During Spring of 2023, I had the opportunity to study abroad in London through the Knowledge Exchange Program (KEI). The program was made up of 13 students from all over the United States: Chicago, Houston, New York City, Ohio and more. Because KEI is typically made up of a smaller group, I was able to form very close relationships with the people I met. In fact, I met some of my best friends to this day. And if you choose to study abroad with KEI in London, your on-sight program provider will be Susannah; she is one of the most wonderful people I have met! Because of her and the friends I made studying abroad, I always felt like I had a home in London.
My initial interpretation of London was that it felt like New York City. I found that both cities were very diverse and had a fast pace of life. However, I soon realized that London had its own unique characteristics, unlike any city I had been to before. Each building and street holds so much character and hundreds of years of history. And whether it’s the park next to Buckingham Palace or the one behind your dorm, they are some of the most beautiful parks I saw across Europe/UK. The museums are, for the most part, always free; I highly encourage students to take advantage of each one in London. And finally, what I miss the most about the city is the public transportation. London had the cleanest and most efficient public transportation, in my opinion, with trains running every few minutes. And I never felt unsafe taking the train late at night.
There are several fun trips planned through KEI that are included in your program fees. Some of my favorites were day trips to the White Dover Cliffs, Stonehenge, Bath, and Cambridge, as well as an overnight trip to Wales. Considering the dorms are located in the heart of the city, and the fact that KEI sends you on great trips, the program’s price is the most affordable option compared to others in London that I researched.
Through KEI, students will study at the London South Bank University (LSBU). This university gives students a three week Spring break. During this time and on various weekends, I had the opportunity to see the following cities: Belfast, Dublin, Oxford, Paris, Annecy, Lagos, Geneva, Lake Como, Florence, Rome, and Amalfi. I would highly recommend students studying in the UK to first see cities in their own region before venturing out to Europe–the cities in the UK ended up being my favorite!
As far as advice goes, I would recommend that students studying abroad say “yes” to every opportunity, even if it falls outside your comfort zone. Go to a city you have never heard of, invite new people out for coffee, book tickets to live shows, try each and every new food you come across, have long conversations with locals, and take yourself out to dinner alone. Doing so many new things, and at a constant pace, can also be exhausting. There will always be a point that students realize they are tired and feel overwhelmed with the over-simulation. When this happens, listen to yourself and your body and take a break from the “study abroad mentality”. It
is more than okay to lay in bed and rest from the constant exploring.
But more than anything, be safe and have fun! Studying abroad is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I feel so thankful to have had help and support from both KEI and the UTC Study Abroad Office. I encourage each person to take advantage of a semester abroad.
Nadia San (BS Marketing) spent Spring 2023 studying abroad in London, England through KEI. Nadia had the following to say about studying abroad, “Studying abroad in London was an opportunity full of growth and exploration. I encourage every student to step outside their comfort zone and explore a new city.”
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