Ada Gu - 2014 Program Participant

International students enjoy the beach
Life’s better at the beach.

Why did you decide to apply for an international program?

Even before coming to Berkeley, I knew that I wanted to study abroad. In college, we crave adventure, excitement, new connections, and lifelong memories. Not only is London an amazing, vibrant city full of both history and modern flair, LSE has a prestigious world-wide reputation. Studying abroad allows students to not only learn from international leaders and scholars, but also gain exposure to different cultures and languages, collaborate with students from all around the world, and visit nearby countries.

What were your housing arrangements like in London?

I studied abroad for six weeks total, however I spent three weeks in Passfield, and three weeks in Rosebery. Both residencies were designed for summer school students, and had options for single or double rooms. Passfield was much smaller and had fewer students: we congregated in the central courtyard most nights to hang out, or make plans for the evening. Rosebery was much larger, with several tall apartments. Although I enjoyed staying at both, I really loved the small, tight-knit community of Passfield.

Describe a day in the life of your program.

It’s actually really difficult to describe a day in the life of my program, due to the diverse range of activities available in the city. However, on a typical school day, I would usually wake up around 6:30 a.m. to go for a quick run around the city. This could take me anywhere from Piccadilly Circus to the River Thames.

After a quick shower, I would head down to breakfast, where there was always an abundance of eggs, beans, bacon, bread, fruit, and of course, coffee. A 20 minute walk with friends would bring us to the front door of LSE, where we split off to attend our respective lectures. My classroom was large, with over 100 students in an auditorium. The professors were engaging and funny, and you could tell they truly cared about us, making sure we learned a lot while still having fun. Lunch, which was usually from Pret, Wagamama or another surprisingly affordable option, was usually eaten on the steps or grassy field behind the school.

After school, I would usually meet up with friends to go visit historical sites and museums, or bike to farmers markets and the River Thames. At night, we would go out for dinner, before going on a pub crawl, or going out in Soho, Leicester Square, or Piccadilly Circus.

Glass pyramid outside the Louvre in Paris, France
Art at the Louvre museum is all about perspective

LSE’s Summer School offers over 70 courses, why did you select MG106: Strategic Management and MG103: Consumer Behaviour: Behavioural Fundamentals for Marketing and Management?

I have always been interested in strategic management, however it’s really difficult to attend Haas Business School courses if you’re not a business major. LSE was the perfect place to take the courses I wanted with world class faculty and other students from around the world. I hope to take my GMAT and apply for an MBA after medical school.

What was your biggest takeaway from each course?

I loved MG106: Strategic Management. I think one of the greatest components of this course was the final project, where the class was separated into groups to analyze a company of their choice using tools from the class. I learned so much working with students from Spain, India and America, and analyzing how Uber was able to become so successful. I also loved learning from the case studies that were based on real companies in different industries. Overall, this course improved  my ability to apply concepts and theories to real business situations.

Having taken psychology in college, combining prior knowledge with questions related to how and why consumers and companies make decisions was fascinating and ultimately, extremely useful. MG103: Consumer Behavior, Behavioral Fundamentals for Marketing and Management pushed me to study and understand the psychological basis behind managerial decision making and consumer behavior.

What was your favorite part about London?

It’s almost impossible to pinpoint one favorite part about London. I think I loved every moment of my time there! However, the people that I met at LSE made my experience truly unforgettable. From traveling to different cities, to going out in London, visiting museums and eating dinner, my friends made every moment exciting and special.

Study abroad students
With other study abroad students

How did the local staff support you throughout your program?

Throughout the program, the local staff did a good job of hosting various social events, and making all the international students feel welcome in a foreign country. It was easy to change classes, find additional resources, and ask questions about the city and local culture.

What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?

I can’t really think of anything I would have done differently, except for bringing an extra suitcase for my new clothes and shoes!

What advice would you give to others interested in studying abroad during the summer at the London School of Economics?

Enjoy every moment that you have in London. Try to avoid spending more than a couple hours in your room at a time, there are so many people to meet, historic sites to visit, bar crawls to go on, restaurants to try, musicals to watch and farmers markets to browse. Take advantage of your weekends and travel to nearby countries, and don’t be afraid to reach out to your new friends.

Try and see as many shows as possible, take the underground to the outskirts of the city and research festivals, events and neighborhoods that you want to see and visit.

Make sure you take advantage of the incredible nightlife that London has to offer! They have immense clubs with amazing sound systems, hidden speakeasies, as well as more low-key bars and pubs. Going out really enables you to meet other LSE students and London locals, and gives you the opportunity to try ciders and beers that are exclusive to Europe.

Students in front of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, France
Visiting the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris

How has your experience studying abroad at LSE impacted your life?

Through LSE, I gained lifelong friends, visited amazing cities throughout Europe, enjoyed unforgettable nights out at clubs, bars and restaurants, and gained greater perspective on how to interact and collaborate with people from diverse backgrounds.

LSE has impacted my life tremendously, and I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity.

Additionally, I had some wonderful professors and small group leaders who provided insight into the business world, and helped me to further develop my interests in business and entrepreneurship.

Would you recommend your program to others? If yes, why?

I would definitely recommend this program to others! I loved studying abroad in London, not only did I take classes that were both practical and interesting, but I made lifelong friends, discovered the best bars and clubs in London, tried some truly amazing foods and delicious macarons from Laduree, as well as traveled to Barcelona, Paris, and Amsterdam in this once-in-a-lifetime experience.