IES Abroad London - Direct Enrollment
95% Rating
(11 Reviews)

IES Abroad London - Direct Enrollment

This is your chance to live and learn alongside students from the UK and around the world by directly enrolling at a prestigious London university: City University, Courtauld Institute of Art, Queen Mary, School of Oriental & African Studies, Slade School of Fine Art, and University College London. IES Abroad London is dedicated to enhancing your study abroad experience with superior student services and opportunities to fully experience life in London. Our staff in London will help you make the most of your experience abroad.

London will be your classroom. Involvement in the local community enriches your learning experiences and provides excellent opportunities for cultural integration. Each institution (except Courtauld) has a student volunteering program or club. Additionally, the IES Abroad London staff can provide you with volunteer opportunities once you are on-site.

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Program Reviews

based on 11 reviews
  • Academics 8.6
  • Support 8.7
  • Fun 8.8
  • Housing 9.6
  • Safety 8.8
Showing 1 - 11 of 11
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Study Abroad = A Dream Come True

Studying abroad in London had long been a dream of mine, and going there with IES Abroad helped me realize that dream. They made me feel supported, even before I left home. My advisor at their Chicago office answered any question I had (they emphasized "there are no stupid questions"). The London staff was friendly and were clearly there to make sure the experience went as smoothly as possible. They helped organize doctor's appointments for me and always had someone available via their emergency phone number. The academic advisor was very helpful in answering questions about the British university system, especially about University College London, where I was directly enrolled. Direct Enrollment was a great way to be immersed in London university life and I highly recommend it!!
One major draw of IES was the field trips they organized. They were well spaced out throughout the semester and brought me to several different places in England. They were also extremely affordable, especially for what was provided: lodging for the weekend trips, dinner on some of the trips, transportation, and top-notch tour guides. This made a huge difference to me. Brighton, for example, was a fun beach town that I definitely want to visit again. If not for the IES trip, I wouldn't have thought to go, especially if I had to organize lodging. Dover was another favorite of mine. I had heard about their white cliffs, but when IES brought us to the castle, I was blown away. It is well preserved and furnished, so you really got a feel for what it would have been like centuries ago. I returned with my history-buff boyfriend when he came to visit and it was his favorite part of his trip.
I would recommend IES solely based on their field trips, so the fact everything else was so good made for an incredible experience abroad!! And for more info on my experience, check out my blog:

How can this program be improved?
One disappointment was my flat, which was where all the IES student at UCL stayed. One of my friends was the only American in her flat, while mine had no British students whatsoever. I'm not sure how much control IES has over these room assignments, but I would have preferred to be immersed with the British students, as I can live with Americans at my home university.
Yes, I recommend
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A Unique Opportunity

Having studied in London for my first semester freshman year, I always knew I wanted to go back. The idea of returning to a place that was familiar suited me better than finding somewhere new and it allowed me to focus more on my studies and the school I enrolled in. The Courtauld, in the art history world, is known for being one of the best schools, and some would say it is the best.

In terms of resources, the Courtauld is unparalleled. The faculty are some of the best in their field, the library focuses solely on art, and the Courtauld gallery holds some of the most famous paintings in the world. London itself is a vibrant city for the arts, with its free national museums and smaller galleries waiting to be discovered. Not only did I study at the Courtauld, I spent much of my time around the city in various museums and I volunteered in a small exhibition space at Two Temple Place. The Courtauld, however, and this program with IES, is very much what you make of it. It’s an unusual and often-disorganized institution, meaning it is very much on you to make sure things happen, especially as a study abroad student. During 2014-2015, there were a total of eight study abroad students, including myself. The small size is fantastic for getting close to fellow students and professors but also means the Courtauld is less accustomed to dealing with temporary students than other, larger institutions might be. It’s merely a different way of doing things, but make sure this is what you want.

It’s also a very different academic system than in America. I took two courses per term and all of the work handed in for those courses wasn’t formally assessed. As an academic year student, my final grade was made up of my four exams and a 4000-word essay; this was beyond daunting to me and it does lend the time spent studying a different intensity than the workload at an American university might have. For semester students, the work produced in classes is assessed for a grade, but there is still much less of it than in the US. It’s given me a very different perspective on how people learn and how institutions chose to teach art history. The Courtauld’s had many of the greatest art historian’s pass through and they acknowledge that history and the mistakes its made along the way, able to critique its own methods.

Living-wise, I lived in King’s Cross, which is a great location and not far from virtually anything in central London by Tube. The rooms are small, yes, but you adjust surprisingly fast and again, it’s really what you make of the situation. Be prepared to cook and share a space with other students and be open to whatever happens. I made some great friends at the Courtauld and spent plenty of time with them and in their house, and this was a large part of what made my time at the Courtauld so enjoyable. I felt like I fit there and it was an amazing feeling to have after spending an entire year there.

If you’re looking for an intense and different study abroad experience, I definitely recommend the Courtauld for someone who’s adaptable and willing to work.

Yes, I recommend
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My Lovely London

I was never one of those students who dreamed of studying abroad. In fact, it was never part of the plan. But I'm always looking for a good adventure and I was inspired by some of the stories I heard from my friends and mentors, who eagerly encouraged me to apply to study abroad. And, you know what they say, the rest is history. With a little bit of luck, good fortune, and determination, I took the plunge and headed to London.
Five months after my plane touched down at Heathrow, I'd be lying if I said that my study abroad experience with IES Abroad and University College London (UCL) was anything shy of fantastic; almost too good to be true. London is truly a world class city. Whether I decided to take a walk through Covent Garden, visit the Kensington gardens, or strike up a conversation over a pint at the corner pub, I was sure to have a good time. My academics were also excellent. My professors were inspiring and my lectures were captivating and genuinely rooted in research, which I loved. I lived on UCL's main campus in dorms, which were perfectly located; I strolled past the British Museum on my way to class.
I fell head-over-heels in love with London and I made some wonderful friends who I am sure to keep in touch with. Take the plunge, just like me, and study abroad - you won't regret it!

Yes, I recommend
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The Best Way to Experience London

There are many programs to choose from when deciding where to study abroad and how to spend one's time in their chosen country, but I am convinced that choosing to study through IES' Direct Enrollment Program was the best choice I could have made. With Direct Enrollment, I hardly felt as though I was studying at Queen Mary for only one term--I had nearly full access to the module options, my assignments were graded the same as my peers and I lived in the halls with students both from my host country and from other countries.

The IES staff in Chicago and their counterparts in London were well-informed regarding any situation and questions students might (and did) have and they were fully prepared to help students have the best possible study abroad experience. IES also set up wonderful field trips that students could choose to go on.

Queen Mary has a very active social scene and it boasts on the biggest campuses complete with student housing in all of London; as you might have guessed, I was never at a loss for what to do with my free time, as had an abundance of friends around me at all times and as there i never "nothing to do" in London.

I had the absolute time of my life through IES Direct Enrollment in London and I would encourage anyone who is thinking about studying abroad to consider look at programs both in London and through IES.

How can this program be improved?
My options for classes and how open they were at the time of enrollment. I submitted class selections beginning in April and had to continue providing alternative options up until the time classes started because even though my advisors considered me to be qualified, the staff at Queen Mary kept saying that I had to choose another module.
Yes, I recommend
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A Wonderful Experience

Choosing to study abroad in London is one of the best decisions I've ever made. I was a direct-enrollment student at University College London (UCL) through IES. Direct-enrollment is different from most study abroad opportunities, as you are treated like a home student at your host university. It was great to partake in studies in a different university setting from what I had become accustomed to at my home school in America. I learned how university life differs between America and England. Involvement in UCL's societies enabled me to further enhance my learning as well as meet new people. I learned so much about cultures foreign to my own through immersing myself in the city surrounding me and making close friendships with people from all over the world. IES aided me greatly in the application process, hosted orientations to make me comfortable in a foreign country upon my arrival, as well as supported me during the entirety of the time that I studied abroad. Direct-enrollment studying abroad for a semester with IES was a fantastic experience that I'd highly recommend to all students.

Yes, I recommend
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When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.

London has almost everything you could ever ask for, and after living there for three months I truly believe there is no better place to live. As a whole, the program is very good. Every day you get to enjoy living less than 5 minutes from Kings Cross Station, which makes access to the rest of the city easy, and take classes at City University - most of which are easily manageable as long as you keep up with the lectures and reading. Most classes are at most a 2 hour long lectures with a short group class, allowing you ample time to explore the city the many sites and events the city has to offer every day. The IES staff makes you feel like family, which is very helpful when you're likely to be the farthest you've ever been from home.

How can this program be improved?
If there is anything I would change it would probably be the way scheduling is handled, because the process during the orientation at City is pretty unorganized. You schedule by paper, rather than by computer, before seeing the timetables, so I had a difficult time getting all the classes I wanted due to conflicts. The staff at IES helped me sort everything out, but my first week or so there was a little hectic and stressful due to this.
Yes, I recommend
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London Calling

In general, my experience abroad with IES was nothing short of fantastic. The housing situation was great and conveniently located. The academic program did not disappoint and the staff were not only warm and welcoming, but were able to help me out with a family emergency while abroad. I highly recommend IES for anyone considering studying abroad. You will not regret it.

How can this program be improved?
If I had to change one thing, it would be the housing setup. While the rooms were clean and very modern, they were incredibly tiny for two people to be living in them. I suggest that IES look into either bigger housing, or more chances for students to have singles.
Yes, I recommend
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The Theatre Capital of the World

I studied abroad at Mountview Academy for the Theatre Arts, and I couldn't have picked a better place to study theatre than London. The school is one of the most prominent theatre conservatories in the UK, and the school definitely lived up to its reputation.

The students were some of the most welcoming and friendly people I had ever met. As soon as they met me, they accepted me into their family with open arms, no questions asked.

Most schools abroad are lecture based and have a pretty manageable schedule, like Tuesdays and Thursdays 11-1 and 2-4 and Mondays and Wednesdays 12 - 3 or something like that. But the schedule at Mountview was 9-6 Monday through Friday every single day. They kept us very busy. The students were all incredibly talented and the teachers were brilliant, many of them still working professional performers. Because my residence hall was so far from campus, I had to make a forty minute commute there and back. This made it a little difficult to stay in touch with my classmates outside of school.

But even so, one of the best parts about the direct enrollment program was the freedom I had. After my first day of classes, IES basically said, "There you go! Have a fun time! Call us if you need us!" and that was that! So I was free to go sight seeing, plan weekend trips like Stratford-Upon-Avon and Dublin. I got to plan my own events and live by my own ambitions.

More than a learning experience, it was a growing experience. I traveled by myself, handled clothes and expenses by myself, provided for all my meals by myself, got lost in the city and found my way home by myself. It was like a rite of passage being dropped in a different city in a different country across the sea and to be able to hold my own. Without a doubt, the best three months of my life.

How can this program be improved?
With hindsight, I realized how much I wanted a roommate. As great an experience as it was being a broad, I feel like the experience would have been much richer to have someone to share it with, even though I didn't know it at the time.
Yes, I recommend
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The Real London Experience

I studied abroad through the IES direct enrollment program at Queen Mary college in the East End of London. I wanted to determine whether or not I want to study abroad in the UK for my postgraduate degree and also generally experience London life.

As for the East End, it is a wonderfully diverse area. A five minute tube ride west and a bit of walking, and you arrive at Spitalfields market, a historic place that has been--like a lot of London--modernized to reflect the fashion forward culture of the citizens. On Sundays, if you walk through the market and down a few back streets, you arrive at--my favorite place--the famous Brick Lane market, with the best food I had in London, and lots of vintage shopping opportunities. A two minute tube ride east from Mile end, and you arrive at the Stratford mall, which is a facility built especially for and adjacent to the 2012 London Olympic Park.

In regards to the Queen Mary campus itself, there are two Queen mary College locations: the Mile End campus and the Whitechapel campus. I have only ever been to the Mile End campus, but I can say that it is very well integrated into the urban landscape around it. The campus itself gives the appearance to its students; it would be possible for a student to live within the contained area of the campus without leaving if they really really wanted to. There are several buildings where classes are held, but generally, the different buildings house different school departments. The classrooms varied from large lecture rooms that could contain, probably, a good 150 people, to small classrooms where a class of maybe 15 people at most could fit into. It took me approximately 10 minutes to walk from one end of the campus (where the dorms are) to the other (where I had a class), and most of the non-academic facilities (coffee shops, the campus pub, the cafeterias, the bookstore, the campus corner market, etc.) were within this area. The most interesting feature of campus, for me, however, was the Nuevo Burial ground, which is really just a graveyard that just so happens to be in the middle of campus. I also appreciated the close proximity to the Mile End tube station, which made it easy to get anywhere I wanted or needed to off-campus.

How can this program be improved?
I would say that it would be a good idea to prepare students for the different, less involved, style of teaching in the UK. I was very shocked and confused when all of my classes were only once a week. I also thought more preparation for the grading system would be nice, because I was devastated when I got a 64% on my first paper, only to find out that it was considered a B!
Yes, I recommend
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Life-changing Experience

The time that I spent at City University London with IES in the fall semester of 2011 was perhaps the most important thing that I would ever do. It was an introduction into the rest of my life. I have moved back to London (hopefully permanently) to study for my masters degree. Without IES I might never have realised that this is where I want to spend the rest of my life. City is one of the most incredible places I have ever been. The staff on sight are amazing, and the support I received from the friends that I met, the staff at City, the Students' Union and the IES staff are the happiest memories that I have.
Thank you IES for this opportunity of a lifetime!

How can this program be improved?
I would hope that those who opt for the Spring semester would be able to live closer to the uni. The friends that I made who were full-time undergraduates were incredible people that I would not have had the opportunity to meet if I had not lived in halls.
Yes, I recommend
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UCL Is an amazing school based in an amazing city

I LOVED my experience at UCL!
I got to take classes from world renown faculty on some great classes while experiencing one of the most diverse and fun cities in the world. On a daily basis, I would go to class, then once classes were done I would go exploring with my friends. Walking in London was great because there is so much to see and the tube stations were very close to our housing when we needed to go a little further away.
I also loved all the markets they had during the weekends as well as the authentic restaurants around the city.
The obvious tourist experiences were also very much enjoyed and I loved every single moment I was there.

How can this program be improved?
If housing was with more British students it would have been better. We only had two in our hall way but other than that this program was amazing!
Yes, I recommend

About IES Abroad

IES Abroad offers 140 programs worldwide for college students. We are a highly charged force of study abroad enthusiasts. Every day we have the privilege of witnessing how study abroad changes our students’ lives. We also believe that every student...