Better Because of Illinois
- #3 preferred institution for recruiters Wall Street Journal
- Students who study abroad through the College of Business typically pay about $1,800 in tuition during their semester abroad
- National Finalists at the 2011 KPMG Global Case Study Competition
City University Report - London, UK
for more comments, please check out the binders in 1055 BIF
- London Eye
- Tower of London
- Tower Bridge
- Big Ben
- Buckingham Palace
- Cabinet War Rooms
- Shakespeare’s Globe
- Westminster Abbey
- St. Paul’s Cathedral
- Oxford University
- Hyde Park
- Windsor Castle
- Camden Town market
- Abbey Road (the Beetles reference)
- Portobello Road market
- Bourough market
- Covent Garden market
- Piccadilly Circus
- Museums are all free (Tate Modern, Natural Science, Science, etc.)
*** Recommend buying a London Travel Book such as “Top Ten” sights of London and that will get you going on your tour of one of the greatest cities in the world.
- Tube (subway) and bus
- Student oyster card offers a discount & gives you access to both of these means of transportation. The tube starts running at about 5:30am depending on the line and stops running around midnight, so take night buses after that.
- Oyster card is a must for anyone studying abroad in London. The card gives you access to every bus and tube station in the city as many times as you like for the duration of your trip.
- Can buy oyster cards for daily, weekly, monthly use, or pay as you go travelcards (you just put money on the oyster card)
- The rate was about 16 quid per week or about 60 quid per month. Recommend applying for the student oyster card and then purchasing a months travel as you go. The month ones because they are a little cheaper and more convenient.
- There are often weekend closures on the underground lines, so check ahead to see if it affects any of your travel plans.
- The schedule for the bus is all on transportforlondon.com or tfl.gov.uk. They run from 5am until 12am, and then there is a different route and schedule for the night buses which starts running at 2am. The night buses are bit shady though because drunks are going home.
- Taxi used only on rare occasions to get around – was helpful when first arriving to airport, took 1 taxi with 2 other students and all our luggage, cost about 20 pounds each but was easy and convenient.
- Cheers = used often in place of “thank you” or “bye”
- Crisps = chips
- Chips = fries
- You're such a cheeky monkey! = being a smart ass
- To be a bit wide = cocky
- You look smart! = Looking good or sharp
- Wanker = jerk
- Blimey or bollocks = “B.S.”
- Topping up = putting more money on your oyster card or pay-as-you-go phone
- Tube = the underground system
- Trousers = Pants
- Pants = Shorts
- You all right? = What's up? / How's it going?
“In London, all women wear boots over their leggings or jeans. People really like colorful scarves and classy petty coats. No one wears sweats. Everyone dresses nicely even to go to class. Always dress up or you will look really weird wearing grubby clothing.” – Marie Graver
“People in London, even students, dress up more than they do here. London is one of the fashion capitals of the world so try and fit in! I would recommend wearing jeans and a polo or decent shirt to class every day. When going out you MUST wear nice shoes! Pubs will deny you access if you have athletic shoes on so wearing brown or black shoes around the town is pivotal.” – Steve Buege
- Great Indian restaurants on Brick Lane
- China town is near Leceister Square
- Many pubs with burgers and fish and chips (fries)
- take-away sandwich places like Pret-A-Manger and EAT
- McDonalds and Burger Kings for cheaper options
- Pizza places like Pizza Express
- Diverse varieties of food
- “London is a very health and environmentally conscious city. Organic food is everywhere so it is easy to buy healthy and nutritious food.” – Marie Graver
“I had culture shock when I realized that there was no Wal-Mart type place where I could get everything I wanted from one big place. You have to make several trips to several small markets to get what you need. I wasn’t expecting the food to be so organic and tasty either. I also was incredibly freaked out by the high prices for everything.
Another cultural difference is that British pedestrians believe they always have the right of way. The pedestrian is always just given the right of way because using a car is looked down upon and most families have only one car because there is no space for garages anyway. The only scary thing is that the police and ambulances DO NOT stop for pedestrians so if you hear a siren while crossing the street, DO NOT CROSS or you WILL BE HIT.” – Marie Graver
“This was the first time I had lived in a city, so that was different for me. I didn’t want to advertise the fact that I was American, although I didn’t feel looked down upon for being American. Studying abroad in London was a relatively smooth process. Make sure to look the opposite direction when you cross the streets as they drive on the left side of the road.” – Christine Groesbeck
“London is very similar to the US, however people tend to dress more trendy than those in the US. The nightlife also begins much later than in the US, so be ready for some late nights. Also, you aren’t in the cornfields anymore; this is a major city with a lot going on. Enjoy!” – Steve Buege
- Almost all museums are free of charge – very nice perk for students.
- Diverse nightlife – from more casual (pubs, close at 11pm) to posh (China White, Crystal).
- Always somewhere to go – Piccadilly is a great location for clubs.
- Large amount of theatre – offerings very much like Broadway in NY
“I went to see several shows because I was in the class “Performing Arts in London” which is the best class to take while studying in London. I got to see “The Woman in Black” which was play of a scary ghost story (it was very scary and amazing). I saw the Royal Ballet perform Manon. I saw flamenco dancing, contemporary theatre, and a classic British play called “Table Manners”. And finally, I saw “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” performed at the Globe Theatre.
In terms of cultural activities, my friends and I were there for the 5th of November which is known as Guy Fawkes Day. This is the day when the British celebrate the torture of a man who conspired to blow up parliament. It is basically like America’s 4th of July but very weird because there are bonfires burning a giant Guy Fawkes doll. There are fireworks, rides, food, and games.
There are plenty of clubs to go to for the night life. I went to Fabric which is the best club in London. There are live DJs who come to play house music. My friend got me in as a VIP so I was able to go up to the VIP lounge area as well. It is about 20 pounds and there are long lines if you’re not VIP. I also went to Ministry of Sound and this place had great popular music. I went during Halloween weekend so everyone was dressed very scarily. There is also a great place in Covent Garden where you can do Rockaoke!! This is where you choose a song from a song list and a live band plays while you sing in front of the whole bar. There are also other clubs such as COCO, and Tiger Tiger.” – Marie Graver
“Take the Performing Arts in London class- you won’t see all the big name shows like “The Lion King” and “Wicked”, but you get to see a variety of shows for a really low cost.
There are pubs and clubs all over the city. During the week, there are student nights at different clubs and the cover price is usually lower than on the weekends. Some clubs that we enjoyed: Ministry of Sound, KoKo, and Fabric. There are plenty of others though.
Also check out the markets. Portobello Road Market has antiques and is open on Saturdays. This is the neighborhood that “Notting Hill” was filmed in. Borough market is a food market open Thursday-Saturday. Camden Town Market is open all the time and is a good place to go for clothes, sunglasses, hats and boots. There are many other markets open throughout the week in the city.” – Christine Groesbeck
“My best recommendation here would be to buy a Top Ten London book, however, Picadilly Circus, Leicester Square, and Covent Garden are the main “night life” spots. London has some of the best theater outside of New York so make sure you catch as much as you can!
Nightclubs – Pangea, China White, On Anon, Church (Sundays), Absolut Ice Bar.
Pubs – They are all awesome so check as many out as you can!” – Steve Buege
“IES in Chelsea – great location in “posh” area so safe and a lot of shopping nearby. Also very easy to meet students from other schools (mostly U.S.). Would live there again over other locations.” – Katy Galli
“I lived as an au-pair in Crouch End for free. I worked 25 hours a week with free home, food, and transportation. I also got a stipend of 80 quid a week for fun money. I took care of three beautiful children and I miss them a lot. I was about 30 minutes away from the school by tube so the commute was not that bad. I wouldn’t live anywhere else because it saved me a lot of money and I loved the children I worked with.” – Marie Graver
“I lived in the IES Student Residence hall in Chelsea. It took about 45 minutes to get to school (we always took the tube, but there is a bus to Sadler’s Well that will get you to school also) which was the downside. However, Chelsea is such a nice neighborhood. You live right on King’s Road, with tons of food and shopping, and I recommend the residence hall. Many of the other students lived on campus, and although commuting to class wasn’t fun, I would still live in Chelsea if I could do it again.” – Christine Groesbeck
“IES Residence Hall – Chelsea, London, UK. Great place to live. A little small, but overall I would say the safety and extremely nice neighborhood made the experience worth it. I would live there again.” – Steve Buege
“No tight budget, but kept track of all expenses and tried to minimize as much as possible – had to cut traveling short at end of trip. I spent a grand total of 4,500 pounds with traveling, food, misc shopping, entertainment. This did not include my airfare.” – Katy Galli
“I didn’t spend too much money abroad because I had free living and a stipend. I did go out sometimes and I went to a lot of different countries so I spent a lot on travel. I allowed myself to spend 5 quid a day and 20 quid for the weekend. I spent about 200 quid on transportation, 1000 quid on traveling, 500 quid on food and fun.” – Marie Graver
“I didn’t have a set budget per week, but I had a total amount that I planned to stay within throughout the semester. I didn’t calculate the amount per week, but I stayed within budget. Traveling can get expensive and you should be prepared to spend more than you planned in certain cases. It can be difficult to judge before going to a new city just how much you will need while you are there. Also, going to the grocery store when you can instead of eating in restaurants can help save you money.” – Christine Groesbeck
“I spent a lot of money while abroad. I did have a budget for trips when I traveled, but my biggest recommendation would be to keep a detailed excel file of your expenditures when you are abroad. I tried to keep track of how much I spent on travel, food, and drink while on every trip. I also tried to limit each weekend trip to 500 USD, too. I was very flexible with my spending though because I figured when else am I going to be over here with as much free time as I want.” – Steve Buege
“Personal Finance, Risk Analysis & Modelling, Company Valuation, Historic London – Western, Performing Arts in London.
Took 1 finance class for finance major credit, 1 western, 3 electives pass/fail. Classes did not seem as difficult only because there is no homework/quizzes and as study abroad students we had the option to not the final and instead write an additional paper, etc. (Minimal work until the last 3 weeks of the semester). Classes were approximately 35-45 students with the ability to get to know if professor if you wanted – similar to U of I.” – Katy Galli
“I took Principles of Marketing (BADM 320, 3 credits), Strategies for Marketing (Elective, 3 credits), Portfolios and Fixed Income (Fin Elective, 3 credits), Performing Arts in London (Lit/Arts, 3 credits), History of London (Western Civ, 3 credits).
The classes are not very difficult and there is not too much work. The grades depend on one group project and one final exam. There was not much homework and the final exam had little to do with the material I learned in class. I didn’t really need to go to class because the teacher just goes over the lecture notes they provide you (for free). I didn’t even need to buy books. The only thing I disliked was the group project because I was put with international students who spoke and wrote very poor English. I ended up having to edit and rewrite everyone’s broken English.” – Marie Graver
“Derivatives Trading & Hedging transfers as Fin 412. International Finance transfers as Fin 451. Fixed Income Portfolio Management transfers as Fin 4xx. Historic London and Performing Arts in London transfer back as Historical Perspectives and Literature and the Arts credits.
These classes don’t require much work throughout the semester, but there will be term papers and group projects due at the end. The teachers are friendly and approachable if you need help and don’t wait until the end to start your work. I am still waiting to hear what my grades were, but I think I did well. Most of my group projects were with other international students so I did a lot of final editing of the papers. Also, you may have to take the alternate exams which are usually another paper or project instead of an exam.” – Christine Groesbeck
“The classes I took match up a bit different than those offered now, however, the only two classes I would strongly recommend are “History of London” and “Performing Arts in London.” Most classes transfer back since London is the most similar to our courses here. I got 15 hours of credit for the semester. (5 classes total)
London classes were much easier than UIUC. You have one major project for each class and a final at the end of semester. Basically, during the semester you just need to go to class and pay attention and everything will be great.” – Steve Buege
Preparation Before Studying Abroad
“Took extra hours before I left and 1 summer session when I returned, but other than that it wasn’t difficult to achieve graduation requirements.” – Katy Galli
“I got ahead on my classes by half a year so that I could take my gen eds in London. The only class I could take towards my major was BADM 320 so plan accordingly.” –Marie Graver
“I had several hours of credit going into my first semester, so studying abroad did not set me back at all. I planned to go during my junior year so there would be plenty of time to get all the paperwork transferred before graduation.” – Christine Groesbeck
“Talk to your advisor to make sure going abroad does not put you behind schedule for graduation. As long as you know you can still finish in time, get over there!” – Steve Buege
From London, students traveled to:
- Nice, Paris - France
- Venice, Cinque Terre, Florence - Italy
- Edinburgh, The Highlands - Scotland
- Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- Granada, Barcelona - Spain
- Dublin, Ireland
- Bath, UK
- Oslo, Norway
- Goteburg, Sweden
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Zurich, Switzerland
Cheapest place to travel to:
- Dublin, Ireland – very inexpensive and quick plane ride from London. (32 pounds airfare)
- Flights to Oslo were pretty cheap as well.
- The easiest place to travel to was Paris because the Eurostar train goes back and forth from London. Don’t go to Oslo if you want something cheap because it is the most expensive city in the world.
- Ryan Air - cheap but uncomfortable seat.
- Easy Jet
- Eurostar Train to Paris or Brussels (cheaper during off-peak travel times)
- Castle Rock in Edinburgh, Scotland was great! Clean, close to all tourist things
- St. Christopher’s hostel in Paris good rates and great beds and it’s really clean!
- Gothic Point Hostel in Barcelona
Fun things to do in the other countries:
- Monaco - Monte Carlo Casino
- Scotland - tour of The Highlands in Scotland; leaves from Edinburgh
- Paris - Eat crepes because they are the BEST. Drink wine under the Eiffel Tower. Climb the stairs to the top of the Eiffel tower even though it is very scary. Go to the Louvre and Sacre Coeur!
- Oslo - See the beautiful and mysterious statues at Statue Park. Also see the Opera House.
- Ireland - See St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Guinness Tour, and Dublin Castle
- Italy - eat gelato and pasta
- Barcelona - visit Parc Guell
- Try new foods, wander down streets and markets... explore!!!
“9 mile hike through 5 towns in Cinque Terre, Italy” – Katy Galli
“My favorite memory is of giving baths to the 6 month old baby because she was the sweetest baby I have ever seen. There is something about that baby which makes me feel very sad that I will never see her again. She smiled all the time and I loved playing with her. She laughed at me when I made faces or blew air on her face. She was incredibly soft and fragile, but could hold on to toys like a monkey! I know that this doesn’t have much to do with studying abroad, but it made me really appreciate motherhood and giving life.” – Marie Graver
“This question is difficult. I think my favorite memories are the fun nights out with the friends that I made in London. I also really enjoyed days at the markets (any of them) and getting to know London so well. Even the moments that weren’t so great seem awesome in hindsight.” – Christine Groesbeck
“Don’t worry about spending the money, you won’t regret it later – an international experience is far greater than anything you can achieve at home, so travel frequently, and capitalize on every opportunity.” – Katy Galli
“Makes friends with anyone and everyone you can! It’s a great experience and everyone wants to have fun. Include yourself on every event because you’re only going to be there for a short period of time. Don’t worry about money so much because you only live once!” – Marie Graver
“Always make the best out of your situation. The minute it’s over you’ll wish you had it back. I was in London for a whole semester and never took a trip up to Edinburgh, Scotland, which I regret. So try to plan your trips early so you can get better priced tickets and fit everything in. Take lots of pictures!!! It may feel silly at the time, but they are fun to look back on when you get home.” – Christine Groesbeck
*** While in London, you definitely need to go to the different markets! – Borough Market (great food), Camden Market (clothes, food, etc.), Spittalfield Market (clothes, food, etc.) and many more.
*** While in London , you definitely need to DO IT ALL! Basically, do not waste any days you are there. Go out every night, whether it is to drink, to go to a play, or to simply ride the Tube around town. Have a blast!
*** While in London, you definitely need to take advantage of the sunny days by checking out the city parks (Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Regents Park, Battersea Park, etc.) The parks are nice little getaways within the city if you need a little break.
*** While in Ireland, you definitely need to take the Guinness Tour!
*** While in Bath, you need to go see the Stonehenge!
*** While in Paris, you definitely need to eat nutella and banana crepes! And escargot!!
*** While in Paris, you definitely need to go to the Refuge du Fondue restaurant in Monmartre. It’s a really fun fondue place (reasonably priced! You can look it up online for directions/ pricing) open for dinner and we really enjoyed it.
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