Mikael tells all about his study abroad experience
The best reasons to study abroad at London Met
I spent the spring semester of 2010/11 studying abroad in London, England at London Metropolitan University. It was one of the best experiences of my life and I have been able to gain so much during my time abroad. The vast and lively city of London has a lot to offer students from any country.
These are my top reasons to choose London as your study abroad destination.
London is located in the heart of the United Kingdom. It is home to the Royal family and there are some of the most prestigious and historical places in the world within the city such as Big Ben and the London Eye. The lifestyle in London is stunning and vibrant; there is so much to do and so many places to see, one can just stare in awe for hours at the beauty and grandeur of the city. The fast-paced city life can take a while to get used to but if you do, you will find that London has so much to offer.
I have found that not only will studying abroad in London allow you to see one of the greatest cities in the world, but it also enables you to travel to several places throughout Europe. London is most likely the travel center for Europe as you can take a train or bus to places such as Paris or take a short flight to Ireland, Italy or Germany, all for a fairly low cost.
My friends and I went on a weekend trip to Holland and Belgium by train, which turned out to be the trip of a lifetime and a truly memorable experience. Studying abroad in London allowed me to travel to other world-renowned cities such as Brussels in Belgium. There are so many great cities in Europe that can be easily accessed from London. The only problem is choosing which places to visit and when to go! Easter break is an especially great time for traveling in the spring as you have an entire two weeks to do it. Just make sure you plan early!
London has a very different university life from other countries. The courses, internships and degrees offered in London can lead to great work experience and other opportunities, providing a path for a better career. I can definitely say from my own experience that studying abroad in London is a resumé booster.
Another great aspect of university life in London is all the activities, classes and societies or clubs that are offered for students to get involved with the community and fellow students. There are societies and clubs organized for people to get together to have fun, relax and enjoy the British culture. I have been involved with some events that the international student community put on and I enjoyed every minute being at those events.
One recent trip was a relaxing day trip to Brighton and it was a great way to meet some new friends, relax on the beach and the pier, and try some new things as we even went to a fancy Italian restaurant that served delicious seafood pasta dishes.
I have also participated in the London Met recreational football team and games which was a great way to stay fit and have a lot of fun. I met several of my friends here in Britain through the recreational sports and clubs. It’s a great offer that people should take advantage of, to not only have new experiences but also be fully involved with the British university system and lifestyle!
If you’re a person that loves to shop then you might not want to go to London because you will spend all of your money. London is a shopping paradise! There are several huge markets that have everything from antiques to groceries.
There are also the big shopping and clothing store streets such as Brick lane, where one can find almost every souvenir they are looking for. Everything from little key chain souvenirs, to the "I love London" shirts, to super-high priced Armani suits can easily be found in London, all probably on one street! It all depends how much you want to spend, but one thing is for sure you can surely find the perfect souvenir.
The night life in the city can be wild and entertaining – it’s awesome. There are plenty of pubs and clubs to check out during your stay; over 3,000 pubs in London and practically one on every street corner. The pubs and clubs can be a great way to really see firsthand how the British culture can be and have a fantastic time doing it. So if you like to dance or enjoy pop, indie, or rock music while having a good British drink or two then you will surely enjoy your stay in London.
And, with the easy and reliable public transportation in London, it makes it very safe to go out, to several pubs if you want, and be back at your housing at a reasonable time. The steaming night life can get crowded as it seems everyone in London loves to go out almost every night, but it’s a ton of fun resulting in some great experiences and sights!
International student benefits
Being a study abroad student has its advantages. One of these advantages is that the programme you enrol on ensures that you will get some cultural experiences while abroad. This is done by arranging events and activities for the study abroad students to participate in. For instance, the International Programmes Office took us to the Lion King at the famous Lyceum theatre.
Another event we had was that all of the study abroad students got to go to dinner and from there onto the London Eye, which is the number one attraction in London. Both events were fantastic and are excellent ways to be social and see some once-in-a-lifetime sights in a friendly environment.
Probably the best part of all of this is that the events set up by the International Programmes Office are part of your study abroad programme so you don’t have to pay anything as it is already included in your study abroad fees!
Recreational activities, events and other fun stuff
There is literally so much to do and see in London that it could take years to actually say “you’ve done it all.” It ranges from superb professional football games, and the crazy atmosphere that it brings, to elegant theatre plays. You definitely can’t miss the fantastic and world famous venues that host plays and concerts such as KOKO where I was lucky enough to see an unbelievable rock concert; easily one of the best venues and performances I have ever seen.
All of these recreational events can usually be found for a reasonable price, although the football games can get a little pricey as the British love the game more than life itself.
There is so much going on in London. The amazing entertainment to be seen and heard, the beautiful and historical sights that are some of the top attractions in the world, along with the easy transportation to travel to other great cities, and the unique and beneficial university system make one thing certain; if you choose to go to London, you will never be bored!