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CISabroad participants CISabroad participants
Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    N/A

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

Summer in London 2012

My summer in London was amazing! My internship, although not what I expected, was amazing. I was able to participate in an opportunity that I would have never gotten to in the US. Who can say they helped plan an award show?! My host family was amazing! Getting to experience London in a Summer full of many events such as the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee was amazing. Definately a once in a life time experience, and I wouldn't have changed a single thing about it!

Living Situation:
The family was amazing, they really made me feel like a member of their family and were very helpful with getting around London.

Cultural Immersion:
My family was multi-cultural as well as working in a office full of native londoners who were from different cultures.

Program Administration:
Very helpful when needed and were able to handle any issues with the program

Health and Safety:
I felt very safe where I lived although I perferred to not travel late at night by myself.

Social Life:
My family really kept me involved in events and I was still able to spend time with people from the program. The group of friends I made spent a lot of time together going out and sight seeing together. The only problem was my house was away from many in the group.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    N/A

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Wonderful Experience!

This was the experience of a lifetime and I feel so fortunate to have been in London for all of the exciting cultural events that have taken place this summer. My whole experience was wonderful, and I couldn't have asked for more!

Living Situation:
The host family was very kind and hospitable.

Cultural Immersion:
I was able to live and work among Londoners, which made this a new cultural experience for me.

Program Administration:
The program was excellent in my opinion, and I am very satisfied with it.

Health and Safety:
I felt very safe throughout my stay.

Social Life:
I was able to meet other students in the same program who shared similar interests and we were able to experience many London attractions.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Great Experience with some pitfalls

Overall, I loved this experience and what it gave me in the long haul. My internship placement was AMAZING and I would not have traded it for anything. I was fortunate enough to have the closest location to travel to, just about 5 stops on the tube and a 5 min walk, which I couldn't say for everyone else in the program. Even now, almost 3 years later I'm still so happy I was able to have this experience and work with the best people.

In terms of living accommodations, we weren't exactly in Central London, we were just south of it. The rooms were small and thankfully I didn't have to share it with anyone or it would've been extremely cramped. It was also just not as amazing as I thought it would be. The fact that it was just a short walk from the tube was probably one of the best things going for them. But to have that living situation to have the internship placement was worth it in my opinion. Some air conditioning would've been appreciated though.

I also would've liked if we had more than just 1 or 2 optional excursions that were free of charge.

In terms of safety, I felt very safe where we were staying, even being out late at night. Maybe since I'm from the New York area I wasn't so fearful of anything because nothing is like New York. Overall I would recommend this program to a friend, but let them know that they need to prepare to adjust to the living accommodations.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    6

  • Health and Safety

    7

  • Social Life

    9

england

the program was great! they provided good housing and support throughout. It was worth the money but I wish that there was more provided than just housing and the internship. there was not a lot of excursions included. This was a great experience and I recommend it.

Living Situation:
The flat is nice and luckily we only had four people in what should have been a 5 person flat. I think that there would not have been enough room if there was 5 people

Cultural Immersion:
The program on the first few days were good, but I wish that they had provided us with more trips like they did with those who were studying here. When I applied for the dublin program it included several excursion and this program did not include any outside of the first few days, which was disappointing.

Program Administration:
There was a bit of confusion before leaving to come and it was difficult to get information about the VISA process because it was so delayed I was stressed and confused. It would often take a few days to get an answer to an email and I was told about police requirements a week before I left which was not enough time.

Health and Safety:
The neighbor we lived in was safe, but it was a little scary at first.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    N/A

  • Living Situation

    4

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    N/A

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Housing

Housing was located in Central London. Facilities offered at housing (Gym and breakfast) were great to have. Actual rooms too small to share with two people would have been more comfortable as singles or put in bigger rooms.

Living Situation:
Offered a fully equipped gym was a great facility to be able to use. Although the rooms were extremely tiny and shared, would have been more comfortable to not have shared rooms. Sharing rooms would be fine if bigger. Also a community kitchen isn't what was described to us, community kitchen closed early having one available 24-7 would be nice.Location was in central london which gave easy access to all sites in London.

Cultural Immersion:
Living in central London made it easy to get out and see all of London. Immersing ourselves in the culture was offered often by the on site staff, inviting use to museums, pubs, and letting us know events going on in London.

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    8

  • Living Situation

    4

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Satisfied

Very happy with my 8 weeks in London. One of the best experiences I ever had.

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    N/A

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    1

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

CIS Summer Intern in London: 7/10

CIS's Summer Intern in London is good because it allows you to have 2 months of relatively unrestrained adventures in London. However, there isn't much else to it. The class is very easy, the homestays are low-key, and the internships are hit-or-miss.

DO THIS PROGRAM IF:

--you want lots of free time.
--you have a boyfriend/family in England you want to see.
--you are the kind of person who can explore a new city on their own.
--you don't want to be held back by lots of program obligations.
--you have a good bit of spending money.
--you can't find the extra $3,000 for AIFS or Dream Careers.
--you are looking for a relatively normal internship, such as working for a newspaper, mental health clinic, or law firm.


DON'T DO THIS PROGRAM IF:

--you are looking for an internship that is hard to come by (especially theater or psychology research).
--you aren't comfortable doing new things/going new places on your own.
--you are looking for serious classwork.
--you are looking to get credit for the class or financial aid from outside your university. The course does not take place at an actual university, which makes it extremely difficult to get aid or credit. The class is through Anglo-American Educational Services.


THINGS TO KNOW:

-You will not be provided with transportation to or from the airport as stated on the website
-Staff will be very uninvolved
-You will be largely responsible for making this experience worth your money. You will need to get out and do the city on your own; don't wait for something to be organized
-The syllabus you actually receive will likely be nothing like the one they give you ahead of time


TIPS FOR WORKING WITH CIS:

-If something is not right, speak up IMMEDIATELY and be persistent.
-Don't assume anything. Ask for specifics.
-Use the UK Border Agency's instructions for visa applications, not CIS's.
-Try to find someone you know to live with; it will make a huge difference financially.

Living Situation:
My host family was very understanding of the fact that I was in and out of the house at strange hours, and left dinner out on the stove for me. They were also very good about helping me figure out how to get particular places, and were also very pleasant to chat with during meal times.

However, I wish that there had been an option to not have meals included in the housing price. It was extremely inconvenient to drop what I was doing, take the tube to my homestay for an hour, eat, and then take the tube back into the city for an hour to do or see something. Most nights, I stayed out and ate Tesco sandwiches instead of returning home to eat.

Cultural Immersion:
Although the location of my homestay was annoyingly far away from my internship, class, and anything to do, it gave me a realistic idea of what living in London would be like for me if I actually moved there. As someone who was (and still is) seriously considering living in London long-term, it was nice not to have an idealized experience in which I lived in a spacious dorm in central London with other friendly students.

Program Administration:
This program was extremely disorganized. There were many different parties involved who seemed not to have talked to each other at all. The course instructor didn't know what course content students had been promised by CIS (such as professional development seminars and other internship-related content, which never happened, or excursions to places that would normally cost money), and the program director seemed to have no idea that CIS's promises were not being fulfilled in the class. It was only when the group complained loudly and as a whole that excursions costing more than 5 pounds were added to the class itinerary.

Also, despite website claims that CIS staff calls hundreds of internship locations to find the perfect internship for each student, it seemed that little real searching had been done. In many cases, it seemed like the first placement that worked was chosen without any further searching. One student had a placement in journalism simply because his major was "Media, communications, and journalism"; despite the fact that his real interest (as stated in his paperwork and interview with CIS) was on the "media" side in radio. Similarly, my internship in psychology was very clinical, despite my having written in several places on my application "I cannot stress how much I would not like a placement in a clinical setting." Although I enjoyed my placement and learned from it anyways, it would have been nice for it to contribute more to my research-oriented career path.

There are many other administrative horror stories that I will let my fellow students tell in their own feedback sections.

Just know that:
-you will not be provided with transportation to or from the airport as stated on the website
-staff will be very uninvolved
-you will be largely responsible for making this experience worth your money. You will need to get out and do the city on your own; don't wait for something to be organized
-the class will not be at a real university
-the syllabus you actually receive will likely be nothing like the one they give you ahead of time

Health and Safety:
I walked home at 4am in heels and a short skirt without issue. I got cat called a bit, but nothing serious. My neighborhood was quiet and usually empty, so I never felt threatened.

Social Life:
CIS didn't really facilitate friendships between students in the program, but since I have reasonably good social skills this wasn't a problem. I also befriended many locals, and those relationships were the best things about my trip to London. People won't talk to you, but if you talk to them, they usually open right up. So be brave.

Overall Rating

6/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    9

  • Living Situation

    1

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    2

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    8

Good experience, but wish I would have gone through different company.

Pre-departure information was unclear; almost did not receive visa on time because I did not receive the correct information. Living situation was not as promised, and the program was too expensive. I had a great internship experience, but the other factors brought down my experience as a whole.

Living Situation:
Living situation was falsely marketed. Was told they would be flats, have own bedroom. Rooms were small and un-accomodating.

Overall Rating

6/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    N/A

  • Living Situation

    4

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    5

  • Health and Safety

    6

  • Social Life

    9

Internship Experience, Living in London, Etc

Overall, my experience was very positive. I received an ideal internship placement working for an MP in the House of Commons and made valuable connections. Apart from the career benefits gained via these connections, I met fantastic and interesting people that I plan to remain in contact with for a long time. I was also exposed to many different perspectives on domestic and global issues, which have strongly influenced my views on government and public policy. I think that every American student should spend time abroad if at all possible because this experience has been invaluable for me and one that I will never forget.

I will add that my accommodations were less than ideal. I lived in Manor Park and had a roommate (an Italian student) when I first got there who subsequently moved out to seek better accommodations (both because of the location and because of issues he was having with the landlady/"host-woman?") He contacted his program advisor and was moved to a flat in Camden Town (great location) with several other international students for no extra cost. Had I been given this option I would have chosen it over the accommodations I was placed into. So, it may be more beneficial to pursue making your own accommodations if that is very important to you. It wasn't a huge factor for me, so I did not contact CIS for relocation and had no significant issues with the woman I lived with (though we rarely spoke to each other).

Living Situation:
I would have liked to have had options regarding my living situation. I live quite some distance from Central London (commute to work was one hour fifteen minutes on average) and lived with a woman who I could not have much conversation with (i.e. she got upset with me for bringing up intellectually challenging subjects, complaining that I gave her a headache by making her think after work).

Cultural Immersion:
I had, overall, a wonderful experience and, although CIS did little to facilitate that, it is my understanding that they do have staff members who are accessible to students throughout the process in case they run into problems or have trouble adapting. The interaction I did have with CIS employees and affiliates was very positive.

Program Administration:
I was very pleased with my internship placement and thoroughly enjoyed my experience. However, I have gathered from communicating with other students that many did not have the same experience (i.e. felt misled by the presentation of the program and found CIS relatively unhelpful in consoling their grievances). I think that the Program Administration should be reevaluated with priorities of managing students' expectations and preparing them initially (i.e. before the apply) for the possibility that they will not get an internship placement in their desired field and may end up with "undesirable?" living situations.

Health and Safety:
I never had any issues with safety and overall I felt safer than I do in my hometown. But I rated B because the area I lived in was known for being a dangerous area and some of the girls I spoke to who lived nearby took cabs from the station to their houses to avoid walking five minutes by themselves.

Social Life:
Met many awesome people.

Overall Rating

5/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    7

  • Living Situation

    1

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    1

  • Health and Safety

    5

  • Social Life

    1

Wait... What?

Overall I wouldn't change this experience I think overall it made me a stronger person. With that being said, I believe that if I had to go back and do this again I wouldn't. There were so many things promised on the website that just turned out not to be true. I think that overall on a grading scale I would give it a B- simply for the fact that I loved where I worked. I ended up with an absolutely amazing internship. It is hard to even explain the issues with the housing, plus never did anybody say that we would be living with people who weren't CIS students. This whole time we thought we'd be placed with people that came through CIS when really we found out that within our living there were at least 3 different organizations that people came through.

Living Situation:
The place that we were put up at was not good to say the least, it was far from work/underground stations, things that the website said about housing just weren't true.

Program Administration:
Our program administration in the states was fired while we were here and nobody even took the time to let us know. So here I was sending in the questions and looking for some answers and we got nothing back. It took about three and a half weeks before we heard anything from anyone. Very disappointing.

Health and Safety:
We were promised a safe in our room. Never ever had one.

Social Life:
There was nowhere to go, to go out we had to travel at least 25 min... so much for London being at our doorstep

Overall Rating

5/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    N/A

  • Living Situation

    2

  • Cultural Immersion

    5

  • Program Administration

    4

  • Health and Safety

    6

  • Social Life

    9

Not what it seems

The website was extremely misleading compared to what I was told I was going to receive and what I actually did receive when I got to London. There was HUGE miscommunication between the partnered study abroad programs (which I didn't know were partnered) and the whole thing was extremely disorganized. The one thing CISAbroad did manage to get right was my internship placement. It was an unforgettable experience that I will always appreciate. So if you can put up with subpar living arrangements and inaccurate facts but get placed in a great internship then consider CISAbroad. I would not recommend this study abroad program to my friends or fellow students, but nevertheless I'm extremely glad that I came.

Living Situation:
Comparing what was promised to us on the website compared to what we actually received in reality was extremely disappointing. For the amount of money that we paid I did not think was reflected where we lived. We did NOT live in central London, we did NOT have our linens changed weekly and I felt that I was misled.

Cultural Immersion:
We were promised multiple excursions that, according to website, made it appear that they would be included in our program fee. That was NOT the case.

Program Administration:
Our contact Heidi Kitson was great, but contact Kelly Anderson was not honest about what we were actually going to receive in London. Not to mention that there was no coordination between London SAE and CISAbroad. It was very shocking to me to learn that not everything was handled by CISAbroad and was actually being dealt with through London SAE. The fact that some participants paid $1000 LESS than I did and received the exact same treatment was EXTREMELY frustrating.

Health and Safety:
You just need to be savvy when you're walking around. If it's dark and you're a young female it's probably best if you take the bus home. It is not overtly dangerous, but you just need to be smart.

Social Life:
There are loads of pubs around that provide a great relaxing atmosphere. There are also lots of bars and clubs but you have to make sure you're in a good are for them.