Studying Abroad in the UK
I get asked the question of whether or not I enjoy studying abroad in London quite often and if I had to answer it in one word, it'd be: yes. I find London a wonderful city to be young in. Sounds funny, but I feel it's the direct European reflection of New York (obviously not in every aspect). I think that this is perhaps why I love London so much. It's a place that has a bit of everything. If you feel like going to a new art exhibit or a concert, there is always something available for you to do at all times. London, like any other place, has it's quirks, and it's these quarks that I feel after my year in London are now engrained into me. In many of my other blog posts, I've discussed the bits and bobs that makeup Londoners. They're self loathing, bitter, polite and humourous. Londoners are New Yorkers turned on their heads, perhaps because they hail from Europe.
If I had to give recommendations to people thinking about coming here, I'd tell them first and formost to be aware that you're going to be spending quite a bit more money than anticipated. At times it gets me angry even. There is no sort of food available through NYU, although every dorm has a kitchen. The kitchens are a great idea because I particularly love to cook and bake but some don't have ovens, others are layed out poorly and some don't have a dining area so you end up just eating in your bedroom, which I find odd. Another expense that adds up is transportation. The tube is expensive, however if you can, take the bus because they're really great. NYU has a weird policy about transportation to and from feild trips though. Many of my classes first semester and two now require many visits and NYU makes me pay for all of them. Sometimes I even have to travel to multiple places with my class. These fees add up and you won't even realize them. Still on the cost, don't forget the exchange rate. It fluctuates between 1.6 and 1.7 to the dollar but honestly, depending on bank or credit card policies just double it because that's the truer price. Plus, London is aready not a cheap city to live in so coming from the States, be weary.
I would say you can't go wrong with any dorm. Byron is super social, Guilford is clean and Woburn is nice and all singles. I've lived in Woburn and Guilford and while I do like Woburn better, Guilford was really lovely and welcoming. Woburn is run by a third party company however, so the strict guest policies that NYU enforces don't apply at all here which is really nice.
If you decide to come to London, don't take for granted all the incredible history around you. Take an art class or an architecture class, even if it's not your thing. Everything is just so accessible and has such a deep and interesting history. This is something we don't get in America and it really left such an incredible impression upon me. The London campus on Bedford square is beautiful, when the sun is out and you have your lunch break inbetween classes, there's nothing better than sitting on a bench to eat your lunch. Also, don't miss out on all the nightlife here. There's literally something for everyone, so you'll be able to find your thing. If you aren't a big partier, pub life is a very interesting aspect of English culture. However, clubs and bars are really cool and fun here and aren't as stuck up as NYC establishments.
I'd give a word of caution though regarding the academics. If you're studying abroad looking to boost your GPA or to have an easy year, stay away from London. I feel it's graded very unfairly and does not reflect the home campus grading or expectations at all. British people grow up on a very different schooling than we do in America, and this is something that is inherently engrained into the professors grading of us. We're suppose to be graded the same way as we would be in NYU New York, but I hear of kids in Madrid, Berlin and Florence having no homework and easy tests. Here in London, academia is serious and is perhaps more time consuming than in New York. However, in it's defence, I will say I've grown a lot as a student from these higher expectations. Sure my procrastonation methods have gotten a bit craftier over the year, but my writing and tone of voice have really grown.
Overall I'd say come to London. You'll enjoy it.
I've attached a funny little "did you know" type video about London on history.com, go over to the site and watch it, it's good, trivial fun.