I am surprised at how much I miss London. I didn't really think much of London when I first arrived at Heathrow, probably because I was never a huge Harry Potter fanatic. But after 3 whole months at Queen Mary, I can say that I grew to love London. This is mostly because of the friends I've made, countries I've visited, and adventures I've been on. Studying abroad at Queen Mary allowed me to be a part of a more integrative social hub, since I was living on campus with both locals and other international/exchange students. It was almost like I never left home since it's kinda like the living situations back in the states. But since Queen Mary is the only university that has a campus in London, it made my study abroad adventure a little more unique. It was a great way for me to make friends and the location was out of the way enough so that I wasn't constantly in the bustling city and that it was close enough for me to get to whenever I needed it. I have to say though, my most memorable moments are those that had me running for a bus, train, or coach, since I was always traveling. You could catch me in Edinburgh on Wednesday and Barcelona on Friday. Having the independence abroad really put me out of my comfort zone, but at the same time allowed me to grow and develop other valuable skills that made integrating myself in different countries easier. I definitely have better communication skills and time management skills (since I've had to plan out my trips to other countries on a regular basis).
Other than globe-trotting, I also had school. I took a biology, chemistry, psychology, and drama course, all of which were easily transferred back to my home institution. It was just challenging getting adjusted to the British standards in academia, but I quickly acclimated and found the perfect balance between school and travel. IES Abroad facilitated my studies Queen Mary and answered a lot of the questions I had! Since it was a direct enrollment program, IES did not do all the work, but helped me along every step of the way. When I could not get into one of the classes I needed to graduate, IES helped me email the global exchange office and facilitated the process. They were very supportive both abroad and back in the states. I would definitely love to study abroad again with IES Abroad!
My advice for those studying abroad there: pack light and actually listen to previous study abroad goers' advice! They really aren't kidding when you have to stay within weight limits on airplanes and you really won't want to throw away the souvenirs you bought at the airport!