Study Abroad: London

Have you thought about studying abroad? Well, STOP thinking about it and starting ACTING on it. You will not regret this (potentially expensive, yet priceless) adventure.

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Fall of 2016, I studied Political Science at The London School of Economics. As summer was coming to a close, myself and 25 other University of California (UC) students arrived in London. For some, it was their first time abroad. The United Kingdom is a great location for anyone who wants to experience Europe without leaving western comforts.

Living and studying abroad will open your mind to a different culture, traditions and environment. Although London is a western democracy and it has that very Special Relationship with the United States, there are some pressing differences I’d like to point out:

  1. The Brits use an “s” not “z”. For example, organisation
  2. British men have style (i.e. tailored suits)
  3. Brits know how to pile into a train car. When taking the Tube during morning commute, there is no such thing as personal space
  4. At The LSE professors expect students to have an opinion and express it. As students, we were required to contribute to the dialog. Professors also express their political leanings at will and with much gusto. They believe students learn optimally with a relaxed mind

Advice to Students About to Study Abroad:

  • Take advantage of the universities resources: gym, public events, campus library, student discounts

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    Public Lecture featuring Juan Manuel Santos, President of Columbia and LSE Alumnus
  • It will be tempting to explore other cities on the weekends, but remember to explore the city you are in too. I wish I had stayed in London every weekend because there was so much I didn’t see

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    Tate Modern
  • Get to know your fellow classmates! I’m not the most social person and I didn’t find a group of friends until the second half of the program. Make the effort to start conversations because you may be lucky enough to gain lifelong friends
  • Expect to eat out, often. One thing you cannot buy back is time. Do not waste precious time on preparing meals at home when you can easily grab food on campus. Yes, it will be more expensive but you will save time and not have to endure lugging around a heavy backpack. I immensely enjoyed Pret a Manger
  • Bring a backpack and zip it. Nobody wants to get their wallet swiped. It happens
  • It’s not a fashion show. You don’t need a new wardrobe. Bring what you would wear to your home university. With that said, The LSE was surprisingly formal. Some students wore heels and suits to class. Wear what you feel comfortable in and pack complete outfits to take away the time consuming decision of “what to wear”
  • New City. New Germs. Start taking your vitamin C, Airborne, Emergen-C Drink Mix, probiotics, etc., on the plane because you do not want to be hit with the flu that is inevitably waiting for you just past Customs
  • Explore solo. You can go at your own place, see what you want to see and it will force you to learn the public transportation system

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    The Tube – Stand to your right
  • Months in advance, print out a map of your new home and study the layout of the city. Going in with even a hint of familiarity will make your first week more comfortable. Also, walk as much as you can because you’ll see more of the city than if you only take the train
  • Enjoy yourself and make the most of your time

Thanks for stopping by,

Taylor

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The view from Aqua Shard, 31 levels up
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Whitehall Gardens
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Canada Memorial
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St. Jame’s Park
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St. Jame’s Park
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Early morning studying at the LSE library
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LSE Library
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Coffee at Inn The Park
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Lights along River Thames
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Royal Exchange
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Sky Garden
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Emirates Air Line
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City Hall
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The Shard
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Carnary
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Duck & Waffle
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Ladurée in Covent Garden London
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Covent Garden
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Regent’s Park
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Trafalgar Square
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Whitehall Gardens
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Tate Modern
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Covent Garden
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Town Hall with the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan
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Churchill War Rooms (the secret WW2 bunker)
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Buxton Memorial Fountain
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Study Space at The LSE
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British Museum

 

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