Eileen O’Neill - 2015 Program Participant

St. Patricks Day celebration in Dublin, Ireland

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day in Dublin

Why did you decide you wanted to study abroad?

I wanted to gain experience and a new perspective of the business world. I also love to travel, so it was a perfect fit.

Why did you choose London and what did you like best about it?

London is one of the biggest financial hubs in the world and I felt that I would be able to learn things I wouldn't be able to otherwise. I loved how close we were to the tube and I was able to walk to class everyday.

What characteristic of your program made it unique?

We took some classes with American students and some at a local university. It was the best of both worlds.

What surprised you most about London?

What surprised me the most about London was probably how big it was. I am from Chicago, IL, so I am used to being around a big city, however, London is something else; I loved it though. Since it was so huge it made exploring new areas so easy!

What is one thing you wish you would have known before studying abroad in England?

I wish I would have known to plan trips well in advance. I could have saved a lot of money by doing that. The spontaneous trip here and there is fine, but if you know you and a group of friends have to go to a specific country, book it within the first few weeks.

How did local staff support you throughout your program?

The staff was awesome! They planned so many fun activities for us and wanted us all to be involved.

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

I wish I would have planned out some of my trips in advance to save money.

Describe a day in the life of your program.

I would usually wake up and grab a coffee at the local coffee shop on my way to class. Then I would sit in the parks in between class or after if it was a nice day and write in my journal. Then I would try to spend my free time exploring London or checking out a museum.

What did you like doing on your free time?

I loved shopping at the different markets around London; from food to clothes, they had the coolest stuff!

What was the hardest part about studying abroad?

The hardest part about studying abroad was making time to do everything you wanted. I went in with one to-do list and everyday I discovered something new I wanted to try. There is SO many activities and sites to be seen, it's hard to fit it all in with classes. Other than that, the week abroad takes some adjusting as to be expected. Once you have the hang of it though, there is nothing that can stop you.

What type of accommodation did you have? What did you like best about it?

We stayed in a student living center, similar to apartments. They were quite small and we shared with another person, and shared a kitchen with our whole floor. However, it was nice to be able to get cozy with people and make big meals together. When it felt too cramped, it only made me go out and explore!

Red phone booth near Big Ben in London, England

London Calling

How has studying abroad impacted your life?

I have a much better sense for planning and managing my money. I’ve done more exploring of the places near where I live; I try to make the most out of my time every single day.

If you could study abroad again, where would you go?

I would go to Italy. I did not make it there in my travels and have always wanted to go. I could definitely see myself taking a vacation there.

What do you feel the biggest benefit of studying abroad is?

Getting out of your comfort zone and truly embracing your own independence. I made it a goal to do things that scared me or that were uncomfortable, because honestly this is the time to do those things.

You won't have an opportunity like this ever again, so make every second count!

Do you have any packing tips for individuals headed to London?

Invest in a pack of space bags. Those things helped me fit double the amount of clothes in my luggage. Also, bring old t-shirts and undergarments that you can throw away at the end of your trip. That way you will have room for the things you buy abroad.

Would you recommend IES Abroad to other students?

Yes, IES Abroad London is a great program and our staff was so helpful. They really made my experience better. They go above and beyond to prepare you for your trip and are there with you the whole way even when you get back home.