You know when you look forward to something all your life and when it happens, its a disappointment?
Well this was the complete opposite. I had been dreaming of living in London all my life and the program exceeded all expectations. I cannot stress enough how much London has impacted. I went in the Fall.
FIE is set up in a way that half the time you are studying with professors and half the time you are placed in an internship. For the studying portion, I had really great professors like Dr. Carolina Valiente who was great Finance professor. I also had the chance to fulfil a passion of mine and take street photography. Because of that class, I realized how much I had been keeping my creative side dormant and now I even have my own graphic design freelance business on the side!
For internship portion, they say we will get to experience diverse professional settings and boy did I ever. I was placed in Mercato Metrapolitano-an vibrant food market- where I got to work with Italians who fed me and talk me essential Italian phrases like dov'è il bagno or Posso avere più vino. It so happens that an independent cinema owner-Backyard Cinema (recommend everyone attends a showing) also shared space in the market. Me as a cinema lover was so excited with the unique experience that I asked if I could also work with them in my time off so I can attend showings and in no time I was participating in the brainstorming of their next season! It was so exciting, I still keep up with them from time to time. Don't be afraid to ask for opportunities, the worst thing they can do is say no.
The best recommendation I can give anyone is to not be afraid to experience. I went to 7 countries in the short four months I was there and trust me, if I had more time the number would have doubled. I recommend if you are booking a flight, not to be afraid of using nearby airports like Gatwick, Luton or Stansted because tickets tend to be cheaper even if you include the transportation cost of going back to South Kensington. Explore beyond South Kensington, places like Elephant and Castle and Brixton are gems of their own. Never check bags, it is time consuming and stay in hostels! I met so many great people who went exploring with me around the different cities!
Also, don't be afraid to go by yourself to the study abroad trip. You will make friends with the people you live. I knew nobody coming to London and to this day, my flatmate became my best friend. In fact my favorite memory was in one of those nights out, we went out to celebrate, got lost in the process, figured out the bus system (back when Piccadilly line was not 24-hours) and bar hops around London.
All in all, use all the time you have, it is gone in an instant!