London, the capital of England, is an academic’s dream, as it is home to scholars from all corners of the world. This beautiful city is located on the Thames River and has been said to be the historic, cultural and business heart of the entirety of Europe. London is home to hundreds of museums and galleries as well as famous and remarkable landmarks (Buckingham Palace and Big Ben to name a few!).
From fun loving and artistic SoHo, to historically dense Westminster, studying abroad in London means finding a home away from home. Whether you’re interested in film, music, art, sports or business, London will offer an amazing experience unlike any other place in the world!
The opportunities for students wanting to study abroad in London are vast and plentiful. A city as diverse as London has something for everyone, with over 30,000 internationally recognized courses, excellent employment opportunities, and a globalized populace speaking over 300 languages. London has opportunities in everything from the sciences to the arts, in surroundings that will make you feel rich as the queen!
Culture and Immersion
London is full of amazing places to see and things to do, so students who study abroad here will never run out of new experiences! Buckingham Palace, the home of the Queen, is a must see when studying abroad in London. Along with being the Queen's official residence, Buckingham Palace is also know for the Changing of the Guard, where new soldiers in red uniforms and fur skin hats replace the old like clockwork each day. The reverence and diligence of this ceremony is not to be missed.
To get an awesome aerial view of the city, take a ride on the infamous London Eye, the world's largest sightseeing wheel. While riding the London Eye, you may catch a glimpse of Big Ben, the clock tower attached to the House of Parliament. The Tower of London is another sight to see as it is the place that Henry VIII moved his prison site to in 1529. Visitors can take a tour through the Tower of London, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to the many amazing landmarks, London is home to over 300 museums, 200 theaters, and 250 art galleries. London is truly unique in both its quantity and diversity of different attractions that it offers.
Because the Euro is less than the US Dollar, students should prepare to spend more money than they do in the US as one US Dollar is equivalent to only .77 Euros. With that said, however, it is possible to live comfortably in London on a budget. There is a misconception that England is one of the most expensive European countries, but that is only the case for the uninformed traveler. Students who study abroad in London should be aware of deals offered throughout the city and will be surprised by the abundance of popular museums and events which are free of charge.
Culture Shock and Support
Because going abroad is a new and exciting thing, make sure to choose a study abroad program that offers a great deal of support for its students. ISA, for example, has a Resident Director available at all times along with staff members who arrange tutoring, lead excursions, and provide both academic and personal support. ISA also offers counseling services, organized clubs and activities, and a health center. API strives to help students become more culturally immersed and self-aware in their environment. They also are very helpful to their students by working closely with their home universities throughout the entire abroad experience.
A lot of program providers will include housing in their package, but some students will need to find housing on their own -- especially if they've chosen to directly enroll in a program. To find student housing in London, UniPlaces is one good website to look at, as is getting in touch with your advisor in London.
Public transportation is the most common and popular way to get around London, so students who travel abroad here will become pros by the end of their stay! The London underground, or ‘the tube’, is an extremely efficient and inexpensive way to travel. The system may seem overwhelming at first, but it is actually very easy to understand as all the lines are color coded in accordance to their route / direction. Buses, on the other hand, are a little bit more complicated to navigate than the tube, but are also a very convenient way to get around the city.
Students who travel abroad to London will often times find themselves in a classic British pub. Pubs are the place where Brits gather to drink, eat and enjoy each other’s company. Because pubs do not usually offer table service, expect to order both food and drinks at the bar.
London offers amazing shops including fresh and local grocery stores as well as fancy and fun clothing boutiques. Some great areas to shop are Portabello, Road, Covent Garden and Camden Lock Market.
From Big Ben and Buckingham Palace to the hundreds of free museums and events, London is filled with things to see and do. On top of the sites and attractions, the intellectual and diverse population in London is what makes it truly unique.
Contributed by Maxine Sharf
Along with budgeting, students who worry about the cost of studying abroad in London should look into their scholarship options.
- API offers a variety of scholarships for those participating in their programs - and they have two great choices for England!
- The British Chevening Scholarships are funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and administered by the British Council. This scholarship enables overseas students to study in the UK.
- The British Universities Transatlantic Exchange Association offers scholarships of 500 pounds to students studying in England for a semester or a year.
- More Study Abroad Grants and Scholarships