When I first arrived in Reading, the most difficult challenge I faced was finding a line-up of courses which I had not previously taken back home in the US. Being an upper-class student going into Reading can be quite challenging, because Reading University is only designed for 3-year students, so course options can be very limited by the time Randolph/US University students arrive in third year.
I had so much trouble putting together a course schedule that worked, that my course selections were based merely on what I COULD take, rather than what I wanted to take. Eventually I made a schedule that worked, but my professors would add extra meetings, or on one occasion, my professor actually FORGOT to come to class and had to reschedule for a different day. The result was that all my courses over-lapped and I missed important classwork.
The courses were nothing but challenging though, and certainly put my brain power to the test. I took strong interest in each class I eventually signed up for, and found myself rather eagerly awaiting classes each week. Professors were always simple to contact, and remained after class for questions. I found even for my enormous lecture classes, my professors learned my name just because I took the time to approach them. I definitely would encourage any future students to take the time to initiate conversation with each professor.
The rest of the program was the most comfortable and amazing experience I could have hoped for while living abroad. The staff was excellent at catering to the students' needs, and supported us as we ventured into the community. Reading can be at times a dangerous town to be out in, very unlike the area of the US which I was fortunate enough to grow up in. All students I had the opportunity to meet carried assault alarms with them, something I never felt I needed to carry prior to my time in Reading. As long as students remain cautious, Reading is a safe enough town, and has its charm.
This review/comment section was not meant to sound so negative along the lines of scheduling and safety in the community, but I'd like future students to be aware of the potential difficulties which may arise during a study abroad session here, or anywhere for that matter.