If you thought that studying abroad would be like an extended vacation, this is definitely the blog for you! Before arriving in London, I thought that it would be similar to what I was used to. In my brain: new country but same routine. But that is definitely not the case.
My class schedule in the UK is very different from my typical schedule back at my home university. In the last two and half years, I’ve had two to three classes a day, each of which lasted for a period of 80 minutes. In London, I was able to have just one class a day (or two on Monday so my Thursday could stay free). However, these classes are very, very long. The majority of my classes run for three hours, one of them lasts for four. The lectures can be quite overwhelming to sit through if you aren’t used to it. Over the last two months, I would say that it has gotten easier and time almost moves faster now that I’ve settled into a routine. Of course, once your lecture ends, you will most likely have to do homework. Because yes, assignments and essays exist over here, too.
One thing I love about only having classes Monday through Wednesday is that I can dedicate a full day to studying and completing homework, but still have a fulfilling weekend. One of my biggest concerns going abroad was having so much work that I wouldn’t be able to actually see my host country. But, after a bit of navigating, I’ve found a way that works for me. Three days of classes, one day of work, three days of exploring. I still have to study over the weekend sometimes to prepare for my exams, although I mostly have to complete essays. Reading textbooks on Thursdays won’t help me for a test on Tuesday. But, it doesn’t take over my Friday or Saturday like I worried it would.
One of my good friends is taking an additional three classes than what the minimum requires. And he has a lot of work, a lot of the time. Therefore, my biggest advice would be to keep a light schedule and if you can’t, take classes that are in your area of interest. If you like what you’re doing, the work won’t feel so much like, well, work.
Also, for my program, there are classes that are not available at my home institution, but rather, are specific to London. If you aren’t studying here, then you can’t ever take the course. So, if your program offers any rare or unique courses, look into them! You could find some really incredible opportunities to learn more about where you are staying. Plus, some courses might even have field trips to different locations around your city or town!