I studied abroad at the University of Westminster in London the summer of 2010. The experience was three weeks in a class called Literary London. I came to the study abroad feeling nervous about traveling alone, I didn't know anyone else in the program, and this was only my second time outside of the country. My short three weeks in London pushed me outside of my comfort zone, gave me independence, and taught me so much about literature and myself. I made some amazing friends I would have otherwise never met, or bonded so closely with. There is something about being out of your comfort zone that pushes you toward each other and helps you connect in a way that is so special. There were several programs studying at University of Westminster. (It is important to note that Londoners do not attend school in the summer, it was all students studying abroad. Mostly American but I met people from Russia, Asia, etc. So if you are looking to make friends with natives it's difficult to do in summer programs. Not impossible, but harder. The summer is a different experience for sure.) Being there as an API student made all the difference. As an API student I attended the school field trips to spectacular places with all of the other students at Westminster. But I also took SEVERAL extra field trips and activities with the API students and my API mentor. I got so much more out of my trip because I had the opportunity to do so much more....for FREE. (Well of course it's in the cost of your tuition.) I had support available to me 24/7 from my API mentor. Not that I needed it. I felt completely safe, and this is important to note coming from me. I am a perpetually nervous person. I had no concerns whatsoever being in the major city of London. I loved it! I was a tube ride away from school each morning, and the location was so close to all of the major shopping and city life of London. There was so much to do! I went out almost every night with friends, and had a blast enjoying all of the diverse foods available and the exciting adventures in the city. Now don't let that fool you. The course work is challenging! I took the class Literary London, which involved reading novels set in the city and taking field trips to the locations in the novels. What I appreciated most about the program is that my teacher would take us on field trips, buy the class cups of coffee and talk to us about our experiences and share her own. It was a small class in the summer and we got to know each other very well. It really helped in the learning process. You should keep in mind that grading is different in England and their expectations are much higher. I came to England with a 3.89 GPA and I really had to work to make an English B. (Which does get changed when you come home. I received an official A on my transcript.)But the best difference was that the final paper was due after the class was finished. I wrote my paper on the plane ride home. So I still had the freedom to go out and experience the city while I was there. I really appreciated that. My time in London gave me independence, I am no longer nervous to travel abroad by myself, I have the confidence that I can make my way in difficult situations. I made amazing friends. You may be nervous if you don't know anyone, but remember everyone is in that same boat. You tend to gravitate to each other. Making friends just isn't an issue, and when you do the bond is for life. I may not talk to them or see them everyday. But we will always have London. The class was challenging and pushed me to work harder than I ever have in normal class...but nothing compares to being in the city where your novels are set. London is a magical city with history steeped in every pore. You can walk the streets and picture people over the past few hundred years doing the same. Going through API I had the opportunity to do more and see the city, which after all was the main reason I was there.