Hi USWIB! Hope all of you are having a smooth start to the semester! My name is Mahima and I’m a sophomore studying away in London this spring. I’m concentrating in Marketing and Finance with a minor in French. I love to sing, play ukulele, watch true crime documentaries, and try new recipes in my free time.
I’ve been in the U.K. for nearly a month now, so I thought I’d kick off the study abroad series by sharing my experiences with you, and by outlining some of the factors I considered (or didn’t consider) before coming to London.
1. Fall or Spring? Sophomore/Junior/Senior Year?
I usually love the energy in New York, but last semester was a total nightmare. Like many other NYU students, I was juggling an internship, an on-campus job, clubs, coursework, friends, and a bout of seasonal depression. I desperately needed a way to end the sophomore slump, so I chose to flee the country!
Jokes aside, I specifically chose to come abroad during sophomore spring because I knew that I wanted to be on campus my junior year to settle down, find an apartment, and prepare myself to recruit for marketing roles in the spring. Before I left, I took a semester to make sure that I developed strong friendships and felt comfortable around Stern and the city so that I could have an easier transition back from being abroad.
Students recruiting for traditional industries like banking or consulting often choose to go during their sophomore fall, but there are plenty of people who have successfully recruited for these roles from abroad! Make sure that you choose to go when you are truly ready in all parts of your life, not just when everyone else is going. If you aren’t sure which time is right for you, talk to your friends, your family, your advisor, upperclassmen, or anyone you trust.
You can take a maximum of 2 Stern classes when you study abroad at an NYU site, so you have the opportunity to explore your interests through electives. Most abroad sites offer similar Stern courses, with London having one of the larger course selections. Common classes include Intro to Marketing, Management and Organizations, and Organizational Communication. Some sites may only offer 2 or 3 Stern classes, so do your research ahead of time and plan what you’re taking for the year so you’re not limited in which sites you choose. I took Marketing and Management in the fall semester which automatically ruled out Prague and Florence as study away options for me in the spring.
For reference, I’m taking OrgComm, Operations Management, Climate Change, and Topics in Art and War this semester, which are all engaging and relevant classes.
Quite a few sites require you to take a language class alongside your normal coursework, which can make the experience even more immersive. Since I’m a French minor, I’ve taken quite a few language classes in New York, so I thought London would offer me a nice respite. If there’s a language you’re particularly interested in learning, check to see if your abroad site offers it!
London is expensive! Before you choose your abroad site, consider the exchange rate, the costs of accommodation, food, trips, and transportation. Trust me, it starts adding up. If you’re going to a metropolitan city, then chances are that the cost of living is going to be higher than other abroad sites. Housing costs in London are comparable to New York, with some options being even more expensive. There are Global Pathways Scholarships granted by the university that could reduce your living costs, as well as housing grants given to the site’s Diversity and Inclusion representative. Look into these options if you’re trying to work on a budget! If you do end up going abroad, I recommend discussing a budget with your family and downloading an app to keep track of it throughout the semester.
Before I got to London, I made a list of every single city I wanted to visit while in Europe, which approached 7 pages on Google Docs. Even if I didn’t have any classes or responsibilities, I wouldn’t be able to get through half. Before you go abroad, set realistic expectations for yourself. You’re going to have assignments, exams, lazy days, sick days, not to mention budget constraints. I recommend setting aside a few weekends out of the semester to explore the country and the city you’re in so you can avoid the travel burn-out. There are several affordable train and bus options, as well as discounted tours on sites like Groupon that you can take advantage of for day trips. Studying abroad is all about accumulating life experience, so don’t be too harsh on yourself if you’re unable to check off all your boxes.
Feel free to reach out to me with any questions about London or studying away! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also get in touch with me and check out more of my travel pictures on my Instagram @mkakani34 :)