I spoke with Hayley Meisel, a junior double majoring in English and communications, who studied abroad in London. She attended University College London, a renowned university located in the heart of the city through a Tulane-sponsored exchange program.
Q: What drew you to London?
Being an English major, I only had a limited number of places I was eligible to study abroad in and still receive major credit. I took a British Literature class during my sophomore year at Tulane and loved it and felt like London had everything I was looking for and more.
Q: What were your classes like compared to classes at Tulane?
I went to the University College London (UCL) and was definitely expecting a lighter workload compared to my classes at Tulane. A lot of people who have studied abroad say that classes abroad are easier than in the U.S. but I had just as much work abroad as I usually have at Tulane. On the other hand, most classes assigned one big final project or paper that was due at the end of the term that we were expected to work on outside of class instead of nightly homework or midterm exams. It was not as easy as it sounds and I’m super happy to be back in my Tulane classes.
Q: What’s a typical day like?
My apartment was about two miles away from my university so I would have to either walk or use public transportation to get there. Luckily, the public transportation system in London is really easy to use but I preferred walking to have the opportunity to see a little bit more of the city. After picking up a coffee (or a tea!), I’d spend a few hours in class and doing work on campus before meeting my friends to try a new restaurant for dinner. We tried to do as much as we could while we were there because we knew being abroad with each other was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do in the city?
I visited the Tower of London twice when I was in London and fell in love with it. It’s definitely a tourist attraction but it’s really unique compared to some of the other things in the city and very rich in history. On a more regular basis, I loved thrift shopping at Camden Market or on Brick Lane (refer to Hayley’s thrifting article!).
Q: Where did you travel? Is it easy to get around?
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel all over Europe and had the best time. I went to Portugal, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Prague, Austria, Spain, Italy, and the Czech Republic. London has six major airports in and around the city as well as an international train station with trains to France, the Netherlands, and Belgium. There are tubes and trains that will take you directly to the airports as well as buses. It definitely made traveling a lot easier.
Q: What advice do you have for someone studying abroad with friends?
I went abroad with three of my close friends. We lived in a small two-bedroom apartment together in Shoreditch. I would say that if you’re planning to go abroad with your friends, make sure they are people you are comfortable being with day in and day out. I was with the girls I went abroad with 24/7 because we traveled together most weekends and our apartment in London was really small. We had the best time and I would do it again in a heartbeat but I definitely couldn’t go abroad with just anyone.
Q: What is something someone considering studying in London should know?
I was worried that there wouldn’t be enough “culture” in London compared to some other European cities. I was so wrong. There is so much history in London and the people are absolutely amazing. I had never before left the United States and I’m so happy I chose London to be my home base in Europe. I loved not having to worry about a language barrier while still able to enrich myself in a new city. I’m obviously biased, but I think London is the best city to go abroad to in Europe and I am looking forward to going back 🙂