No matter how much time you spend bragging about the fact that you’re studying abroad next semester, it’s likely you still feel nervous about living on a new continent for three months. You may spend weeks reading posts on your study away site’s blog and hours in an orientation session but still feel unprepared. WSN spoke with students from at NYU London to find out what you really need to know before you board your flight across the pond.
There are Free Textbooks in the Dorm’s Study Rooms
One seriously underrated benefit of spending the semester in London is that your textbooks are free. Yes, you read that correctly: you can get all the textbooks you will need for your classes in London completely free. In the study rooms of the two NYU-owned and operated dorms in London, Byron Court and Guilford House, you can find piles of textbooks left behind by former students free for your taking, according to CAS junior Evy Hall.
“I found out about it from a friend of a friend who had studied abroad in London the semester before,” Hall said. “I was able to find most of things that I needed, especially for my English classes [which] have like 14 books on the booklist.”
Hall said that NYUL still promotes a local bookshop that stocks all mandatory textbooks and even allows the shop to set up a booth at the student activity fair. Be sure to scope out the study rooms first and use your savings to fund your weekend trips.
You Can’t Miss Class At All, For Any Reason
In London you can’t just rely on slides from NYU Classes to help you pass your early morning lectures. Like most study away sites, NYUL students will be docked two points off their overall grades for every unexcused absence.
“I understand the policy because it’s a once a week class,” Hall said. “The policy of your overall grade going down one or two points every time is really tough.”
According to NYUL’s orientation packet, the strict policy is due to the fact that regular attendance is a key requirement for maintaining students’ immigration status.
NYUL’s academic office is especially strict around fall break. Hall said all NYUL students received an email warning that no absences would be proved without a doctor’s note for the days leading up to and immediately following the weeklong break.
European Travel Isn’t As Easy As Everyone Says
The promise of spending your weekends exploring Europe is undeniably one of the biggest draws for study abroad sites in Europe, but checking off all the European destinations from your bucket list isn’t as easy as seems on Instagram, according to Stern junior Laura White. The first hurdle is finding a compatible travel group.
“I do wish someone told me more about the social dynamics of traveling, [like] the pros and cons of traveling in large groups versus small groups or alone,” White said. “That changes the entire trip.”
When looking for potential travel partners, don’t forget to consider your schedules.
“You don’t have as many weekends as you think,” Hall said. “It’s a little bit disappointing because everyone has a lot of destinations that they want to go to, but you’ll find that most classes have mandatory Friday makeup classes and weekend field trips.”
While booking flights and accommodations far in advance will save a lot of money, Hall also recommended abiding by the rules NYU gives you before you go.
“Definitely don’t plan anything until you have your syllabi,” Hall said.
You’ll Still Experience Culture Clash
Another great benefit of spending your semester in London is that you won’t be required to take a foreign language, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect a little culture shock. Gallatin junior Jonathan Ji said that the transition can be especially difficult for students of color, as NYUL’s neighborhood is significantly less diverse than Greenwich Village.
“I think NYU should have talked more about how to deal with culture clash,” Ji said. “I think the biggest thing I was not prepared for when studying abroad and traveling was how to act in situations where you felt uncomfortable being American but also Asian.”
Email Taylor Nicole Rogers at [email protected]