichever comes first. Incompletes that are not rectified will result in a fail or an X, and we will issue you a new Butler University transcript.
Enrolling for One Semester of a Full-Year Course IFSA-Butler discourages students from enrolling in one semester of a yearlong course. If you wish to do so anyway, ask permission from the lecturer and the international office of your host university before enrollment. If you enroll for the first half of a course, you must ask the lecturer to assess you at the conclusion of the semester and to pass that mark on to the study abroad or international office of your host university. If you don’t make this request, the lecturer could wait until the end of the year to assess your performance, leading to a six- or seven-month delay in your transcript. If you take only the second semester of a course, note that your final exam may cover content from both semesters.
It’s really important to go to every lecture. Do not skip lectures, even if you know that the professor won’t notice or care if you’re missing. You get a lot of really great information in lecture, so it’s beneficial to go. Also, email professors if you’re having trouble with something. For example, I had to do a lab report for my Drug Discovery and Development class, but there were some calculations that didn’t make sense to me, so I emailed the professor, and he met with me for about 30 minutes one morning, and he cleared things up really well. –Zoe Rammelkamp, Johns Hopkins University King’s College London Premedical Program
Special Exam Arrangements You may not reschedule an exam, request alternate assessments or arrange to have your exams proctored in the United States. If you do, IFSA-Butler will not conduct an academic query or follow-up on the class in which you arranged an alternate exam or assessment. You will be able to review an England program calendar before leaving the United States. Please be sure that you do not have scheduling conflicts with the examination periods before enrolling. M O R E C U LT U R E . L E S S S H O C K .
Transcripts Conversion of Host University Grades and Credits We translate your grades and credits according to the scales printed in the Student Handbook that is distributed during orientation. Translations do not augment or reduce the grades; they are equivalent to the host university grades and credits. Once your course results are translated and processed, the Butler University registrar will send an official transcript to your home college or university and one to your home address. Butler University will not issue a transcript if you have an outstanding IFSA-Butler account balance or any fees, fines or damage costs owed to the host university. The transcript issued by your host institution is considered a legal document, and neither IFSA-Butler nor Butler University can alter any part of it. We can make a change in class title, grade or credit only if we receive a revised official transcript from the host university. Online Grades Some universities may make your grades available to you online. Grades provided online are not official, and the posting of grades online does not guarantee that your transcript has been prepared. Transcript Schedule Due to differences between the England and U.S. academic systems, your transcript will probably not be available for as long as five months after the end of your study abroad program. Most U.S. universities are used to this delay and will accept a phone call or letter from our office as explanation. Study Abroad Term Fall Spring Year Summer
Transcript Sent February–April July–September July–late September September–October
IFSA-Butler Letters of Explanation You may find yourself in jeopardy of losing academic scholarships and/or financial aid because your grades are not released in a timely manner by your host institution. To help you avoid penalties resulting from delayed transcripts, we are happy to provide letters of explanation. Please contact the IFSA-Butler office if you need assistance.
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Avoiding Transcript Delays To help expedite your transcript you can do the following things: • Make sure you return an accurate course registration form to our England office. • Speak to your host university professors about any special deadlines you have for receiving grades. • Turn your work in on time. The professor can’t issue your grade without all your work. • Make sure all IFSA-Butler fees are paid, library books are returned and fines paid, no damages exist in your housing and no other debt exists in your name when you return to the United States. Rush Transcripts If you need a rush transcript, notify the IFSA-Butler England office in writing before returning to the United States using the rush transcript form located on our England office website. We make every effort to expedite the transcript but cannot guarantee that your host university will rush grades to us. Additional Transcripts IFSA-Butler alumni may order additional transcripts after receiving their initial two transcripts from Butler University. You can make a request via the National Student Clearinghouse. You will need your Butler University student identification number in order to request your transcript. This number can be found on your Butler University transcript and in the IFSA-Butler student portal (login and password required). If you are unable to access your Butler University ID via these options, please phone IFSA-Butler’s Academic Affairs department and you will be asked a series of security questions in order to share your identification number.
If you have any other questions about the transcript request process, please contact an academic affairs coordinator at 800-858-0229. Additional transcript fees and processing times: • Each additional transcript costs $9. • The National Student Clearinghouse processing fee is $2.25 per recipient. • All transcript requests are processed within five working days of receipt.
Academic Record Query If you disagree with a grade, course title or credits on your Butler University transcript, you can initiate an academic record query through IFSA-Butler. More details about the query process, query criteria and deadlines will be included in the Student Handbook and are also available on our website. Note that we will not address a query for any class in which you have taken an alternate assessment, taken an early exam or arranged to submit an essay outside the required due dates.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) FERPA affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. Students who have reached the age of 18 or have entered into a postsecondary learning institution have the right to: • Inspect and review their education records within 45 days of the day the institution receives a request for access; • Have some control over the disclosure of information from their education records; • Seek to amend education records that the student believes is inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA; • File a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the institution to comply with requirements of FERPA. IFSA-Butler adheres to these fundamental rights of students who participate on IFSA-Butler programs.
Withdrawing from the Program IFSA-Butler may allow a student to leave the program early only in cases of severe medical or personal problems, and only for circumstances approved by your host university. Otherwise, IFSA-Butler does not report grades as incomplete. An incomplete or “absent” grade will be reported on your Butler University transcript as a fail. Results from all courses will be reported to your home institution. M O R E C U LT U R E . L E S S S H O C K .
Payments and Financial Aid IFSA-Butler Finance Office Our finance office processes all payments and invoices and is available to answer questions about payments, scholarships, consortium agreements and more. You can reach our finance office from 8 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET daily by calling 800-858-0229.
Program Fees We publish our fees for each upcoming semester, summer or year three to six months before departure, and we set our program fees in U.S. dollars to protect our students and their parents from currency fluctuations. Our fees are set and do not change because of changes in the exchange rates. In order to balance out the exchange rate fluctuations and to stabilize our fees we use forward contracts, which can result in an average exchange rate that may vary significantly from the daily rates quoted by the banks.
What’s included in our program fee
Expenses not included in the program fee
Your IFSA-Butler program fee includes the following:
Expenses not covered by the IFSA-Butler program fee include:
• Tuition • Housing • Meals for some summer programs and St. Edmund Hall (see our website for details) • Predeparture preparations • Visa assistance • Full-time resident staff in London • Orientation abroad (including accommodation and at least one substantial meal per day) • Transportation from London to your host city • Activities and events • Excursions and day trips (semester/year programs) • Basic student union/university activity fees • Personal and academic support services • 24/7 emergency assistance abroad • Medical insurance and assistance plan • Two academic transcripts issued by Butler University
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• • • • • • • • • • • • •
Meals (unless noted on our website) Commuting expenses Vacation expenses International airfare U.S. domestic travel Passport or visa Return transportation to the airport at the end of the program Personal property and travel insurance Tuition differentials Course overload surcharges Personal items, textbooks and supplies University linen deposits Costs related to independent housing
Tuition and Housing Invoices from IFSA-Butler IFSA-Butler sends invoices to each student’s designated billing address four to six weeks before the payment deadline. Students who apply and/or are accepted late may receive their invoices later. Invoices generally cover tuition and housing, but your invoice may vary if we have a direct billing arrangement with your home college or university (see Direct Billing Arrangements below). Payment deadlines are listed on page 25. Direct Billing Arrangements IFSA-Butler has Direct Billing arrangements with many U.S. colleges and universities. Direct Billing institutions agree to pay all or part of the IFSA-Butler invoice on behalf of their students, and students in turn pay the Direct Billing institution instead of IFSAButler. If the home college or university pays for tuition or housing only, IFSA-Butler will send the unpaid portion of the invoice to the student’s parents. Our Money Matters booklet includes more details about Direct Billing arrangements.
Other Invoices from IFSA-Butler IFSA-Butler sometimes sends additional invoices based on a student’s housing, enrollment or credit load. We mail these additional invoices to designated billing addresses toward the end of the semester. Meal Plans Many residence halls abroad have mandatory meal plans. If you are assigned a room in a hall of residence with a meal plan, we will send a bill to your designated billing address near the end of your time abroad. No refund is available for unused portions of meal plans. The fees on our website (www.ifsa-butler.org) list meal plan costs where relevant.
Supplemental Housing Fees The housing portion of our program fee is based on the cost of basic accommodation, usually a shared room in a dormitory, apartment or student house. Some housing assignments abroad incur supplemental charges that we pass on to our students. These charges are usually for mandatory meal plans but may also include fees for “full service” facilities, activity fees, gown rental or activities associated with life in the housing. Most supplemental housing bills will be sent to your billing address near the end of your time abroad. However, small out-of-pocket costs such as linen and key deposits may be payable directly to your host university or housing office. Housing supplementals vary from university to university; the fees on our website (www.ifsa-butler. org) list each university’s housing supplementals. Tuition Supplemental Fees All IFSA-Butler fees are based on an arts and humanities fee structure. Some universities in England set higher tuition for study in certain subjects (e.g., science, engineering, psychology, music, computer science and archaeology). Tuition supplementals vary from university to university; the fees on our website (www.ifsa-butler.org) outline which fees, if any, your host university will have and for which subjects. These fees reflect the costs of equipment the university has to provide for certain majors, rather than the costs of studying a course in that department.
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If you are admitted to a department that imposes a higher tuition fee, the university may charge you a tuition supplemental even if you do not take any courses in that department.
These withdraw policies are clearly outlined on our website, on housing forms (in cases where penalties are tied to housing fees) and are also detailed in predeparture emails from our program advisors.
We send supplemental tuition bills after enrollment abroad is confirmed. Be sure to investigate and discuss your program’s supplemental fees with your parents and home university’s study abroad office.
Monthly Payment Plan
Overload Fee Some host universities charge a fee for overloads (taking more than 16 U.S. semester credit hours). Our England staff discuss overloads during orientation to help students fully understand their course load requirements and avoid unwanted bills. Withdraw Fees Some universities in England have instituted very strict withdraw policies, particularly for summer programs. The policies vary between universities but generally require students to pay a large penalty for withdrawing from the program after a specified date. Although IFSA-Butler students pay their fees to us instead of to the universities abroad, IFSA-Butler is contractually responsible for any fees incurred on behalf of our students. Therefore, we are obligated to follow these universities’ refund policies and to pass penalties along to our students.
Some S things you may think are expensive to t participate in are actually relatively cheap—I attended the Royal Opera House ballet twice for a total of approximately £14 and went on a River Thames boat cruise for £12! It was such a cool, different way to see the city. Groupon is amazing for good eats and cool things to do as well. – Megan Beliveau, Assumption College Queen Mary, University of London
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Sallie Mae TuitionPay IFSA-Butler allows semester and year students to make monthly payments on the program fee through a plan offered by Sallie Mae TuitionPay. The TuitionPay plan can be used to pay any portion of the IFSA-Butler program fee except for the $500 program deposit. We automatically send a TuitionPay application to all parents, unless you have requested in writing that we not contact your parents. If you want to look over this information yourself, please call and request a copy from our finance office. The TuitionPay program is not available for summer programs. Using TuitionPay for Supplemental Costs You may also use TuitionPay to cover the cost of meal plans, supplemental housing fees and tuition supplementals. However, because these additional invoices are not sent until after your arrival and enrollment abroad, you will need to estimate the amount of the supplemental costs for your program and build that amount into your TuitionPay monthly payment. Sallie Mae will send you a refund if you overestimate the cost of supplementals. More Information About TuitionPay The IFSA-Butler finance office is happy to answer questions about TuitionPay. Our finance staff can be reached at 800-858-0229.
Payment IInstructions P i Payment Due Dates and Financial Deadlines Program deposit Fall and year scholarship application Fall and year TuitionPay application and first payment Fall program fee Year program fee approx. 60 percent due balance due Spring scholarship application Spring TuitionPay application and first payment Spring program fee Summer scholarship application Summer program fee
Due 10 days after acceptance April 1 June 1 July 1 July 1 November 15 October 1 November 1 November 15 April 1 May 15
Please note that IFSA-Butler charges a $45 fee for late payments. How to Make Payments IFSA-Butler accepts payment by check or credit card. When making a payment, please follow these guidelines: • Make checks payable to the Institute for Study Abroad. Checks should indicate on the memo section the student’s full name and the name of the program abroad (e.g., University of York). • Send checks to: Institute for Study Abroad 6201 Corporate Drive, Suite 200 Indianapolis, IN 46278 • You may pay by credit card (Visa or MasterCard) or by e-check via the “My Account” tab in your Student Portal. Processing fees for credit card payments are applicable. Delinquent Payments If we do not receive financial aid documentation or your full payment by the payment deadline listed above, you will be withdrawn from our program. You will not be refunded your $500 program deposit or the cost of your airline ticket. Late Applicants If you apply after the application deadline, your $500 program deposit is required at the time you apply and is refundable only if you cannot be offered a place in an program. The program fee is due upon acceptance if you are accepted into a program after the program fee deadline.
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Financial Aid Payments IFSA-Butler accepts transfers of financial aid for payment of our program fees. Make an appointment with your home campus financial aid officer as early as possible and request a contractual/consortium agreement. A contractual/consortium agreement is your only guarantee that your financial aid will be transferred to your study abroad program. For more information, please consult Money Matters. If you plan to apply financial aid toward the payment of the IFSA-Butler program fee, send us a copy of your contractual/consortium agreement (from your financial aid officer) and a copy of your financial aid award letter and/or loan guarantees. These documents should indicate the amount of financial aid award and its disbursal date. Butler University does not process financial aid for IFSA-Butler students unless they are pursuing an undergraduate degree from Butler University. Please do not send any correspondence to Butler University’s Office of Financial Aid.
Scholarships IFSA-Butler Scholarships IFSA-Butler believes that study abroad should be within the reach of every student, so we offer a wide range of scholarships for use on our programs. Some of these scholarships are for study in England or for specific programs in England, while others may be used for study in any of our programs abroad. Please visit our website for scholarship details and nd application deadlines. Other Scholarships Many companies and organizations offer scholarships for international study. A list of these opportunities can be found on our website.
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Managing Your Money Abroad We suggest relying on a combination of cash, credit cards and a U.S. debit card while you are abroad. We’ll give you advice on money management during orientation; in the meantime, here are a few guidelines. The best way to save money while studying abroad is to copy the financial lifestyle of local students.
Currency and Exchange Rates The currency in the United Kingdom is the pound sterling (£). While money printed in England looks slightly different than that printed in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, the currencies have equal value and can be spent throughout the U.K. The latest exchange rate is available at any bank, in most major newspapers and on the web at www.oanda.com.
Personal Checks Personal checks written in U.S. dollars can take months to clear. You should not bring, and your parents should not send, checks written in U.S. dollars.
Banking Setting up a bank account in England is a complicated and lengthy progress, so we don’t recommend trying to open a bank account unless you are studying abroad for the full year. Instead, we recommend that you rely on a combination of cash, credit cards and a U.S. bank debit card. Further details on opening a bank account in England for year students will be given during orientation.
U.S. Bank Account ATM/Debit Cards You will probably be able to use your U.S. debit card at ATMs throughout England. Cirrus and Plus systems are the most common networks, so be sure that your debit card lists one of these networks. Note that most ATMs abroad accept only 4-digit PINs. Contact your U.S. bank to be sure you can use your card in England and throughout Europe if you plan to travel. Some U.S. banks block usage of debit cards in certain countries because of concerns about fraud. The main advantage of keeping a U.S. bank account is that it allows your parents to deposit money into your account at home, and you’ll be able to access this money this way easily and immediately. The main disadvantage to using a U.S. debit card is the fees. Your U.S. bank, as well as the England bank that owns the ATM you use, may charge a fee for each transaction. These fees can add up quickly.
Remember, just because there is no ‘homework’ the ‘h k’ throughout t semester doesn’t mean there is nothing to do. A great idea is to make a friend in at least one class that is from England and familiar with the structure. This will make it easier to gauge yourself and better plan for success. – Isaiah Prater, University of Kentucky University of Westminster
Don’t rely entirely on a U.S. debit card. If your card is lost or stolen, you won’t have access to emergency funds. Keep an emergency reserve of money just in case. Be sure to record your bank’s customer service telephone number and your account number in case you need to report a lost or stolen card.
Credit Cards Visa and MasterCard are the most widely accepted, both in England and throughout the rest of Europe. Any credit card you use abroad must have your name on it as given on your passport. If you plan to use a parent’s credit card, your parent should request an extra card in your name. We recommend calling your credit card company before departure to explain that you’ll be studying abroad in England. This will decrease the likelihood of your international purchases being flagged as fraudulent.
Wire Transfers If you need money in a hurry, you can have it sent to you via American Express or Western Union. You don’t need an American Express card to wire money. Even though wiring money involves a large fee, it is relatively safe, and usually you can receive the money within one day. You will need your passport to collect the money. Some banks may also accept wire transfers.
Keep a list of your credit card numbers and the card’s customer service numbers in case your cards are lost or stolen.
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Student Expenses Abroad We’ve designed this section to give you and your parents an idea of the kinds of expenses you may have while in England. Actual cost estimates can be found in the budget planner included in your welcome packet. In addition, each program page on our website includes Personal Cost Estimates for that program and city. No matter where you study in England, the cost of living is higher than most places in the United States. Theaters, clubs, cinemas, shops, restaurants, grocery stores and pubs can rapidly drain your bank account. See our money saving tips on the next page.
Orientation Orientation is covered by your program fee and includes housing, breakfast and one other substantial meal a day. Past students have recommended bringing money for souvenirs, snacks and evening entertainment.
Emergency Reserve You should always have some money set aside for emergencies, whether it is your credit card or a cash reserve.
Textbooks and Supplies Textbooks are not as available in England and can be even more expensive than in the U.S., so many study abroad students rely on the library and make photocopies of required readings. Be sure to budget enough money to purchase books and cover the cost of copying.
Groceries Depending on what you purchase, groceries can cost more in England than at a supermarket in the United States. Food prices in general may be higher than you expect, so make sure your food budget is adequate. Because you may be cooking for yourself, take some time to learn a few easy recipes before you leave, or bring a small cookbook from home. Make sure your cookbook has temperature and metric equivalents, or bring a set of measuring cups and spoons from home.
University Housing During Vacation If you wish to stay in your university housing during breaks, you may be required to pay an additional housing fee directly to your host university. IFSAButler’s program fee covers housing only when classes are in session.
Personal Expenses Be sure to budget for the following miscellaneous expenses in England: • Small appliances such as hair dryers, curling irons, etc. • Phone cards and/or cell phone (see page 40 for more information) • Haircuts • Laundry • Course supplies • Photocopying • Emergency cash reserve See your budget planner for more information about personal expenses.
Dining Out Much of the social life in England centers around pubs. Pubs tend to offer hearty, affordable meals, but keep in mind that alcohol is expensive and can lead to quick overspending. In addition, there are no free soda refills in England. Tap water will save you money and is safe to drink. Meals in student cafeterias are inexpensive (equal to or cheaper than pub food), as are those in many fastfood restaurants.
G Get to know the “locals.” Making new friends is M allll partt off the th experience, and other students often know the best (and cheapest) places to go out to eat, drink, etc. – Hannah Borge, Drake University University of Bristol
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Public Transportation Fewer people have cars in England, in part because public transportation is very reliable and popular. Most cities have public bus systems with convenient routes. Even if you’ll be living on or near campus, we recommend budgeting money for public transportation, since you’ll likely need it for sightseeing, shopping, and going out with friends. London has extensive public transportation, including a large bus network and subway system (the Tube). Most students studying in London will take a bus and/or the Tube frequently, if not daily, so budgeting for this cost is essential. London students will receive additional information about fares and monthly passes before departure and at orientation.
Taxis Many students in England use taxis when going out with friends in the evening. Taxis are pricey for just one or two people but can end up being cheaper than public transportation for a group of friends. Taxi vans and the quintessential, large “black cabs” are common and available to transport large groups of people.
Bicycles Many college students in England use bicycles to get to and from classes. You can find secondhand bicycles through newspaper ads, bulletin board notices and bike shops. We strongly recommend that you leave your own bike at home and rent one instead. Be sure to purchase a good quality lock. Helmets are not required in the U.K.
Phones Review the section on telephones and mail on pages 40-41 for specifics on telephones. This guide will help you budget for calling cards or cell phones in England. In England, the post office offers telephone cards with good rates to the United States (see www.postoffice.co.uk).
Tipping The U.K. does not have the same tipping culture as the U.S. However, a 10–12.5 percent tip in restaurants is customary. Always check the receipt first to make sure a service charge has not already been added to your bill. In taxis, it is polite to round up the fare to the nearest pound, or to give 10 percent if the driver has helped you with luggage or packages. It is not customary to tip in bars or pubs.
Money-saving tips for England TIP #1: Get a Good Travel Guidebook The first thing every savvy traveler should do is purchase a good travel guidebook. We recommend the “Rick Steves” and “Rough Guide” series. You can purchase these online or at any major bookstore in the travel section. Both books are geared for travelers on a budget and have all kinds of helpful tips about bargains, local sights, free events and attractions and more. TIP #2: Always Ask for a Student Discount Always ask for a student discount. Don’t be shy - it can help save you a lot of money. Many stores have student discount cards, and your host university may have other discount passes you can pick up as well. Visit the student union to look for flyers advertising “Student Night” at local clubs, bars and restaurants. TIP #3: Talk to British Students The British students around you will undoubtedly be on a budget as well. Ask where they got their pots, pans, bedding, clothes, food, etc. and learn to shop like they do! TIP #4: Take Advantage of Coupons There are always going to be coupons in the local newspaper or online, and there are often people giving out flyers on the streets of shopping districts. If you haven’t used coupons before, learn to love them (even if you might feel a bit like your grandma!). TIP #5: Be a Savvy Grocery Shopper Many cities in England have local street markets where local farmers/venders come to sell their wares. You can buy great fresh, locally grown produce and food at these markets. You also can meet interesting people while doing this—grocery shopping can become a fun cultural experience! TIP #6: Watch Your Pub Visits Just like here in the U.S., alcohol is expensive in England—only more so! Keep an eye on your pub budget.
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Entertainment The range of social activities in England is wide enough to offer something for everyone. Tickets range in price, but student discounts (called “concessions”) are sometimes available if you know the time to queue (line up) for tickets. Local newspapers and international offices at the universities are useful sources of information. Cinema tickets tend to be more expensive for first-run films than they are in the United States, but always ask for student rates and have your host university student ID handy.
Vacations Buy a good guidebook or visit reliable websites when planning and budgeting for travel. Past students highly recommend the Lonely Planet Guide and the Rough Guide. Transportation Travel throughout the U.K. and Europe can be reasonable, and bargains abound for students under the age of 26. Within the United Kingdom, you can purchase a young person’s railcard, which allows for a one-third discount on rail fares, though discount ticket travel times are restricted. To save even more, travel second class. Coaches (buses) are considerably less expensive than trains, and the network is very extensive. Check with your university’s student travel office to explore discount deals on bus and train passes. Budget airlines such as Ryan Air and easyJet offer very inexpensive flights to Ireland, Scotland and mainland Europe. Lodging Look into purchasing an International Youth Hostel Card to find inexpensive lodging. You can check out Hostelling International at www.hiayh.org. YHA England and Wales has a website at www.yha. org.uk. Contact them to learn more about travel opportunities throughout the area. Guidebooks and travel websites have great information on inexpensive lodging throughout the United Kingdom and Europe. Look into bed and breakfasts because they are usually reasonably priced.
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Just remember, as a rule of thumb, everything iis pretty thi t much double the price of the U.S.! Watch your expenses and figure out what is important to you to spend your money on. At the end of the day you’re paying for the once-in-alifetime experience of being in England, so pick and choose what will be memorable for you! – Yasemin Erkan, Saint Joseph’s University Birkbeck, University of London
Value Added Tax All stores throughout the United Kingdom charge a value added tax (VAT) on various purchases. The VAT is 17.5 percent on all goods and services. You can get a refund on the VAT on most goods, but no refund is available on the VAT for services. There are ways for non-U.K. citizens to avoid the VAT, including shipping goods directly back to your U.S. address or asking the retailer to fill out a Cashback voucher at the point of sale, which will entitle you to a VAT refund when you depart the U.K. More information about the VAT will be given at orientation in London.
Overall Budgeting Because of the different spending habits and resources of each of our students, we can’t estimate any one person’s budget needs. For an individual and accurate estimate, please complete the budget planner available on our website.
G E T T I N G R E A D Y T O L E AV E
Official Travel Documents You need the following documents for travel and immigration purposes: • Passport • PBS Tier 4 visa (for full-year students and others as advised by your IFSA-Butler program advisor) • Student validation document (for all students) • Visas (if required)
Passport You must have a passport that is valid for six months past the time you plan to be abroad. If you don’t have a passport, apply for one immediately. Normal processing takes six weeks and may take longer during peak travel times. Passport fees and requirements change frequently. For complete information about applying for a passport, go to the State Department’s website at www.travel.state.gov and click on “Passports.” You must present the following documentation to obtain a U.S. passport: • Proof of U.S. citizenship—either a certified copy of a birth certificate, a previously issued passport, a naturalization certificate, a certificate of citizenship or a consular report of birth for a U.S. citizen born abroad • Two recent, identical passport photos (2” x 2”) • The completed passport application and fee If you are not a U.S. citizen, make sure both your permanent resident card (if applicable) and passport are current and valid. You might need to check with the local U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office near your university or home (check the web at www.uscis.gov).
Get involved and meet people. Make British friends. Studying abroad is one of the few opportunities to meet people from completely different cultures and lifestyles, and then keep them forever. Meeting different American students was fun, but I can always do that. London and the best friends I made there will always be a part of me, and I am so grateful to IFSA-Butler for that. –Alexandra Lonati, Emerson College Queen Mary, University of London
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Perry International Per Due to the complicated nature of student visas visa and legal status abroad, IFSA-Butler has a partnership with Perry International, ap passport and visa processing organization. Perry assists our students by providtio ing in information regarding England’s entry regulations for study abroad stuen dents. Perry also provides visa processd ing services and passport application, in expediting and renewals. e
PBS Tier 4 Visas The U.K. government requires that some students obtain a visa before departure. Students studying in the U.K. for more than 180 days and those who plan to pursue an internship, volunteer opportunities or part-time work in the United Kingdom must apply for a PBS Tier 4 visa. Your PBS Tier 4 visa is the only way you can work, intern or volunteer. If it is stamped with an employment “restriction” you will be allowed to work part time. If it is stamped with an employment “prohibition” you will be forbidden from seeking work. Other students also may be required to get a PBS Tier 4 visa. Your program advisor will let you know if this applies to you. To apply for a PBS Tier 4 visa, you must complete an online application no earlier than three months before the start of your program and submit to the U.K. government the following: • Your passport (which must be valid for six months past the time you plan to return from the U.K.) • Two recent passport-sized photos (2” x 2”) • Your completed visa application • Biometric fingerprint scan receipt • Official documentation provided by IFSA-Butler These guidelines are current as of October 2017 but are subject to change. We’ll send you visa information with your acceptance packet. For up-to-date information about PBS Tier 4 visas, see the Study in the U.K. website at www.britainusa.com and click on “Visas and Visiting the U.K.”
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IFSA-Butler pays the Perry Internaprocessing fees on each student’s behalf, but tional processi students are responsible for the payment of any visa or consular fees, passport fees, and shipping and mailing costs.
Visas for Non-U.S. Citizens If you are not a U.S. citizen, contact Perry International to determine whether you need a visa.
Visas for Other Countries If you plan to travel to other countries, be sure to investigate whether you’ll need a visa before you go. Many European countries have begun to initiate more stringent visa requirements for citizens of some countries.
Student Validation Document IFSA-Butler will email a copy of your student validation document to you prior to your departure. This document gives your full name, your host university and states that you have sufficient funds to study in England. Present this document along with your passport at immigration in the U.K. to prove that you are a full-time study abroad student. If you leave the U.K. during your time abroad, remember to carry the student validation document along with your passport to avoid re-entry problems. Keep this document with your passport until you return to the U.S.
Copies of Your Travel Documents Keep track of all your travel documents. Make two copies of your passport and PBS Tier 4 visa; leave one copy with your parents and pack the other in your luggage separately from your passport. If you lose your passport, having a copy to take to the U.S. Embassy speeds the replacement process.
Booking Your Flight to England IFSA-Butler partners with STA Travel to offer travel booking assistance for our students. There are several advantages to booking your flight reservations through STA: • • • • •
Work with an experienced travel agent Lock in the price of your international ticket with a deposit and pay the rest later Reduce or eliminate change fees with the option of a Multiflex Pass for flexible travel dates Compare airfare prices between airlines so you book a ticket that works for your budget and travel time International Student Identity Card (ISIC) is included
Any program student who arrives on their program date within the published arrival window will be provided with ground transportation from the airport to IFSA-Butler orientation. Do Not Fly Through Ireland When booking your flight to England, do not fly into England through or from the Republic of Ireland. As a visiting student in the United Kingdom, you are required to clear the United Kingdom’s Immigration and Passport Control, and you will go through the wrong immigration procedures if you fly to London via the Republic of Ireland.
I really wanted to choose a large city to study abroad in, and England was high on my list. Although London still seems like a large city to me, it is such a beautiful place that really isn’t “all city.” There are gorgeous parks and beautiful, ancient architecture all around a vibrant, modern city. It really is the best of urban and rural. – Megan Beliveau, Assumption College Queen Mary, University of London
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Insurance and Health Care IFSA-Butler Insurance The IFSA-Butler program fee includes a medical insurance and assistance plan through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI). CISI specializes in providing medical insurance for U.S. students who will receive treatment when outside the United States. The CISI program covers the following: • Eligible medical expenses covered at 100 percent to $500,000 with no deductible • Emergency medical evacuation to $250,000 • Emergency reunion of family members • Mental health coverage up to $10,000 for outpatient (includes most pre-existing conditions) • Medical and travel assistance services • Worldwide hospital and physician referral • Emergency prescription replacement/shipment • 24-hour emergency travel arrangements • Emergency translation service • Lost document and credit card assistance • Worldwide legal assistance Pre-existing Conditions and Substance Abuse Coverage Partial coverage of pre-existing conditions, and alcohol and drug abuse are also part of the plan benefits. There are exclusions to coverage that are outlined on the “Student Insurance” page of our website, located in the “For Students” section. Dates of Coverage Coverage begins on the program departure date and ends on the program end date and is applicable anywhere outside the United States, not just the location in which you are studying abroad. Insurance Card CISI will send you a printable insurance card via email before departure. You’ll need to create a personal account on the CISI website after your acceptance into a program. Additional Insurance We strongly recommend that you review the program medical insurance and assistance plan to determine whether you need additional insurance. In particular, students with pre-existing conditions should investigate their options carefully, as pre-existing conditions are covered only up to $10,000. IFSA-Butler does not provide travel or personal property insurance.
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National Health Service Only students studying in the U.K. for the full academic year are covered by the National Health Service (NHS). This coverage is valid only within the U.K.
Additional Insurance Sources To obtain travel, property or additional medical coverage for a pre-existing condition, we recommend contacting an insurance company that specializes in coverage for U.S. students abroad. Cultural Insurance Services International, which provides the insurance plan for IFSA-Butler students, can provide a range of insurance services. Cultural Insurance Services International 800-303-8120 www.culturalinsurance.com
Prescription Drugs You have two options for continuing prescription medications while you are overseas. The first option is to take with you all of the medication you will need for the your semester abroad. A three-month supply of any prescribed drug must be accompanied by a letter from the prescribing physician (on letterhead) detailing your name, the generic name of the medication, the quantity of the medication which will be brought into the U.K., and the reason the medication is needed. If you need to bring more than a three-month supply, you need to obtain a personal import license (www. homeoffice.gov.uk/drugs/licensing/personal). Please note that you should pack all prescription medications in your carry-on bag, in their original containers with the pharmacy label. The other option is to have your prescriptions filled in the U.K. If you chose to do so, make sure you to get a prescription from your U.S. doctor that includes the chemical name of the drug, as well as the dosage. Also ask your doctor to make sure it’s commercially available in the U.K. When you arrive at your host university, you will have to register at your university’s student health center and have them write you a prescription so that it can be billed at a pharmacy in the U.K. The National Health Service (NHS) fill most prescriptions for less than $20.
Immunizations There are no specific immunizations required for study in England, but we recommend that you make sure that your immunizations are up to date before departure. Visit the Centers for Disease Control website at www.cdc.gov for recommendations and health alerts.
Students with Disabilities We encourage students with physical and learning disabilities to explore studying abroad through our programs. We can work with you and our affiliated universities to find a program that most closely meets your needs in a community that is as accessible as possible. We can investigate the availability of modified facilities, adaptive equipment, learning disability policies, local medical facilities or other required services. Equipment or services may result in an additional cost to you. If you have a learning disability, be aware that universities in England do not allow unlimited test times in private rooms with computers. You should expect to receive no more than an extra 10 to 15 minutes for every hour of the standard testing time, with no private room. You can inform IFSA-Butler of any medical condition by filling out the medical form in your acceptance packet. Medical conditions have no bearing on your admission, but your study abroad experience may be negatively affected if all parties involved are not adequately informed of your needs. Please note that requests for special arrangements or accommodations require documentation from your home college or university, as well as from a physician or therapist.
Health Care Below are some predeparture health care recommendations, as well as some hints for communicating your medical needs to IFSA-Butler before the start of the program: • Have your family physician prepare a summary of ongoing treatment. • Bring an adequate supply of your medications (up to three months is allowed) and leave them in their labeled containers. • See “Prescription Drugs” on this page for more details on bringing medications to England. • We recommend that you undergo complete physical, eye and dental exams prior to departure. • Update any vaccination(s) your physician recommends. • Please note any medical conditions on the medical form included in your acceptance packet. Remember that we keep all medical information strictly confidential. • If you have been treated for depression, anxiety, eating disorders or anything that can be classified as a mental health condition, review the medical insurance and assistance plan included in your program fee to determine whether you will need additional coverage. • Discuss the possibility of obtaining additional insurance coverage for treatment abroad with your parents or study abroad advisor.
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Please do not overpack! Storage space is usually minimal and closets in student residences are very small. If you are in university housing and staying over a vacation period, you might be required to store your things in a centrally secured room for the break.
Luggage Size and Weight • Visit your airline’s website to view checked baggage policies and any fees for checked bags. • Do not attempt to exceed your airline’s baggage limit. If you do, the airline staff can make you repack and/or pay an extra weight fee. • You will have to carry your luggage everywhere, so make sure that you can manage all your luggage by yourself. • Carry-on luggage must fit under the seat in front of you or in the overhead bin. We recommend that you keep your carry-on weight to about 10 pounds since you’ll be navigating very large airports.
Pack wisely and use suitable luggage. Trunks are too heavy and impossible to handle alone, and suitcases are bulky and tiring to carry. Past students suggest a sturdy, internal-frame backpack as the ideal piece of luggage. A backpack, small suitcase and small carry-on are all the luggage you should need.
Climate England has a mild, moist climate. Generally, temperatures in winter do not drop below freezing, and the summer highs are rarely higher than 80ºF. Fall and spring are usually cool. Most of our students find England chilly and damp. England is rightfully famous for its rain. Showers occur frequently and at all times of the year. We recommend bringing a high-quality umbrella, a waterproof rain jacket and at least two pairs of sturdy waterproof shoes. We also recommend bringing and dressing in layers. Weather can change frequently, and layers will help you stay comfortable.
Protecting Your Luggage From Theft and Loss • Make luggage tags to identify all of your luggage, including your carry-on. • Put labels inside your luggage in case the outside labels fall off. • If you put a lock on your bag, make sure it is approved by the Transportation Security Administration (see www.tsa.gov); otherwise, airline security may cut it off. Protecting Your Documents and Valuables • Do not pack your tickets, passport, travel documents, medication or valuables in your checked luggage. Keep them on your person at all times. • Do not put valuables in a backpack; backpacks are prone to theft. General Packing Advice • Pack what you’ll need first on top in one bag. • Pack shampoos, toothpaste and any other liquids or gels in plastic bags. • A plastic bag can also be used to separate clean and dirty laundry and to hold wet clothes (re-sealable bags are the best). • Pack your carry-on so that you can live out of it for a few days if your checked luggage gets lost. • If you can’t decide whether to take something expensive or sentimental, ask yourself how you would feel if it was lost or stolen. • Leave room in your luggage to bring home the things you acquire while abroad. • Keep FAA regulations in mind when packing your carry-on. Do not bring anything that could be considered a weapon onto the plane.
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Suggested Packing List Clothes—Semester and Year Students • A hooded rainproof coat with a zip-out lining • A few sweaters (wool or fleece are best) • Jeans and/or casual pants • Casual shirts • T-shirts • At least one dressy outfit with the appropriate shoes • Underclothes • Workout clothes • Warm hat, scarf and gloves • Two pairs of comfortable, waterproof walking shoes • Pajamas • Hiking boots, rugged gear and warm clothing for the Adventure Weekend • A set of long underwear (winter can be very damp and cold) Clothes—Summer Students • A hooded rainproof coat with a zip-out lining • One or two sweaters • Jeans or lightweight casual pants • A few pairs of shorts • Casual short-sleeve shirts • At least one dressy outfit with the appropriate shoes • Underclothes • Workout clothes • Two pairs of comfortable, waterproof walking shoes • Pajamas
Laundry methods may be hard on your clothes, so pack clothes that can take some abuse. You might have to dry your clothes on a line. Health, Hygiene and Safety • Comb, brush, toothbrush and toothpaste, shampoo, shaving gear and washcloth • Toiletries and cosmetics to get you through the first week. You can purchase more as necessary in England. • Prescription medicine in labeled containers and a written copy of the prescription • Contact lens solution, an extra pair of contacts or glasses and your prescription • Sunglasses • Condoms and/or birth control • A small first-aid kit Miscellaneous • Portable alarm clock and extra batteries • Good quality umbrella and rain gear • Addresses and phone numbers of family, relatives and friends • A bike lock if you plan to rent or buy a bicycle • Recipes (with metric equivalents) • Money belt or waist pouch to hold passport, money, etc.
Do Not Bring • Expensive jewelry or items with sentimental value • Too much cash • Illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia of any kind • Electrical appliances (England uses different plugs and voltage.) • Too much luggage
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Your Ideal Carry-On Bag • Passport: check to ensure that it is valid six months past the time you are scheduled to be abroad • Student validation document, which we will email to you prior to your predeparture • Your plane tickets or e-ticket confirmations • Travel-size toiletries • Credit cards, debit card and limited cash • Something to read • Something to listen to • Journal and a pen • A change of clothes in case your checked luggage is lost • Medications and written prescriptions • Sweater and/or waterproof jacket • Spare glasses and/or contact lenses and solution. (the plane can be very dry, so you might want to wear glasses instead of your contact lenses) • Water (purchased after clearing security) and a small snack • Camera • Laptop, tablet and/or e-reader You should also pack in your carry-on all your important paperwork: • Contact details for your home college advisor • Name and email of your IFSA-Butler program advisor and resident director • Contact details for your physician(s) • CISI insurance card • Updated home university transcript (a student copy is fine; you might need it during registration) • Your Travel Essentials newsletter, which will be emailed to you prior to your departure. It includes contact information for our London office and directions for where to go upon your arrival.
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Linens and Towels If possible, you will be advised about what linens are provided when you receive your housing assignment. If you don’t have your housing assignment prior to departure, you should plan to buy inexpensive linens when you arrive at your host university. In some housing options, students must rent or purchase duvets and pillows. All students must provide their own towels. Most students purchase towels in England in order save room in their luggage, but we recommend bringing at least one washcloth with you, as these are not commonly used in England.
Contact Lenses Pack a spare set of lenses and your eyeglasses in case of emergency. Bring your lens or glasses prescription. Your favorite contact care brands will probably be available in England, but the cost of solution is very expensive compared to in the United States. You may want to take enough to last your entire time abroad.
Appliances Don’t bring any electrical appliances from home. You’ll need a voltage converter and plug adapter to make anything with a motor work in England’s threepronged, 240V outlets. Converters are unreliable and can even be fire hazards. Small appliances such as hair dryers and curling irons are easy to acquire in England and are relatively inexpensive.
Medication See page 34 for more details on taking medication to England.
Musical Instruments If you bring a musical instrument, pack it in a hard case and insure it. Instruments count as extra luggage on the flight and may incur an additional fee. If you bring a stringed instrument, loosen or remove the strings to reduce the tension on the neck during the flight. Endsleigh Insurance offers a special coverage package for musical instruments. See www.endsleigh.co.uk.
Technology and Communications Laptops The only type of computer you should consider taking abroad is a laptop. Below are the pros and cons of bringing your own computer. Pros of Bringing a Laptop • The convenience of working on your assignments anywhere and anytime you want. • Immediate access for working on papers, uploading photos, etc. • No need to familiarize yourself with a different computer and software in England. • University computer labs in England usually close by 9 p.m. Cons of Bringing a Laptop • High risk of theft. • Internet may be slow or not available at all in your housing, which will limit the usefulness of your laptop. • Your laptop will work only if it has an internal voltage switch to work with the U.K.’s 240V electrical current. • Power surges are common and can damage your laptop. • You will need to purchase a plug adapter so that your laptop can plug into an outlet in England. • You will need to find a safe place to store your laptop when you travel, or drag it along with you. If you do decide to bring your laptop, we recommend bringing an ethernet cable, as some housing options still use ethernet for Internet access. You can also purchase a cable cheaply in your host city.
The English really do love Americans if they h are polite l and not too loud! Also, say “please” after you ask for anything!
Some students have heard that a laptop less than six months old will be taxed upon entry to the U.K., and that students must bring a receipt to prove ownership of the laptop. Though these rules do exist, they do not apply to students who use a laptop for educational purposes.
Computer Labs Computer labs are available at all the English universities with which IFSA-Butler works, although labs are rarely open 24 hours a day. You will be assigned a university email account.
–Kristina DeMichele, University of Dayton St. Peter’s College, University of Oxford M O R E C U LT U R E . L E S S S H O C K .
Internet Cafes Internet cafes are available throughout England. For a small fee, you can have access to email and the Internet.
Tablets and E-Readers You may find iPads, Kindles or other tablets and e-readers useful while abroad. However, keep in mind that an outlet charger will not work abroad due to England’s different voltages and plugs. You can use a USB charger with your laptop, or if you’re not bringing a laptop, you can purchase a travel adapter kit to charge your devices. Please be sure that any tablets or e-readers are insured against theft and damage.
Voltage Converters The U.S. operates on a 110V electrical system, while England has a 220V system. Most laptops and some small items such as shavers and camera battery chargers may be designed to handle both types of voltages; check the product information carefully. Otherwise you’ll need a voltage converter to operate any appliance from the U.S. Voltage converters are often unreliable and can result in electrical shock, damage to the device or even fire. This is why we recommend purchasing small appliances abroad.
Plug Adaptors The shape of outlet plugs are also different in England. You’ll need a plug adaptor for any appliance or electronic device from the U.S., even those designed to handle a 220V electrical system.
Cell Phones IFSA-Butler requires all students to have a cell phone while abroad. Phones must be able to send and receive texts from our London office, and we will collect cell numbers from students during orientation. Your IFSA-Butler program advisor is happy to answer questions about the cost and process of bringing or purchasing a cell phone abroad.
Calling Cards You can sign up for U.S.-based calling cards from AT&T, Sprint or other major phone providers. The bills for these calls can be included in your parents’ home phone bill, or in a separate bill if you choose. You can use these cards from any type of phone while in England. Be sure to compare costs when choosing a card.
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Many of these companies also offer pre-paid phone cards that can be used internationally, but you may find that pre-paid cards bought in England (see Pay Phones below) offer better deals and are easier to use.
Calling Plans Many U.S.-based cell phone and land line companies offer special calling plans for frequent international calls. Your family and friends should shop around to find the best deals.
Pay Phones As in the U.S., pay phones are gradually disappearing in England. Some student residence halls still have pay phones, but many are able to dial within the halls and to emergency numbers only. The pay phones that do still exist take either coins or cards, although some telephones accept both. Card phones require the use of pre-paid phone cards, which are available in local “news agents” stores and post offices in increments of £2–£20.
Calls to England When your friends and family call England, they’ll need to use international codes. To call England from the United States, dial: • • • •
011 to get your call routed out of the United States 44 to route your call to England the three-digit area code the local phone number
Note that calls within England usually begin with a 0, but callers from the U.S. should drop the 0 when dialing your number.
Online Calling Options
Skype is a great way to make free or low cost calls internationally. The only drawback to using Skype is that the site may not work well with low bandwith Internet connections, which can be an issue with many university housing options in England. Though a webcam is nice for seeing your family and friends on the other end of the call, foregoing the webcam will give you more bandwith and lower the chances of being disconnected.
Shipping Companies If someone in the U.S. needs to send you something important or urgent, have them send it via UPS, Fedex, TNT, DHL or the U.S. Post Office’s “Global Express Guaranteed” service. Remember that these services usually will not deliver to a post office box, so the sender needs to provide a street address.
Google Talk offers Voice Over IP services online. It has fewer options than Skype but typically requires less bandwith.
Phone Home Schedule Regardless of how you choose to contact your family, we advise you to set up a schedule for calling home. A schedule allows you to call when costs are lowest, and it also helps minimize your family’s worry about having you abroad because they know when to expect your calls.
The United States Postal Service and international shipping companies all have their own rules regarding fees, customs charges and invoices for packages. Your family or friends should ask detailed questions and understand the postal or shipping company’s guidelines before sending parcels to England.
Items to Avoid Shipping Abroad • Clothes: Whether they are previously worn or new, you’ll pay huge Customs charges and handling fees that often add up to more than the actual value of the clothing. Plan a little extra money in your bud get to purchase anything you can’t bring in your luggage.
Mail generally takes five to 10 days to reach the United States. Packages sent to or from England via surface mail may take up to eight weeks for delivery. Airmail packages may take up to two weeks.
• Laptops or other electronics: These are likely to get damaged or stolen in transit and will incur huge Customs charges and handling fees.
Be sure to tell your family and friends not to send mail to your England address prior to arrival.
• Valuables • Medications
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Housing The IFSA-Butler program fee includes housing while classes are in session. IFSA-Butler programs in England offer some or all of the following types of housing: • University-operated housing • University of London intercollegiate residences • IFSA-Butler London housing
University-operated Housing University-operated housing comes in the form of residence halls or colleges. Rooms may be singles or doubles and are integrated with degree-seeking students and other international students from around the world. This type of housing is available at some universities within London and for all programs outside of London. These halls and colleges are somewhat like U.S. dorms, but they involve a much greater level of community life. They often have amenities such as kitchens, laundry rooms and study lounges, tutors and counseling services, and student organizations that arrange social and sporting programs. You will be expected to take part in college life and participate in college activities. Most of these residences at universities outside of London are on or near campus. University residences for London programs may require a significant walk to class or commute via public transportation. See “Meal Plans” on page 23 for more details about mandatory meal plans in university housing.
University of London Intercollegiate Residences Several of our affiliated universities in London are part of the University of London (UL), a federation of prestigious colleges and universities. UL operates intercollegiate housing throughout the city for its students, and IFSA-Butler students may request to be placed in this housing. However, UL housing is usually offered to full year students only and may involve a significant commute to classes.
IFSA-Butler London Housing IFSA-Butler London students who aren’t offered a place in a UL intercollegiate residence or university residence hall will be placed in IFSA-Butler housing. IFSA-Butler student houses and flats are located in central London within commuting distance of all London universities. IFSA-Butler London housing is managed by a member of our London office staff, and each student house or group of flats has a live-in resident supervisor. All IFSA-Butler London housing is self-catered, which means you will prepare or purchase your own food. IFSA-Butler provides fully furnished kitchens, including a stove, small refrigerator(s), storage cabinets and basic cooking utensils for meal preparation. You may need to provide your own linens, as well as bath and kitchen towels. We recommend that you purchase linens after your arrival in the U.K. We expect you to keep the houses and flats neat and orderly. If repairs are necessary or you have any other questions or concerns, please notify the resident supervisor.
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A Note About London Housing
General Housing Information
As very few universities in London have what U.S. students would consider a “campus,” most students live in flats throughout the city. When you move into your flat, please remember that housing in London is very scarce and affordable housing even more so. We make sure that the housing we secure for our students is clean, but it is not luxurious, nor is it necessarily located near the famous sites of central London. Commuting is a way of life for the people who work and study in London, and you will likely be no exception.
The England Student Housing Experience With the exception of our London flats for students who aren’t offered places in university accommodation, IFSA-Butler does not provide special housing for students on our England programs. We want your experience to be reflective of the student life in England, so you’ll be living the same housing as degree students. Although student housing in England is not luxurious, it is clean and suitable for student living.
Neighborhoods in London differ from those in many U.S. cities. Residential and commercial establishments are not separated into different zones but mingle in the same block. People of all economic and cultural backgrounds live in the same neighborhoods, and you won’t find the sharp divisions between “good” and “bad” neighborhoods that are common in the U.S.
Independent Housing Although IFSA-Butler guarantees and arranges housing for students on our programs, you may choose to arrange your own housing abroad. Most students who choose independent housing do so because of health or religious reasons, or because they wish to stay with family. Should you choose our independent housing option, we will not charge you the housing component of your program fee. You must make all housing arrangements on your own, including deposits, damage costs and payment of utilities. In addition, your home college study abroad office will need to give permission in writing for you to arrange your own housing. IFSA-Butler does not assist in resolving independent housing issues.
Housing Assignments IFSA-Butler works with each university in England to secure housing for our students throughout the semester, year or summer abroad. We guarantee housing as part of our program fee. In most programs, the host university housing office makes housing assignments. These housing assignments are based on the requests you make on the IFSA-Butler housing preference form, which is part of our application process. Some host universities have separate housing forms that students must also complete as part of the application process. Please note that we guarantee housing but not your first choice. Housing Variations We provide a comparable standard of accommodation for all program participants. We take care to ensure that all accommodations meet our quality standards, but exact conditions, equipment and amenities vary between programs and even sometimes within the same university. Housing Offer Notification When we receive your housing offer from your university in England, we will forward it to you. However, sometimes we don’t receive university housing assignments prior to the start of the program. If you do not receive notice of your address before departure, you can expect to have it in writing during orientation.
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Housing Changes and Withdraws
Special Housing Requests
Housing Changes Once made, housing arrangements are difficult to change. Should you choose to leave your assigned housing, the university accommodation office may impose a severe financial penalty or you may have to pay the remainder of the rent due on the original housing assignment.
Roommate Requests Students are welcome to make roommate requests, but these requests must be mutual and in writing. We canâ€™t guarantee that all requests will be granted.
Housing Refund Policy Students who withdraw from their housing after the specified date for the payment of fees (November 15 for the spring and July 1 for fall and year programs) will not receive a refund for the portion of the program fee covering housing unless the space can be filled. There are no refunds whatsoever if you leave the housing after the term or semester has begun. Host University Withdraw Policies Some universities in England have instituted very strict withdraw policies, particularly for summer programs. The policies vary between universities but generally require students to pay a large penalty for withdrawing from the program after a specified date. These withdraw policies are clearly outlined on our website, on housing forms (in cases where penalties are tied to housing fees) and are also detailed in predeparture emails from our program advisors.
Single Sex Housing All accommodations are coed unless otherwise stated. You may make a request for single-sex housing, but single-sex housing is limited at many universities and may be unavailable altogether.
Housing Policies Housing Vacation Policy Housing is guaranteed only for the time classes are in session and for examination periods. Some universities ask students to move out of housing during vacations and store belongings in a central facility. If your university gives you the option of staying over vacation, you will have to make arrangements with the university and pay any fees directly to the university. Housing Contract All students sign a housing contract at the IFSAButler orientation. Visitors Overnight guests are allowed in most housing options, subject to permissions and regulations. Be sure to learn and follow the rules of your housing.
Housing Amenities and Utilities
I played soccer while sstudying at Oxford and ffound ound it an a excellent way for me to make new friends as well as to relax under rigorous academic pressure. â€“Kaiyan Chen, Brandeis University Hertford College, University of Oxford
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Linens Because the policies vary from university to university, you should wait for your housing assignment before planning to pack bedding items. We will inform you of all pertinent housing details in your housing offer letter. If we arenâ€™t able to provide you with your housing assignment before departure, we recommend that you plan to purchase linens after your arrival in England. All students must provide their own towels.
Kitchen Supplies In some university-operated housing, students must provide their own pots, pans, crockery and other food preparation items. We recommend that you wait and see what supplies are in your housing, as past residents often leave things behind. You might also be able to share the cost with roommates. Heating In England, heating is turned on later in the season (and/or later in the evening) than would be the case in the United States. In addition, the heating system might not be as efficient as you are used to. You should expect to dress warmly indoors to make up for this difference. The cost of heat is included in the IFSAButler program fee, but remember that your roommates may be paying for their own heating bills. Please be considerate of their budget and of the need to conserve energy. Air Conditioning Summer students should be aware that student housing in England is rarely air conditioned. Summers in England are generally mild, with temperatures rarely climbing above 80ยบF, so in most summers air conditioning is not needed. However, England has occasional hot spells, which can make for an uncomfortable living situation. You may need to purchase a small fan in England if you find your housing too warm.
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Legal Matters Student Status You will enter the United Kingdom on student status. You may or may not need a PBS Tier 4 visa (see page 32 for details); your IFSA-Butler program advisor will inform you of whether you need one.
Legal Status While abroad, you are subject to local laws and customs that may vary considerably from U.S. practice. Ignorance of the law never serves as a defense for criminal activity. Wherever you are, be careful not to break the law. IFSA-Butler does not provide legal advice or support to students arrested abroad. IFSA-Butler reserves the right to dismiss you from the program if you are charged with a crime.
Driving Under the Influence England has severe penalties for drinking and driving. Never drive a car under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Possession and Sale of Narcotics Students who are caught using, possessing or dealing in drugs are subject to high fines, imprisonment and deportation. If you are accused of any illegal drug offense, you will be subject to England’s laws, and your U.S. citizenship will not provide any special protection.
Customs U.K. Customs regulations allow students to bring in personal belongings for use in their studies without being liable to duty, as long as they take them out of the country when they leave. When you re-enter the United States, U.S. Customs will require you to declare all items purchased abroad. Keep an account of the costs of purchases, including sales slips. Customs officials have the right to see them. There are penalties for underestimating the value of declared articles or not reporting them at all. Customs regulations and charges are subject to change, so be sure to check the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website at www.customs.ustreas.gov for upto-date information. For U.K. Customs regulations, contact Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs at www. hmrc.gov.uk.
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Employment IFSA-Butler strongly discourages students from working. Study abroad requires a big investment, and your courses will take up most of your time. The jobs most study abroad students find are ones usually held only by international students, so working is not a good way to meet local people. Even if you want to work, you may not be able to find a job. If you want to work, you must obtain a PBS Tier 4 visa to ensure that you receive an employment “restriction” rather than an employment “prohibition.” With a PBS Tier 4 visa, students may work up to 20 hours per week during term time and any number of hours per week during breaks.
Health and Safety Alcohol The legal drinking age is 18 in the United Kingdom, and alcohol is a pervasive presence both on and off campus. Pubs are a large part of the social scene. Although IFSA-Butler never pays for alcohol at events we sponsor, university-sponsored events might provide alcohol. Think about how youâ€™ll deal with the easy access to alcohol before you go. Socializing with English students doesnâ€™t mean you have to drink, and ordering a soft drink at a pub is perfectly acceptable. We recommend that you drink moderately if you choose to drink. We cannot emphasize enough how many discipline and safety issues are caused by overindulgence with alcohol and how many study abroad experiences are soured because of it. Most complaints and police encounters that involve study abroad students stem from the abuse of alcohol.
Alcohol Abuse If you are currently in a program to control your alcohol abuse, please inform us on the medical form that is included in your acceptance packet. Any information you relay to us will be kept confidential and will not affect your ability to enroll in our program. We can help you find continuing counseling and support abroad. IFSA-Butler reserves the right to remove from the program any student who behaves in a violent or self-destructive manner or who is charged with an alcohol-related crime.
Drink Spiking While in England, be aware of the dangers of drink spiking. When at a disco or pub, never leave your drink unattended or accept a drink from a stranger.
Smoking In England, smoking is banned in all enclosed public places, including bars, clubs and restaurants. If you are a smoker, note that cigarettes are even more heavily taxed in the U.K. than in the U.S., with a pack of 20 costing about ÂŁ8.
Counseling Students with mental health conditions (including eating disorders, substance abuse problems and depression) are particularly susceptible to increased
stress while studying abroad. We ask that you fully disclose any mental health condition to us before departure so that we can help arrange counseling support for you abroad. Any information will be completely confidential. Counseling practices in the United Kingdom are very similar to those in the United States. We recommend that you link your therapist with a professional in England to continue treatment. Additional medical insurance may be necessary to cover counseling sessions abroad.
Anti-Depressants and Anti-Anxiety Medication Students who are taking medication for a mental health condition should continue treatment unless advised by a physician to stop. Temporary changes in scene can make students feel overconfident that they are fine and no longer need their medication, but in reality, ceasing medication can have disastrous effects. Please see page 34 for more information about taking medication into England.
Eating Disorders Eating disorders are common among U.S. university students and the stress of studying abroad sometimes causes these disorders to intensify. Both our U.S. and England offices can help you locate counseling at your host university, or with a community support group if you would rather seek help off campus.
Loneliness and Homesickness Adjusting to a new way of life can be very stressful, and homesickness is common in study abroad. If you get homesick, we encourage you to share your feelings with someone. Counseling services are available on your campus, and the IFSA-Butler England office is only a phone call away. To combat homesickness, get involved in a sport or group. Keep a regular, healthy diet and exercise schedule, get enough sleep and continue your interests.
LBGTQ Rights LBGTQ rights are far less controversial in England than in the U.S., and discrimination against LBGTQ people is illegal. However, if you feel you are the victim of prejudice or discrimination, contact the IFSA-Butler London office for advice. M O R E C U LT U R E . L E S S S H O C K .
Sexual Heath STDs are as large a health threat in England as they are in the United States. Take the same precautions as you would at home.
Personal Safety Precautions Students tend to let down their guard when studying abroad, but being vigilant and cautious is as important in England as it is at home. We recommend the following basic safety precautions while studying and traveling abroad: Register with the U.S. State Department Register online with the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). You can enroll for free at https://step.state.gov/step/. This will allow the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to get in contact with you in the event of an emergency. Read the State Department Travel Advisories These are available for all countries, so be sure to read them for any place you plan to visit. Our England office routinely updates students on new State Department travel advisories, cautions and warnings, and updates are also available online at www.travel.state.gov. Keep a Low Profile Try to blend in with the host country’s surroundings as much as possible. Avoid speaking loudly and wearing clothes that mark you as a U.S. student (e.g., university fraternity or sorority shirts). Don’t hang out at tourist gathering places and do not travel with large groups of Americans. Be Cautious When Meeting New People Don’t give out your address or telephone number. Be aware of your surroundings and the people with whom you have contact.
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Most student unions, pharmacies and grocery stores sell condoms. Some other forms of contraception can be bought off the shelf but require referral from a family planning association. Your student health center can provide you with information regarding emergency contraception. Marie Stopes International offers reproductive health services, including contraception, emergency contraception and referrals to general practitioners. To learn more about the services this organization offers, visit the Marie Stopes International website at www. mariestopes.org.uk. Birth control pills are available in England in the same dosages as in the United States, but brand names may differ. Pharmacies are under no obligations to fill U.S. prescriptions, so you may need to have a local doctor write you a new prescription. Once you have registered with the university doctor and undergone an exam, the doctor can write you a prescription. Reduce your risk of sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancy by behaving responsibly and protecting yourself.
Crime Petty theft is common throughout England. Don’t travel with valuable personal property and avoid traveling alone late at night. Make sure that the doors and windows of your housing are locked at all times. We encourage you to leave anything of monetary or sentimental value in the United States. During orientation, we provide tips on how to carry credit cards and cash, and how to find help in case of an emergency. Our staff also focus on personal safety and common sense rules of living abroad. There is no reason to be unduly concerned about crime in England. Incidences of violent crime are lower than in the United States, but it is still important to take reasonable precautions with your personal safety and belongings.
Fire Safety Fire codes and safety standards in England are very strict. Make an effort to learn the fire safety regulations of your housing, and be sure to follow all rules regarding candles, cooking, appliances, etc. In addition, protect yourself by memorizing the location of exits and fire extinguishers.
Program Evacuation IFSA-Butler has a lengthy evacuation plan for students in all locations. In the unlikely event of a serious terrorist attack, devastating natural disaster or political unrest in England, we would follow our evacuation procedures in consultation with the U.S. embassy, our evacuation assistance provider and our on-site office in England. Our policy is to initiate emergency travel or evacuation only as a last resort and/or when recommended by the U.S. State Department. During any kind of crisis abroad, IFSA-Butler stays in close contact with students, their parents and each student’s home college or university.
Personal Safety Precautions (continued) Do Not Hitchhike Local students may tell you hitchhiking is safe, but hitchhiking is no safer in England than in the United States. When Traveling, Share Your Travel Plans When leaving your host city for personal travel, complete the online travel form to let our England office know where you’re going. More details will be included in the Student Handbook at orientation. Also share your travel plans with family or friends, especially if you’ll be out of cell phone range or away from email for several days. Have Enough Money Make sure you have enough money with you, especially when you’re traveling. Keep your cash, credit cards and debit card in separate places in case of theft. Do Not Leave Your Bags Unattended Do not agree to carry or look after packages or suitcases for anyone, and never leave your bags unattended. Keep in Touch with Current Events Know what’s going on politically in the world by keeping up with the news. Keep in Touch with Our England Office Should an emergency occur, check in immediately by phone or email with our England office. Also contact your parentsMto let them know you are O R E C U LT U R E . L E S S S H O C K . 49 safe.
Embassy and Consular Services The U.S. Embassy and Consulates abroad provide the following services: • Replacement of passports • Assistance in locating medical service and notifying friends and family in case of emergency • Assistance with finances if money is lost or stolen • Attorney lists, transfer of money and notification of family for U.S. citizens in jail • Disaster or emergency evacuation assistance The U.S. Embassies and Consulates do not serve as travel agencies, banks, law offices, police or job placement services. The U.S. Embassy in London is located at: 24 Grosvenor Square London W1A 2LQ Telephone: 44-0-20-7499-9000 www.usembassy.org.uk
Registering With the Embassy We strongly recommend that you register your semester, year or summer abroad with the U.S. Embassy in England. You can do so online with the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Registering your address and dates abroad will allow embassy officials to reach you in the event of an natural disaster or other national emergency in England, and it would also help the embassy to assist you if you experience a serious medical or personal emergency abroad. You can enroll for free at https://step.state.gov/step/.
–Van Nguyen, University of Texas at Austin University of Sussex
We have extensive support systems in England to help you with any personal or academic problems. Our England office staff can be contacted 24 hours a day in the event of an emergency. We will give you a laminated emergency card with contact information during your orientation. Keep it with you at all times.
Being an American Abroad While studying in England, you may encounter negative attitudes toward Americans and U.S. government, history or culture. Most anti-American opinions are just that: individual opinions about U.S. politics or culture. They may be based on history, current events, stereotypes, media or experiences with other Americans. Do not react defensively and try not to take these opinions personally.
Before going abroad, brush up on U.S. history and politics, as well as the reasoning behind U.S. foreign policy. This kind of knowledge will help you participate in conversations or debates without feeling helpless. You can expect to be asked your opinion on a regular basis.
IFSA-Butler is committed to ensuring the safety of all students on our programs. We ask students to read the descriptions of and sign waivers for certain activities that we organize. All activities are completely optional. In addition, we use only licensed and bonded companies for transporting students during orientation and excursions.
Study abroad is full of academic and cultural challenges, including the reality that a wide range of opinions about the United States exists. Remember that our staff in England are happy to lend a sympathetic ear and offer further advice for dealing with these situations.
If you are not a U.S. citizen, we recommend registering with your home country’s embassy in England before departure.
My favorite IFSAButler activity was the beginning where we went to eat and got closer with the other students.
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Please take reasonable safety precautions while abroad. Avoid risky behavior and pay attention to local laws and warning signs. Carry a next-of-kin contact card in your wallet along with the emergency contact wallet card we give you during orientation.
Study abroad is not a vacation but a true experience in acculturation. While abroad you are expected to blend in with and live like others in England. Even if you’ve already visited England on vacation, living there is different. You may become frustrated by all the differences in culture, daily life and lack of conveniences, such as operating a phone, finding late shopping hours and getting around on the train or bus.
Our England office emergency number is for use after business hours and on weekends. Our staff are happy to help in a true emergency, but please don’t contact staff after hours with a concern that can be handled during the regular business day.
Specific Emergencies The U.K.’s emergency number is 999. To contact police, fire or an ambulance, call 999 on any phone. In case of severe weather or natural disasters Follow local emergency directions. In addition, be sure to contact IFSA-Butler via email or phone according to the information provided on your IFSAButler laminated emergency contact card so that we know you’re safe. If you are hospitalized abroad Contact our England office immediately. We can help you with insurance questions and make sure you are looked after once you have been discharged. If you have been arrested abroad Call our England office emergency number. We can’t provide you with legal help, but we can contact family members for you. Always contact your parents by phone or email as soon as you are able to let them know you are fine!
So much of what you see, hear and experience in England seems much like home. Language is not a problem, the student cultures are similar, and U.S. brand names, TV shows and even sports logos are everywhere. But England has an unmistakably different culture. When those differences become apparent, they can hit with considerable impact. The culture shock curve has three basic phases and a more complicated phase as you return to the United States: Phase I: The Honeymoon You may experience an initial euphoria about being in a new place. During this period, you cannot envision anything better than being in England. The honeymoon can last for as little as a week or for as long as six weeks. Phase II: End of the Honeymoon The end of the honeymoon is characterized by an acute dislike for anything having to do with the location, people, new words or customs of England. You may feel a general sense of distress and frustration. Luckily, this period of disillusionment usually passes quickly. If you seem to experience culture shock or loneliness for an extended time, ask for help. Our England staff have years of experience assisting students, and they will gladly take the time to speak with you about the challenges you are facing. We are as interested as you are in making sure that your period of study abroad is a success, both personally and academically. Phase III: Adjustment After the period of disillusionment comes adjustment. Some students adjust by “going native” (adopting wholeheartedly the new culture) and end up with a new haircut, a new accent and/or a new style
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of dress! For most students, this adaptation gradually becomes more natural as they become more settled and are able to see both the positive and negative aspects of their host culture. Phase IV: Reverse Culture Shock Returning home may expose you to these same feelings all over again. Your time abroad will probably make you more self-sufficient and independent, but the friends you left behind will not have grown quite so dramatically and might not want to hear about your experiences. You’ll undoubtedly be happy to be home and to see family and friends, but you’ll also be missing the friends and the lifestyle of your time abroad. If you find that you’re having difficulty readjusting to the United States, the study abroad advisor on your home campus can help. Consider volunteering as a peer advisor on your home campus, or apply to be an IFSA-Butler Ambassador. Both are great resume builders and a way to share your positive experiences with others.
Summary We hope this booklet has addressed most of your questions and that it continues to be a resource for you and your family throughout the study abroad experience. Please consult page 58 for contact information for our offices. We’re always happy to answer questions!
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Please note the following important policies for students in our England programs. Page numbers containing additional information are also noted.
Orientation – p. 10 The IFSA-Butler orientation in England is mandatory. We reserve the right to remove a student from the program for missing any part of orientation. Program Duration – p. 13 Your IFSA-Butler program services abroad are in effect between the program start date and program end date on the program calendar. Course Registration – p. 16 As an IFSA-Butler participant, you are required to undertake a full course load at your host university and to follow its regulations for degree-seeking students, including taking exams where applicable. Types of Courses Permitted – p. 18 IFSA-Butler does not allow students to take graduate courses, courses for audit, online courses or courses for pass/fail instead of a grade, unless that is the only way the course is assessed. Special Exam Arrangements – p. 19 You may not reschedule an exam, request alternate assessments or arrange to have your exams proctored in the United States. If you do, IFSA-Butler will not conduct an academic query or follow-up on the class in which you arranged an alternate exam or assessment. Transcript Alterations – p. 20 The final Butler University transcript is a legal document. Butler University cannot alter any grade, course title or credit allocation. Withdrawing from the Program – p. 21 IFSA-Butler may allow a student to leave the program early only in cases of severe medical or personal problems, and only for circumstances approved by your host university. Otherwise, IFSA-Butler does not report grades as incomplete. An incomplete or “absent” grade will be reported on your Butler University transcript as a fail.
Tuition and Housing Supplemental Fees – p. 23-24 Many universities in England impose supplemental fees for enrollment in some departments or for certain housing options. IFSA-Butler will pass along tuition and housing supplemental fees to the student’s billing address after the student has arrived abroad—in some cases, the bill may arrive toward the end of the student’s time abroad or even after the student has returned home. Supplemental costs for each program’s tuition and housing are clearly outlined on our website, www.ifsa-butler.org. It is the student’s responsibility to investigate potential supplemental costs before going abroad, and for discussing these costs with parents, financial aid officers and home university study abroad advisors. Host University Withdraw Fees – p. 24 Some universities in England have instituted very strict withdraw policies, particularly for summer programs. The policies vary between universities but generally require students to pay a large penalty for withdrawing from the program after a specified date. These withdraw policies are clearly outlined on our website, on housing forms (in cases where penalties are tied to housing fees) and are also detailed in predeparture emails from our program advisors. Payment Due Dates and Financial Deadlines – p. 25 Please note the important payment due dates for England on page 25. IFSA- Butler charges a $45 late fee for late payments. Delinquent Payments – p. 25 If we do not receive financial aid documentation or your full payment by the payment deadline listed above, you will be withdrawn from our program. You will not be refunded your $500 program deposit or the cost of your airline ticket.
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Financial Aid Payments – p. 26 If you plan to apply financial aid toward the payment of the IFSA-Butler program fee, you must send us a copy of your contractual/consortium agreement (from your financial aid officer) and a copy of your financial aid award letter and/or loan guarantees. These documents should indicate the amount of financial aid award and its disbursal date. Program Contract All students receive an IFSA-Butler program contract in their acceptance packet. Program participants must sign the program contract before departure. Academic and Housing Contracts – p. 18, p. 47 Once abroad, all students must read and sign IFSAButler’s academic and housing contracts.
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The orientation in London that we had before we went to our universities was extremely helpful. It allowed us to get our bearings before we jumped straight into classes and we also got to know people that were going to be attending the school with us before we got on to the campus. –Ryann Greenberg, Wittenberg University University of Sussex
I N F O R M AT I O N
Information Resources Travel Resources Buy a good guidebook or visit reliable travel websites. We highly recommend both the Lonely Planet Guide and the Rough Guide. Be sure to consult guides and websites that are geared to the budget traveler. We also recommend Culture Shock! Britain. It’s an entertaining guide to customs and etiquette. See the following websites before departure: • IFSA-Butler: www.ifsa-butler.org • IFSA-Butler England Office: www.england.ifsa-butler • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travel Page:www.cdc.gov/travel. Check out the current health recommendations for England and any other countries you are considering visiting. • U.S. State Department Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP): https://step.state.gov/step/ • The Lonely Planet: www.lonelyplanet.com. • U.K. Embassy in the United States: www.britainusa.com. • English Heritage: www.english-heritage.org.uk/default.asp. • Direct Gov: www.direct.gov.uk.
Films • The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel • Elizabeth • Four Weddings and a Funeral • The King’s Speech • Harry Potter series • My Week with Marilyn • Quartet • The Queen • The Remains of the Day Television • Blackadder • Broadchurch • Coronation Street • Doctor Who • Downton Abbey • Eastenders • Gavin and Stacey • Life on Mars • Miranda • Mrs. Brown’s Boys • The Monarch of the Glen
News The following sites are great places to start the search for British news: The Independent: www.independent.co.uk Guardian Unlimited: www.guardian.co.uk BBC Online: www.bbc.co.uk Books This is a short introductory list. Be sure to buy a good guidebook as well. The Black Album–Hanif Kureishi Brit-think/Ameri-think–Jane Walmesley The Buddha and Suburbia–Hanif Kureishi The coast road : a 3,000-mile journey round the edge of England–Paul Gogarty I Never Knew that About England–Christopher Wynn Notes From a Small Island–Bill Bryson
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English Glossary What Americans Say
What the English Say
apartment backpack bathroom biscuit broil buck (dollar) business suit call, call up candy cell phone check (restaurant) chips (potato) cigarette closet college dear dessert doctorâ€™s office drug store drunk eraser faucet first floor French fries garbage garbage can garter belt gasoline, gas graduate student ground beef ham hike Jello knackered mail, mailbox major nurse pants post professor (university)
flat rucksack W.C., toilet, bath, loo scone grill quid (pound) lounge suit ring, phone sweets mobile phone bill or cheque crisps fag (slang) cupboard university expensive pudding doctorâ€™s surgery chemist, pharmacy pissed, gassed rubber tap ground floor chips rubbish, refuse dustbin, rubbish bin suspenders petrol postgraduate student mince gammon ramble, hillwalk jelly tired post, postbox course or reading subject sister trousers mail lecturer
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What Americans Say
What the English Say
rain boots raincoat restroom round trip ticket school sidewalk sneakers/tennis shoes snog soda/cola sugar sweater swimsuit thumbtacks trunk (car) two weeks underpants undershirt vest wake up (in a.m.) yard
wellies Mackintosh public convenience return ticket elementary school pavement trainers kiss fizzy drink castor sugar jumper bathing costume drawing pins boot fortnight pants, knickers vest waistcoat knock up garden
English Food and Drink Don’t miss these traditional (and some not-so-traditional!) foods during your semester, summer or year in England: Apple cider: English cider appears in many different variations and often has small amounts of alcohol. Bangers and mash: Sausage and mashed potatoes. Black Pudding: Sometimes called blood pudding, this is a black sausage eaten at breakfast. Cheese: Cheddar, Stilton and Cheshire are the traditional English favorites, but imports from throughout Europe are also tremendously popular. Chicken tikki masala: Believe it or not, the national dish of England! This orange-colored dish includes chunks of chicken marinated in cream and spices. Cottage pie: Similar to shepherd’s pie, but made with beef instead of lamb. Crumpet: Similar to what Americans would call an English muffin, but lighter and more yeasty—and the English don’t cut them open! Curries: Britain’s influx of immigrants from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh has made food from southeast Asia immensely popular. “Curry” is generally used as an umbrella term for any Indian dish, and the most popular varieties are similar to those available in the U.S., including biryani, vindaloo, kofta, korma and tandoori. Fish and chips: Available everywhere! Cod, haddock, huss, and skate are the most popular fish available. Lamb: Lamb is more common in England than in the U.S. It is served in a variety of ways, from traditional chops to minced versions in meat pies, to diced portions in Indian and other ethnic dishes. Lemonade: Traditional English lemonade is pale and much more tart than the U.S. version. Shepherd’s pie: Made with minced lamb and vegetables topped with mashed potato. Tea: Learn to love it! Tea is served in all varieties and throughout the day in England. Toad in the Hole: Sausages baked in Yorkshire pudding batter, usually served with vegetables and onion gravy. Yorkshire pudding: A basic, baked batter, traditionally served with roast beef and gravy.
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About Us Institute for Study Abroad The Institute for Study Abroad is a nonprofit organization founded at Butler University to provide high-quality study abroad opportunities, plus academic and personal support services, for qualified U.S. undergraduates seeking to earn academic credit through study abroad. While the Institute for Study Abroad is affiliated with Butler University, it is not a department of the University. IFSA-Butler is organized to assist our students from the time they apply until after they return. Staff at the IFSA-Butler U.S. office and around the world are committed to our students. We help them develop realistic expectations and adjust easily to the very different student lifestyles and academic expectations of their host institutions. For a list of programs available in Argentina, Australia, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czech Republic, Egypt, England, India, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Scotland, Spain and Wales please visit our website at www.ifsa-butler.org.
Butler University Butler University is a nationally recognized, comprehensive university encompassing six colleges: Arts, Business, Communication, Education, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Together, these colleges offer more than 60 undergraduate majors, eight pre-professional majors, one first professional and 18 masterâ€™s degrees. Approximately 4,700 students are enrolled at Butler University, representing 45 states and 52 countries. Approximately 77 percent of Butler University students will have participated in some form of internship, student teaching, clinical rotation, research or service learning by the time they graduate. In addition to this professional experience, Butler University students develop lifelong skills in critical thinking, effective communication, cooperative teamwork and ethical decision making. Butler University endeavors to prepare students not simply to make a living, but to live lives of purpose in which personal flourishing is intertwined with the welfare of others.
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IFSA-Butler Directory London Office Lynne Alvarez, Senior Resident Director Andrew Williams, Senior Resident Director Oxford and Wales Richard Hull, Senior Programme Administrator Gloria Reina, Programme Administrator Joshua Carney , Programme Administrator Emily Nicholson, Operations Administrator Belinda Beggs, Senior Accounts Administrator Aaron Sait, Office Administrator Toll free (within U.K.): 0808 528 885 England Office (from U.S.): 011-44-207-792-8751 Email: email@example.com Website: http://england.ifsa-butler.org Address: IFSA-Butler WeWork Paddington 2 Eastbourne Terrace London W2 6LG England U.S. Office Local: 317-940-9336 Toll free: 800-858-0229 Fax: 317-940-9704 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.ifsa-butler.org Address IFSA-Butler 6201 Corporate Drive, Suite 200 Indianapolis, IN 46278
Published on Nov 1, 2017