Amanda Goldberg - 2015 Program Participant
Visiting the Guinness Brewery in Dublin, Ireland
Why did you decide to apply for an international program?
I decided to apply for an international program in order to see more of the world than my small college town. I had traveled abroad before, but was never able to become fully immersed in another culture for an extended period of time. I wanted to experience life as a resident of another city, as well as have the chance to travel to other countries in Europe.
Why did you choose to IES Abroad’s program in London?
I chose my specific program because of the courses offered, the small class sizes, and the helpfulness of the IES Abroad London staff.
What was your favorite part about studying abroad in London?
My favorite part about studying in London was always having the opportunity to do something new. I had been to London twice before, and still was able to find new things to see. I still haven't been able to experience all that London has to offer, simply because there is so much to do.
What makes the IES Abroad London program unique?
My program is unique because of the opportunity to direct enroll into an English university for one course. I was able to take four classes at the study center with other international students, and also take one course at City University with local students. I had the best of both worlds, the support system of abroad staff with the added value of being able to experience a local school.
In what ways did the IES Abroad London staff support you throughout your program?
The IES Abroad London staff were great with many things, but their ability to help with medical needs stands out. The center is very helpful with scheduling medical visits and making sure your needs are met when you're ill. Additionally, the staff was very helpful with the transition of moving to a different country, and then when preparing to move back home. We were divided into smaller groups with different mentors and had monthly meetings to make sure that everyone was adjusting well. This also helped everyone make friends.
Taking the Harry Potter Studio Tour
What was your accommodation like in London?
I lived in a dorm called Nido. I liked that I was living with the students in my program. It was easy to make friends because we were all living in one central location. Also, the dorm was a block from King's Cross Station, so it was easy to get places.
Describe a day in the life of an international student in London.
During the week, I would leave my dorm, located near King's Cross Station, T around 9:15 a.m., in order to arrive at the IES Abroad Center for my 10 a.m. class. I had each class once a week at either 10 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. for two and a half hours each. I would usually take a city bus, other times I would walk or take the tube. In between classes, I would either visit the British Museum, located a block away, or get lunch around the center with a few friends. After classes were over, I would typically go back to the dorm to put my bag down, and then go explore the city.
What did you enjoy doing on your free time?
I enjoyed going to see West End shows.
What is one thing you wish you would have known before studying abroad in London?
I wish I had known about the student oyster card (for the Tube and buses) before arriving. If you fill out a form a few weeks before you arrive, your student oyster will be waiting when you get to the dorm. If you wait to apply until you get there, you will have to pay non student prices for about a week, which can be expensive.
What's one thing you wish you would have done during your time in London?
I wish I had visited more museums; they're free!
What was the hardest part about studying abroad?
The hardest part about studying abroad was adjusting to the course load of the UK. Instead of having three to four exams throughout the semester, everything is crammed into one or two papers, all at once.
Posing with horned and furry friends in Scotland
Do you have any packing tips for students headed to London?
Jeans, a rain coat is a must (and umbrella), adaptors for both the UK and the EU, one to two sweatshirts, one heavy coat and one medium weight jacket, rain boots, some going out clothes, a backpack, a duffle for weekend trips, vitamins, all prescription medication for the full length of the trip. Lastly, buy toiletries when you arrive!
How has studying abroad impacted your life?
I feel that I am more independent because of my experience abroad. I am now able to navigate large cities, feel confident in my ability to handle unexpected situations, and better understand people of other cultures.
What do you feel the biggest benefit of studying abroad is?
One of the biggest benefits of studying abroad is learning how to adapt in unexpended situations when you're out of your comfort zone. Study abroad exposes you to everything, from knowing which travel documents to have to knowing what to do when you're sick away from home to handling transportation issues.
Would you recommend IES Abroad to other students?
Yes, IES Abroad was extremely hopeful both before the trip and while in London. I also enjoyed the organized weekend trips.
If you could study abroad again, where would you go?
Probably Tel Aviv, Cape Town, or Sydney.