Hey USWIB! My name is Cissy Shao and I’m one of your study abroad liaisons in London. I’m currently a sophomore majoring in Business and Political Economy (BPE), which means I’ll also be studying in Shanghai next semester (the BPE curriculum has changed from a full year in London to just one semester), which I am super excited for. I officially have only one month left in the UK, which blows my mind. I’ve had such an incredible and enlightening experience living here so far, but believe people when they say time goes by fast when you’re abroad!
Moving to London, in my opinion, doesn’t require much of an adjustment when coming from New York. Both are diverse cities where you can walk/take public transport anywhere, and most importantly both are English-speaking. Language barrier is usually the main component of experiencing “culture shock”, but the only things you need to get used to here are the accents and the vernacular! I would say the main differences are that London is much less crowded, it’s always cloudy/rainy, there are far fewer skyscrapers, and the culture and people seem much more relaxed. Nevertheless, I think it’s an amazing city with so much to offer and explore.
At NYU London, I’m taking Foundations of Finance (Nitzsche), A History of London (Inwood), and two required BPE courses, World Politics (Gabay) and Macroeconomics (Macchiarelli). I would say the workload is relatively easy compared to NYC, and classes only meet once a week for 3 hours. My favorite class is Finance, which I would highly recommend taking in London. Professor Dirk is a very engaging lecturer and explains the concepts well. A History of London is less interesting, but the professor is the sweetest and the class isn’t demanding at all (a lot of walking tours of London!!). For anyone in BPE, World Politics with Gabay is the BEST and you should avoid taking Macro here if you can. Trust me.
I’m currently living in Byron Court, one of the three on-campus options in London (the other two are Urbanest and Guilford). I live in a double room in a suite shared by four people, with one bathroom. The rooms and facilities in Byron are great, it’s close to campus (10-15 minute walk), and has an incredibly convenient shopping center nearby. Some people prefer Urbanest, which is insanely nice and allows you to have your own room and bathroom—the only thing is that it’s about 40 minutes away from campus. I love living in Byron and its proximity to class, but it all depends on what’s most important to the individual.
I have also been traveling quite a bit on the weekends, like most people who study away. My friends and I are taking advantage of the fact that flights and trains from London to other European countries are relatively cheap, and so far I’ve been to Sweden, Belgium, Portugal, Italy, and Morocco. I have loved every single place I’ve visited, with Morocco being my favorite (sunsets in the Sahara--enough said). It’s truly an incredible opportunity to be able to travel and experience so many unique cultures, meet new people, and try different foods. I return from each trip with so many stories and having learned so much.
Now, in the final weeks of the semester, I plan on exploring London and the UK a lot more; I’ve realized that amid all the traveling, I haven’t properly gotten to know the city I live in. London itself has so many opportunities and a huge diversity of neighbourhoods that I’ve been taking for granted. Regardless, these past few months have been a dream, and I would recommend studying here to anyone. I could not be more grateful!
Cheers for now, USWIB!