I can only recommend a semester abroad to everyone and it is definitely more than worthwhile! The months in London have clearly been my favorite months and I get a little wistful at the thought that my time at LSBU in London is definitely over. So I’m all the more pleased to be able to tell you something about my time in London and hopefully motivate you to spend a semester abroad.
First of all, you should think about where to go for the semester abroad.
At first it was not at all clear to me whether I would be able to organize a semester abroad that “spontaneously” (in April I decided to do a semester abroad from September). A friend pointed me to MicroEDU and from then on it was pretty easy to organize, as the lovely and very helpful MicroEDU team was always available and stood by me.
I myself would probably have decided on another university in London in advance, as I think the quality of studies at the LSBU could be improved, but the short lead time made the LSBU’s pleasant deadlines very convenient. So after I first decided on a city and then a university on the MicroEDU page, the choice for the LSBU was clear.
The university is very centrally located in London and the nearest tube stations include Waterloo Station and Elephant and Castle. The location of the university is a dream, as you can get to the main sights quickly and I was even able to enjoy the view of the London Eye on the floor in the McLaren dormitory.
Since I was in the 5th semester of psychology at the time of my semester abroad, I looked at the university’s psychology modules. Here I give you the tip not only to choose the modules marked “Internationals”, but also to look at the modules of the regular students, because these were more convenient for me with my curriculum and I was able to do some work on site and that for mine Faculty supervisor still changing courses. I found the number of three possible modules a little bit few and would have liked more choice, which unfortunately was not possible because the maximum was three modules. I would also have liked to have had a larger selection of university groups at the LSBU, because none of the ones that did appeal to me.
The teaching at the LSBU was divided up in such a way that we had one lecture and one seminar per week per module (3 in total). The timetable therefore varies with the modules. Since all of my modules took place on Tuesday and Thursday, I had the remaining three days of the week for preparation and follow-up work and for exploring London.
While this may seem like a lot, I spent a lot of time in the LSBU library as the essays (which were 100% my academic achievement) were very time consuming. Here I give you the tip to start working on these early in order to escape the night shifts (which I experienced for the first time in London). The “Learning Resource Center” and the courses it offers can be of great help here. Overall, the relationship with the lecturers is also very good. I was always able to speak to them, write to them and quickly get used to the slightly different and sometimes more interactive teaching style.
A big plus point of the LSBU was the great student accommodation. I lived in the McLaren house and would recommend it to anyone as I think it was excellent value for money. My room was clean and had a private bathroom. I shared the kitchen with seven other roommates and we lived together very harmoniously. We had weekly “flat dinners” where we sat, cooked and talked and I would highly recommend them to you! Other rooms would not have been so good, but I was very happy with mine. I also found the staff at the McLaren dormitory to be very nice, as they could always be contacted. Only the visitor regulations at the McLaren are a bit too strict in my opinion, as visitors can stay a maximum of three nights a week and you have to plan in order to leave enough distance between the visitors. Other LSBU dormitories (e.g. Dante Road) are more accommodating, but are less at the heart of the action. I would therefore always apply for the McLaren dormitory.
According to Liuxers, there is so much to do in the area around LSBU. The Borrow Market (culinary highly recommended), the London Bridge and the Tate Modern are within walking very easy to reach and overall I’m relatively low mileage Tube or bus, as it is very well come from McLaren’s main sights.
My tips for exploring in winter would be a visit to the Kew Gardens light show, the Matilda Musical at Covent Garden and trips to other UK cities. Overall, I have traveled a lot by long-distance bus and have been to Brighton, Oxford and Edinburgh, among others (all of the places mentioned are very worth seeing in my opinion!). So definitely use your time in London to travel, especially at the beginning of the winter semester, when the weather is still good.
We also recommend using the gym, which is a five-minute walk from the McLaren and can be used free of charge by international students.
You should also register for the GP (doctor in the UK) during the orientation week in order to be able to receive good and quick care in the event of illness.
Find out about scholarships before starting the semester abroad, as the semester abroad in London is very expensive with the additional tuition fees. Maybe you are also eligible for BAföG abroad and can apply for it.
Also, try to get in touch quickly with the other internationals and your fellow students, because I got to know a lot of Germans on site, with whom you can quickly switch to the German language. Due to the many internationals, however, I was able to use my English very well and above all to improve my writing style through the essays. Dare to participate actively in the seminars, as the lecturers are very nice and courteous!
Overall, I would highly recommend the semester abroad in London and the cooperation with MicroEDU, as this time was unique for me and I am really grateful to have experienced this time in London.