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Old 09-17-2006, 11:19 AM   #1
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Hey, I plan on studying abroad for the Spring ’06 Semester, and I have a question to ask of any American students who has studied abroad in London.

My school offers a variety of options for studying in London. The option I plan on taking up is the “Semester-in-London” program. Basically, three to five professors from my home school take a group of around 45-50 students to study in London for the semester. All credits count towards your major requirements, unlike other London programs offered where the credits would only transfer.

The down side, obviously, is I will not be completely immersed in the cultural aspects of going to a British University. As such, I will be taught by American professors from my home school and also will be housed with American students from my home university.

The cost is far cheaper than the other programs, and the academic calendar is the same as most American schools; i.e, not on the slightly longer British system.

I’m seeking opinions from people who have studied abroad before, or maybe even participated in a program like this before and have some insight/advice.

Thanks,
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Old 09-17-2006, 11:57 AM   #2
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Hi there and welcome!

I have studied abroad before on several continents in various types of programs (not London yet, though I'll be doing a semester there like you in the spring!) and can offer you my insight.

You have laid out the drawbacks of an American program abroad exactly: it's easy to get sucked into hanging out with your peers/living with them/traveling with them, etc. and not meeting locals. But in terms of academics: yeah, it tends to be difficult to get American universities to approve a full on exchange and let you enroll in a university and get the credits to transfer. Short of being on a 4+ year plan (which I wasn't) and having even more money, or transfering to a university abroad, it normally makes the most sense to participate in your own school's program, or at least another American school's program.

You don't elaborate on what your other options are. If it's doing your school's program or not going at all, of course, by all means go. You will still get more of a cultural experience abroad than if you just stay on campus in the US. If you can live on your own in London, I would recommend that, and getting involved in things there to meet others besides your American peers is always a good idea. That's always my plan and what I'll be doing once I get there.

Feel free to ask more specific questions!
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Old 09-17-2006, 12:48 PM   #3
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Well, my school offers roughly four or five “other” London programs, which would enroll you for the semester in a British University. I believe some of the options are Bath U, Lancaster U, and the London School of Economics and Politics (not really an option for me because I’m an English major!)

All the credits taken at any of these study abroad programs will count as credits towards my degree, however, they won’t fulfill my “major” requirements, with the exceptions of the “semester-in-london” program since it is taught by home campus professors. I don’t know how your school works, but at mine, or most in America, you need roughly 11-12 courses in your area of study on top of all the other classes one is usually required to take.

Another nice addition to the “s-i-l” program is classes are only offered on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, so you have infinite travel possibilities with the 4-day weekend. Also, included are various trips around London – theatre, historical sites, stonehenge,
and also two weekend trips to France with everything included. The cost is also cheaper, and also since the semester runs like an American semester, you go from the last week in January until May 8th, roughly, with a 17-day Spring Break in April.

I’m just curious to speak to someone who has done a program like this and get his/her feedback on it. I can’t imagine they’d say, “Don’t do it!” but one never knows.

I plan on doing A LOT of weekend trips all over Europe, either by myself to start, or with other students in my program. I think, perhaps, non-British students would be more interested in traveling on the weekends since all of this will be new and fresh to them. Anyway, thanks for the feedback thus far!
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Old 09-17-2006, 02:50 PM   #4
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Go with whatever is most important to you. If having a British immersion experience is something you were dead set on when you decided to study abroad, then do one of the other programs. But really, the study in London one sounds pretty good what with the cheaper price, better units and 4 day weekends. Just make an extra effort to join British clubs on campus and get involved with university life.
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Old 09-18-2006, 12:28 AM   #5
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It sounds like a pretty good balance of getting the courses you need and having a chance to look around the country (and others). I would definitely agree that you'll have to make an effort to meet locals and people who aren't in your programme, but it's not like you won't be able to speak to the local population. Since it can be difficult to break out of the herd mentality once you are in, I'd recommend making a list of things you want to do at the weekends, do some research about uni clubs on your new campus and see which ones you want to join so that you meet other people right from the start.

My perspective on this is as a spouse of a military person stationed overseas. With such a compact American community, I've noticed that a lot of people look to the base to fulfill all their needs, and (in Japan, for example), many people never really left the base - except to go to the McDonald's downtown! It's easier and more comfortable to hang out with people who are somewhat familiar, and going through the same sense of displacement as you are, and there is a kind of inertia to it, too - everyone EXPECTS you to hang with them. Being somewhat ornery (as well as madly curious), I've always kind of rejected that security and tried to see as much as I could of the country in which I'm living, but there are always those who scoff or criticize (you send your kids to the LOCAL school? But how will they learn American history? - Hmmm, actually, they READ!) So if you go in with a get-out-there attitude, it'll be much easier to buck the herd mentality and you'll probably meet one or two other people from your group that you enjoy exploring with - nothing wrong with that, just so long as you don't travel in packs the whole time.

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Old 10-28-2006, 10:01 PM   #6
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Check out www.isep.org
They have exchange programs in a number of countries across the globe. I'm currently on exchange in Fiji. Been here since July with only 1 month left. Its great to be completely immersed in a culture. Just wondering how to deal with going back to the states.....uggggghhhh
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