London has long been top on the list of popular study abroad destinations, but we're here to tell you a secret: it's better in the summer.
As a summer study abroad student in London, you could take on a combo intern-study program and learn through experience. Explore England's history, or learn more about international business. Just don't forget to take some time out to visit a festival, museum, or any number of events that has London in a buzz over the summer months.
With no complicated language to learn, an excellent public transportation system, and some of the greatest monuments, galleries, and museums in the world to explore, it's easy to see why the cosmopolitan city of London is popular as a summer study abroad destination. It's a great introduction to travel for first-time travelers, and an ideal stepping-stone into longer gap year travels.
The other major advantage of study abroad in London is that you can study pretty much anything. Drama, literature, economics, business, history, film, art history: you name it, London has it. There are also plenty of options when it comes to length of study abroad. Three weeks, six weeks, nine weeks -- you get to plan what works for you, when, and how. Some of the most popular study abroad program types students will encounter are:
This program type will likely include London as just part of your study abroad program, and instead take you throughout England and/or other parts of Europe to learn by traveling to new destinations. Usually, these educational travel tours have an academic theme that influences the destinations you travel to.
Summer courses at a university
Take a summer study abroad course at a London university. Similar to back home, these courses tend to be brief (3 - 6 weeks) and intensive. Typically, students will be able to study directly through the host university and choose courses from their normal course catalog.
You can arrange this type of summer study abroad program either directly through the university or through a program provider. Typically, program providers will offer additional support.
Combined study / intern program
Marry your studies with a hands-on internship through a combined study-intern program. What better way to learn about theater than by spending your mornings learning theory and your afternoons applying them in an internship?
We won't lie to you: London is pretty pricey. Nonetheless, as a student you'll be able to take advantage of student transportation discounts, attend free events, and save money by cooking their own meals. Time Out is a good place to look for cheap things to do in London.
Generally speaking, a student in London should expect to need about $400 a week, including rent. Lunch in a pub is about $15, rent runs around $1,000 a month, and a cappuccino is about $4.
Most programs will help students find housing or will offer rooms in dorms or apartments as part of their package. If they don't, you can use a service like UniPlaces or Study Abroad Apartments to set up furnished, short-term student housing in London.
Typically, students from the U.S. / Canada won't need a visa for less than 90 days. So, unless you plan on sticking around after your study abroad program, you'll most likely be staying in London on a tourist visa. Be sure to double check with your program well before departure, however.
In terms of packing, remember that most things you can find in the US, you can find in the UK as well. Pack:
- Comfortable clothes
- A light jacket (preferably waterproof)
- Reusable water bottle
- One nice outfit for nights out
- A sturdy day bag (it can double as your personal item on the flight over)
Especially if you plan on doing any traveling after your program in London, it's best to pack light. Stick to one carry-on and one personal item if possible -- or, maximum, one checked bag, and one personal item. Even if you're staying for as long as two months, you can absolutely get away with packing for only 7 - 10 days by packing mix-and-matchable layers and sticking to no more than 3 pairs of shoes. You'll have plenty of chances to do laundry and stock up on toiletries if / when you run out.
London is generally a very safe and cosmopolitan city. It is important, however, as with any major city, to be aware of your surroundings, keep on top of local news and any governmental warnings. Pick-pocketing is also a common annoyance.
There are also no special health concerns or travel vaccinations to be aware of. Eat smart, exercise, and take care of yourself just as you would back home.