Off to London We Go! My Dartmouth-UCL Exchange Experience
This fall, I've had the opportunity to study abroad at University College London (UCL) through an economics exchange program. Soaking up a new culture in the bustling UK capital, I've learned a lot—not only about economics, but also about myself.
I hadn't been in London since I was four years old, so I was super thrilled when I found out I was accepted into this program during my sophomore spring term. To prepare for our arrival, I attended the Guarini Institute for International Education's info-session Zoom during summer term along with a meeting with our program-specific student alumni mentor Grace. These sessions were especially helpful as our cohort of six were advised on course selection, housing arrangements, adapting to a new environment, and other helpful tips for studying abroad.
My study abroad experience started off a bit unconventionally because a leg injury in early September put me in a splint for six weeks. Despite the unforeseen circumstances, the staff at Dartmouth's Guarini Institute and UCL's Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing team were extremely supportive and accommodating as I prepared for my delayed arrival in London.
Although I missed Hanover's gorgeous fall foliage, studying abroad in London has been one of my most memorable terms yet! A change in pace from Dartmouth's rural charm, my term has consisted of finding yummy international restaurants and cafés within walking distance of my dorm and visiting iconic city landmarks like Buckingham Palace and the Big Ben. I've found the joy of reading books for pleasure, taking long walks around Regent's Park, watching the World Cup, and sipping on British afternoon tea with friends. As the days grew shorter, I've enjoyed the festive Christmas decorations lighting up every street corner.
London is by far the most popular destination amongst Dartmouth juniors studying abroad, with a total of 38 students in our "Fall in England" GroupMe. This exchange program has allowed me to grow closer with Dartmouth students in my cohort as well as make unforgettable memories with those from the Government London School of Economics FSP and the History UCL FSP. I took the Eurostar to Paris with my dad in October and am looking forward to flying to Ireland with some Dartmouth friends next week.
And of course, the academics! When applying, I was not aware that Dartmouth's exchange students would be on a pass/fail system, but I was pleasantly surprised as it has allowed me to focus on the learning process without the stress of grades. At UCL, I am taking four classes: Economics of the Public Sector, Economic History, An Introduction to Applied Economic Analysis, and a Geography module called Urban Political Ecology where we blog about a chosen city (you can read mine about Manila here!). The four course credits will transfer towards my Dartmouth graduation requirements—two of which count as electives toward my Economics major, and one of which goes towards my Environmental Studies major as a core course.
The next step in my D-Plan is to take my junior winter off interning as a legal assistant with a law firm in New York City. I will miss London dearly, but I will cherish my exchange experience for life and am excited for what the future holds in the Big Apple!