Whether you’re almost ready to head out for a semester in London or are still wondering to yourself, “Should I study abroad in London?” – I’ve got all the answers for you.
Studying abroad in London is one of the most life-changing things I’ve ever experienced. So much so that I now live as an expat in London and have plenty of resources on studying abroad in London tips.
Firstly, the basics:
Okay, aside from that graphic I so lovingly created for you, I want to sure the actual reasons why you should 100%, without hesitation, study abroad in London.
Should I Study Abroad in London?
Asking yourself, “should I study abroad in London?” means that you know you’re choosing between London and other cities around the world.
It’s not the only city you can study abroad in – far from it.
And I’m biased, of course, because of my love for this amazing place, but there are some objectively good reasons for studying abroad in London that can also help you decide if a semester (or year) in London is right for you.
No Language Barrier
One of the most obvious advantages to studying in London for American students is the lack of language barrier.
Of course, British English and American English aren’t exactly the same thing, which you’ll soon learn once you get a good case of culture shock as a study abroad student, but overall you don’t need to speak a foreign language to be able to integrate into the culture and enjoy your time.
I have full respect and admiration for students learning foreign languages and wanting to study abroad in a country with a foreign language, but I chose to study abroad in London because I wanted to do an internship and didn’t speak a foreign language.
Because of the lack of language issues (well, except for when I complimented someone’s underwear and thought I was complimenting their pants), I was able to work in an office in London and really get real life work experience that helped me get future positions.
The lack of language barrier also allows you to feel more confident getting around places, asking for directions, and navigating your way through London.
If you want to participate in a study abroad program in London that offers internships, try CAPA in London or AIFS in London.
Still Cultural Differences
Studying abroad in London isn’t without its cultural experiences and differences that allow you to have a well-rounded experience and really feel like you’ve learned about a foreign culture.
One of the biggest mistakes people usually make when thinking about London is believing that it’s not going to be different than America except for the accents.
That couldn’t be more wrong!
From the differences in attitudes towards healthcare, religion, work, home life, education, and more, there is a lot to unpack and explore when you study abroad in London.
As someone who grew up in Florida where our oldest city is from 1565, it’s a real shock to come to the UK and see things that are older than the founding or even discovery of the US.
Everywhere you walk, every corner you turn, every pub you step into reveals a whole new world of historical treasures. London is a true mecca for people interested in history and discovering ancient mysteries.
Easy Access to the Rest of the UK
Studying abroad in London is a great idea for anyone wanting to explore the rest of the UK, as the city is well-linked to cities across the nation.
You can be to Edinburgh in about 4 hours, Brighton in 2, Liverpool in a couple, Manchester, Cardiff – the list goes on.
If you get a student railcard, you’ll find that train prices can be very reasonable and cheaper and less hectic than flying.
There’s something about traveling by train that makes you feel like you’re being a tad more adventurous than usual.
Gateway to Europe
The purpose of studying abroad in London is to, well, study abroad in London.
But you’ll have weekends and oftentimes a break in the middle of the semester where you are allowed to travel around the UK and Europe.
Because of London’s location and massive airports and airlines that fly through them, London is often considered a gateway to Europe.
You can get flights from London to far flung European destinations for inexpensive prices and on regularly scheduled itineraries.
Take a budget airline like Easyjet or Ryanair (check out these tips for flying on budget airlines) or splash the cash a bit and take an airline like British Airways.
Plenty of Study Abroad in London Program Options
Because of all of the above reasons to study abroad in London, you should study abroad in London because of the sheer amount of options you have when it comes to what programs to do.
You can choose from a “Direct enroll” program where you direct enroll at a British University like UCL through a company such as API, or you can do a more campus-based program like AIFS at Richmond where you’re studying with American students at an American-accredited university.
There are pros and cons to the different types of study abroad programs.
I’ve done both of them, and I preferred the kind where I studied with other Americans as it helped me mentally to get through the program and feel like I had a community within the city.
That being said, there is something to be said for NOT choosing to stay within the American bubble and actually branching out and taking part in a whole different kind of educational system and making more friends from England and around the world instead of just Americans.
This choice requires a bit more confidence on a student’s part, but is a great option for many.
A Student-Friendly City
London is a cosmopolitan city, of course, and it’s filled with all types of people. However, students are not a minority here.
There are dozens of universities, hundreds of study abroad programs, and lots of chances for you to find student life here.
This isn’t a case of a city in the middle of nowhere America that has troubled relations with its local universities – you are an integral part of the makeup of London when you’re a student here, and many people who now work and live in the city were once students here themselves.
London can’t be described as cheap, but there are plenty of deals for students who want to take advantage of them if you’re willing to step away from the touristy areas.
From student discounts at high street shops to £5 pizza at ICCO in Bloomsbury to 10% off at certain grocery stores for students, you can still be on a student budget in the city and enjoy yourself.
So there you have it. All the reasons you shouldn’t be nervous to study abroad in London!
If you’re still wanting more information about my new ‘hometown,’ e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask me anything you want!