IES Abroad London – Health Practice & Policy

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About Program

Don’t just learn about health care in a classroom—immerse yourself through theory and practice in compelling public health issues in London, Oxford, and Kingston, Jamaica, that are affecting local communities, countries, and the global population right now.

Through our program, you discover the different perspectives, challenges, and needs of diverse populations in London and Kingston with a once-in-a-lifetime service learning and practicum opportunity.


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IES Abroad Scholarships and Financial Aid

As far as we're concerned, financial limitations shouldn't prevent you from studying abroad with us. That's why we offer more than $5 million in scholarships and aid.

$500 - $5,000

Program Reviews

9.12 Rating
based on 17 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 82.35%
  • 7-8 rating 17.65%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Academics 8.1
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 8.4
  • Housing 8.4
  • Safety 9.2
Showing 1 - 8 of 17
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Yes, I recommend this program

London and Jamaica

I studied abroad in London with the IES London and Jamaica program this past fall semester. Most of the semester was sent in London while the last 10 days of the program was spent in Kingston, Jamaica. In London I took classes with IES and city university of London. In addition to my classes, I volunteered at Maggie’s Cancerkin at the Royal free clinic. Maggie’s is a national charity organization that helps cancer patients adjust and cope with their lives after been diagnosed. This is done through various forms of counselling and therapy sessions. I loved my time volunteering there and loved learning about the various cancer therapy sessions patients can undergo.
The one class I took that I felt most prepared me for a future career as a nurse was Comparative Health Systems: Great Britain, Europe and the United States with Professor Johal Gurnam. The class talked about the history of the NHS and the current status of it within the UK. The class also talked about the different types of health systems and what some European countries and the U.S. use. We of course also discussed the current ongoing Brexit situation which involves Britain existing the European Union and the impacts this will cause health workers from other countries who travel to Britain for work. I loved learning about the different health disparities in different nations and what government and health professionals could do to ensure an effective care for all.
While taking classes and volunteering, I also got the chance to explore London. Some places I visited were the London Eye, British Parliament, Camden Town , the Sky Garden and the Tower Bridge. My favorite place out of these was the Tower Bridge. It is beautifully constructed, and I didn’t truly feel like I was in London till I walked on that bridge. I also of course got a touristy London pic with a red phone booth to fully capture the experience. Another place I really loved visiting was Camden Town, the buildings were so colorful, and the people were so friendly, walking around it felt like I was part of a community. I learned how a lot of musicians started out in Camden town and some even performed there including one direction and my one of my favorite artists, Adele. The British Parliamentary building was cool as well and I loved learning about the history behind the conservative and labor governments.
Although London and Europe shaped my knowledge of the NHS and various other aspects of European Health, I believe that Kingston was the place that impacted me the most and also prepared me for my future as a nurse. In Kingston, we took courses at the University of Mona, west indies taught by various health professionals ranging from nursing professors to public health nurses. we took tours to uptown and downtown Kingston and just by observation, we could notice the environmental and health disparities of the rich uptown people versus the impoverished downtown people. In addition, I personally volunteered at two health clinics, the Edna Manley Clinic and Windward Road Clinic in Kingston.

2 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Loving London!

I loved my time abroad. London is such a wonderful, accessible, and international city that it was easy to find myself lost in the culture. As a health practice and policy student I was assigned to a service learning placement. I did my placement with Holy Cross Centre Trust in Camden, and was given opportunities to work hands on in the field of mental health. Whether it was running group sessions, to meeting with my one on one assigned patients, the experience was rich and enlightening. Over seas it was tough making friends at first, however through IES I was able to meet a group of girls that I will forever be close with. Not only were they my London friends, but we traveled together as well. It was easy to travel from London, and I took advantage of that to the fullest. IES made it easy to make the most of my experience abroad.

What would you improve about this program?
The housing accommodations were not the best. In Kings Cross there were problems with the bathrooms, plumbing, and kitchens.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

An Unforgettable Experience!

This experience really sparked my interest for traveling and taught me so much about how international health care and human rights is viewed. I got hands on experience in the medical field in Jamaica, I was able to travel all over Europe for a very affordable price, and I got to volunteer with CLAPA. IES really catered to my interest and helped me to develop and mature on a professional, academic, and personal level. I learned so much about culture and identity in a place that I thought would be very similar to the United States. These experiences made it more than worthwhile! This was a life changing experience that has inspired me to keep traveling and possibly even change my career goals to something that will allow me to travel abroad.
The IES program was so supportive and they really worked hard to create an inclusive living and learning environment. While there were some small things that could be improved, the people were really what made the program the best experience of my life.

Overall the courses were interesting and challenging. The administration and professors were very supportive and engaging. However, the program was not able to offer the Oxford class at the last minute so I ended up taking classes at City University of London. This turned out to be just around the corner from my housing assignment and the course included some very interesting aspects. I really ended up enjoying this course and it allowed me to have Friday off to travel.

The administration was very supportive in making sure I was acclimated to living abroad. They constantly kept in touch and responded to emails quickly. They made sure we met up for dinner or tea a couple times during the semester and they also hosted clubs and events around town. They were also very supportive if I wasn't feeling well. Luckily, I did not have any major health issues, but my roommate did and from my perspective, the administration was very helpful. The administrator that lived in our building took her to the hospital and stayed with her until she got home. At one point, I caught a small cold and an administrator offered to make a doctor appointment for me and to go with me, but I was able to easily take care of it with cold medication from the pharmacist.

The apartment I lived in was right in the heart of London. It was the ideal location for getting around the city by tube or walking. The housing had all the amenities and I always felt safe there. The roommate situation was not ideal because I am so used to living on my own, however it was a great way to make friends and I learned a lot about myself. I had a great view of the city from my room and the program made sure I had everything I needed, and if I didn't there was a shopping tour on the first day that helped me to get everything.

During orientation, there was a briefing on safety by a police officer who told us about the most common crimes and how to avoid being a target. This was very useful because it made me more aware of my actions and it gave me more information on who to contact if something did go wrong. Also, one of the administrators lived in the same apartment complex me, so there was always someone available. While I was in London, there were a few small bombings including one on the tube and violent protests, but the program has a very specific and strict protocol for locating each person and ensuring our safety and they communicated with my parents that I was safe. In Jamaica, we were chaperoned everywhere and I felt very safe because one of our professors/chaperones is a native Jamaican.

What would you improve about this program?
Like previously stated, the program last minute could not offer courses at Oxford which would should be changed in the future. However, City University worked great so that I could travel on Fridays.
2 people found this review helpful.
Yes, I recommend this program

An Amazing Semester!

IES Abroad truly made my semester the best one of my life. IES was willing to help me every step of the way, from pre-departure to day to day while abroad, and even helped me readjust after I returned home. I couldn't have asked for a more attentive, inclusive, and helpful organization. They made the semester run so smoothly. The HPP program was immersive and interesting, and I came away learning so much. Thanks, IES!

2 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing time in London and Jamaica!

As a health policy and administration major, I was very excited to see that there was a program that aligned with my academic goals. To begin with, he IES staff were absolutely incredible. As someone who has an ongoing medical condition, they were always extremely helpful in helping me find doctors and working through all of that kind of stuff. The living accommodation is smaller than traditional American style dorms, but it has everything you need. I also would recommend on going on any of the field trips that IES provides. It is very organized and takes a lot of the stress off that comes with planning a trip.

Academically, being able to learn about public health in London was an absolutely incredible experience and I loved hearing the perspectives from my professors. Living in the city of London is amazing. You are very centrally located and there is always so much to do- no matter what your interests are.

This program also gives you the opportunity to take a class at Oxford. While you do have to catch a very early train, and spend most of your day Friday in class and traveling to and from Oxford, which limits your ability to travel some weekends, it was definitely worth it! I really improved my writing and critical thinking skills. The Oxford class also doesn't start until a few weeks into the program so you still will have the opportunity to travel and I was still able to find time to travel after I got home from Oxford on Friday.

Another unique element of this program is that you have the opportunity to participate in a service learning. I was able to volunteer at a cancer support center, which was a very valuable experience to me.

The best part of the study abroad experience was the trip to Jamaica. We got to observe in clinics around Jamaica and also got to see a lot of the country. We were able to go to Blue Lagoon, the Blue Mountains and a few local beaches. We also attended lectures at the University of the West Indies. Even though before going to Jamaica, nobody was ready to leave London by the end everyone really enjoyed the trip to Jamaica and found it worth while.

Overall, I would recommend this study abroad program to anyone who is interested in public health!

What would you improve about this program?
It would be great if the Oxford class wasn't on a Friday. It would also be nice if there was more transition time between London to Jamaica.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Studying Public Health in England and Jamaica

During my program, I had the privilege of studying health policy both in London and Oxford and then traveling to Kingston, Jamaica for the last week of my program to listen to lectures at the University of West Indies School of Nursing. This is a relatively new program and the experience was pretty amazing throughout my time there. The staff and program directors invested time to making sure we were fully prepared and aware of everything we needed to do, i.e organizing train rides for our weekly trip to Oxford, telling us what items/clothing we would need for Jamaica, finding amazing service learning opportunities with local NGOs that fit somewhere in our professional interest. The staff was always very friendly and approachable. They often shared some of their favorite places, which was very helpful in a massive city like London that has so much to offer for everyone. The Jamaica portion in particular was extraordinary. When we weren't listening to lectures at UWISON, we were exploring the island and the staff took us to some amazing restaurants and beautiful sites. We swam in a natural salt water lagoon, took a boat ride to a small nearby island to swim and relax, visited the Blue Mountain coffee plantation, and sat by an infinity pool overlooking the island. It didn't feel real and it was so much fun doing it with the friends I made during the program. I was very impressed with what the staff put together for us and I would definitely recommend this program.

3 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

The Best Semester of My Life

Studying abroad in London was so amazing - since I've been back, I've thought to myself everyday that I want just want to go back and live in London forever.

If you are interested in public/global health, this program is for you. I went into this program with no prior education in public health and I learned A LOT. There was a good mix of students who had a lot of public health experience (typically public health majors) and none at all, so any level of prior experience is ok. This specific program provides you with a pretty set schedule of three required courses (one of them which is at Oxford University), which allows for one elective class. You are also placed in service learning (sort of like an internship) at a organization in the community 8 hours a week. Overall, of these courses were very interesting and the instructors were great people. The everyday workload is minimal but I felt like there were lots of papers.

The one class at Oxford University was pretty cool - being able to walk around this campus as a student was quite an experience. My complaint about this class was that it consumed my entire Friday - we had to leave at 7:30 AM and take three trains to get there, then get back around 5PM, so it made traveling a little difficult. Additionally, the workload was too much for a study abroad class (in my opinion...weekly papers). But, I'd say it was worth it. I learned A LOT not only about public health, but I definitely improved my writing and in-class speaking skills.

London is also a great place to study abroad. The fact that people speak English was great - a lot of my friends who studied abroad in countries with different languages were pretty stressed out because they had to work hard to communicate, but that is also an amazing experience in itself. London just has so much to do all the time, there's really something for everyone...I thought that I would be too overwhelmed by the size of London, but I really wasn't. I'm not a big-city person, but London had the right amount of homeyness in its smaller communities and quirky neighborhoods, that I had an easy time getting used to it. Public transport is so efficient and the fact that I could leave the dorm and get to Big Ben or the 2012 Olympic Pool just by train and walking was amazing to me.

I would say that the past portion of this program, which takes place in Kingston, Jamaica, was the best part of the program. One of our instructors and an administrator took the entire group to Jamaica for a week, and it was absolutely amazing. The hands-on experience that I got to do in the clinics is something that I will probably never have the opportunity to do again, and it was perfectly balanced with time spent at the beach and sight-seeing. This portion of the program is something I tell my friends and family about all the time, and I can't describe in words how awe-struck I was to see and immerse myself in the Jamaican culture and health system.

What would you improve about this program?
I felt like I had a lot of papers to write, especially for the class at Oxford. Of course, it is Oxford so I expected a pretty intense workload but the weekly papers made it stressful to try to travel and explore.
3 people found this review helpful.
Yes, I recommend this program

A wonderful, enriching, rewarding and challenging experience

I’m being completely sincere when I say that study abroad was a truly enriching, eye-opening, and transformative experience that allowed me to not only discover more about myself but gain worldly perspectives. I was not only able to explore London culturally but also take classes at the prestigious University of Oxford, where I was challenged to think beyond what I've been taught and excel academically.

With regards to the academic aspects, students aren't really given a choice in choosing their classes for the Health, Practice and Policy program mainly because it's already a highly specialized program that is focused more on the health aspects. This makes this program perfect for anyone already with a major in public health, pre-med, biology, psychology, or just with an interest in these kinds of fields. I took classes on social welfare, comparative healthcare systems, health and disease and human rights - all of which I can surely say I gained something I probably never would have gained from classes back at my home university. These classes are very English-style in that they are highly discussion-based rather than being lecture-focused. As a part of the class, students also took many outside tours and went on field tripos that supplemented the coursework and allowed us to truly gain that outside-the-classroom learning experience. Additionally, the professors were excellent, passionate and knowledgeable in their fields, making the classes very open to thought-provoking discussion. The health and disease class was held at Oxford along with a discussion tutor session led by lecturers. The Oxford class was without a doubt the most challenging part of the program in that there is a high amount of workload and expectation for the student to achieve highly. Nonetheless, the lecturers are also improvement-focused so just because you do poorly at first does not mean that you will fail the class. Rather, they want to see you improve and they do help you out during the way to help you do better, which you will as long as you put in the effort.

My service learning placement was a very unique and enjoyable aspect of the program. I worked with an organization that works toward helping the homeless population, and it was an extremely humbling and rewarding experience to say that I was making a difference in another country through the small work I was doing. For example, I washed dishes and prepared food for the homeless, but also had the opportunity to work in the office for more behind-the-scenes and logistical work (which is not the most engaging or fun). Through this experience, however, I learned so much about social issues plaguing London and the stereotypes I had about the homeless, which was truly eye-opening. I feel as if I'm a much more enlightened and passionate student due to my experience doing service in London. Likewise, other students were matched with other organizations that were not just social service/volunteer based but also towards the medical field, etc. and I know from their personal accounts that they also learned and enjoyed their time with their service learning placement. That being said, 8 hours of service a week definitely added to the stressful workload of HPP program students. A lot of times, most of us were doing homework, essays, or doing service that we didn't have time to enjoy the culture or travel as much as students in other programs may have. Nonetheless, this doesn't mean we have absolutely no time at all - it's mostly about how one manages their time and how ambitious they get with what they want to do, see, or travel.
In fact, even with all the stress and sleepless nights, I still managed to plan and travel to Spain and Scotland, two places that I absolutely loved. It's a matter of what YOU want and how you make that desire happen even with all the obstacles you'll face.

Lastly, Jamaica was probably the best part about the program. This is where you really get to bond with some of your professors/IES staff who tag along and truly immerse yourself in the culture. The people are kind, the settings are beautiful, and the work that you do at clinics and at the Missionaries of the Poor... it's a priceless experience. It's a short week full of cultural immersion, learning, and working but it will, without a doubt, be the most wonderful and rewarding week of your life.

2 people found this review helpful.

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