IFSA: Queen Mary University of London Partnership

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We're so excited that you're considering IFSA's program at Queen Mary, University of London for your semester or year abroad. London is an exciting vibrant city with a diverse population. Students get to enjoy the hustle and bustle of the big city while experiencing cultures from all over the world. We're sure you're going to love studying there!

Questions & Answers


based on 3 reviews
  • Academics 7
  • Support 8.3
  • Fun 9.3
  • Housing 9.3
  • Safety 8.7
Showing 1 - 3 of 3
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London Living 2017

Studying at Queen Mary University and living in London was by far one of the greatest opportunities I have been lucky to have in the first 21 years of my life. Not only did I get the chance to explore a new city, but also I was able to enjoy learning for the sake of learning.

Coming from a rigorous collegiate institution in the U.S., I am used to being bombarded with assignment after assignment. From my experience at QMUL, the approach to learning is a little different in the U.K. While the academics at Queen Mary are by no means unchallenging, the work load is reasonable and manageable. Instead of having multiple assignments each week, I had only a few assignments during my semester abroad, with each carrying most of the weight of my final grade. With fewer assignments worth more, I was able to simply enjoy going to class and engaging with the course material without the pressure of too many graded assignments.

In addition to the academic experience, I also enjoyed exploring the London social scene. I had plenty of time to try out the various food markets, pubs and clubs. In terms of my living situation, I had the best of both worlds, because I lived with British students attending QMUL full time and other students in my program.

How can this program be improved?
The only complaint I had about the program was that while I was applying IFSA-Butler at QMUL was implementing a new website that was not fully up and running during my application process. It made things a little less clear. However, those working with my specific program were readily available to answer any questions I had.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Excellent Program, Sub-Par School

I loved London, and I miss London. Dearly. The city itself was vibrant, diverse, and exciting. Every day, for six whole months, I could walk outside my flat and find something totally new and unique to do, without ever finding myself bored within the city. A large part of that experience came from my program provider, who organized monthly free (which, to a college studen, is the biggest draw) activities that encouraged us to really take advantage of every London had to offer. The friendly and helpful IFSA staff truly made me feel at home in London, from the moment orientation began. Because I felt so welcome in the city, I truly made it my own, to the point where I'm actually aching to go back and visit again.

As for my academic experience, I felt like the skills I learned in the classroom were, on the whole, lacking. I chose Queen Mary because it was the only uni in London that would allow me to study Drama as a visiting student without immersing myself in a conservatory. While I definitely appreciate the lessons I learned that I could not at my small, liberal arts school in America, I do wish I could have taken more intensive and flexible courses.

How can this program be improved?
I don't have any suggestions for the program itself, since most of my critique was with the school I attended. However, I would suggest maybe incorporating student accounts of their academic experiences at each school and in different courses. For example, 6 of 12 times one of my modules met, we were doing essay workshops, and asked to bring in a topic, then a thesis sentence, then 100 words for the lecturer to critique. They walked us hand in hand through every step of the essay, which, as a 3rd year student at a university with a focus in writing, felt very elementary. On the other hand, friends taking English modules reported that their lecturers took a hands-off approach to assignments. Providing quotes about student's experiences in each department in information about the school itself would help other students perhaps deciding between schools make an informed decision about their academic experience.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Studying Abroad in London

My semester studying abroad in London with IFSA Butler was such an amazing experience. First of all, IFSA is a really great program. They were extremely helpful both before departure and while I was in London. Their orientation when we first arrived in London was very informative and helpful for adjusting to British culture (and the time change!) I would highly recommend doing a program with IFSA! They also organized a lot of weekend trips for free for their students, and they would visit campus occasionally just to catch up with their students. They were all so nice!

As for Queen Mary itself, I loved it! First of all, the accommodations were very nice, especially for London. I lived in a flat with 4 other British students. We each had our own bedroom and bathroom, and then shared a kitchen with each other. It was also very nice to be able to live on campus and have a 3 minute walk to class every day as opposed to having to commute. Queen Mary's campus is also a short 5 minute walk from 2 tube stations that will take you to Central London in about 15 minutes. Campus is also across the street from a Sainsbury's (grocery store) which I went to almost every day. Some people are a little concerned that Queen Mary is in East London; however, I never felt unsafe in the area. It is an up and coming area, and as long as you are smart, you will be fine!

Finally, classes at Queen Mary were very different than what I was used to in the states. I took 4 classes and each met for a one hour lecture and a one hour long seminar (discussion) once a week. The classes I took had some of the best teachers I have ever had. If you have a choice, take British Horror with Matt - he was, by far, my favorite teacher. I also took some history classes and an architecture class that were all very interesting. The classes were also different from the states in that there was no homework. The grades usually depended on 2 or 3 papers and maybe a test depending on the class. Also, the grading scale is much different, so don't be freaked out if you get a 60 or 70% on an assignment! As one of my teachers put it, "80 is the mark that God would get." Overall, I would highly recommend this program. I had an amazing time and I hope I am able to go back soon! And, one last piece of advice - schedule your classes so you have either Friday or Monday off. Then, you can take longer weekend trips! I didn't have classes on Friday, so I left almost every Thursday to travel somewhere!

Yes, I recommend this program

About Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA)

The Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1988. Our primary goal is to provide quality study abroad opportunities, plus academic and personal support services, for qualified North American undergraduates seeking to...