What is the history of the Boston-London Experience?
The Boston-London Experience was founded when Boston University President Robert Brown charged the College of General Studies with designing a program that prioritizes global experience and study. CGS’ unique educational strengths—the team approach and emphasis on interdisciplinary learning—allowed CGS faculty to craft a cohesive, interdisciplinary curriculum for an intensive summer semester. CGS’ team system—with faculty teaching the same set of students in Boston and London—and our robust academic advising program foster a supportive and cohesive environment for first-year students launching into their first study abroad experience.
Boston University piloted the program with about 80 students in January 2014, expanding the program as its unique combination of a gap semester and study abroad attracted more students. Starting in the academic year 2019-2020, all CGS first-year students begin their studies in January, followed by the summer semester abroad.
Who will teach my London classes?
The same full-time College of General Studies professors you have in Boston will teach your London classes. They’ll continue your courses right where you left off in Boston—studying the “century of change (1850-1950)” and the six tipping points that shaped the modern world—so you have continuity from one semester to the next.
How do I complete 14 credits in six weeks?
It’s challenging! But the six-week intensive semester is carefully designed to help you succeed. You have the same number of hours with your professors in both the Boston and the London semesters. Your credit hours include time in the classroom and experiences outside of it—all guided by your faculty to reinforce what you’re learning. The team system helps professors coordinate assignments and coursework. And you won’t be adapting to a new set of professors. This will be your second semester with the same set of faculty, so you’ll already know their expectations.
Where will I live in London?
The buildings are all within walking distance of the BU London Academic Centre, where most of your classes will take place. They vary in size, configuration, and style of decoration and consist mainly of shared bedrooms (three to four students per bedroom) with an ensuite toilet & shower room for each bedroom. Communal living/dining rooms with cooking facilities are shared among residents per floor. WiFi internet access is provided in each of the buildings. Bed linens (sheets, pillow, comforter) are provided but towels are not. The kitchen has essential cookware as well as dishes and cutlery provided. Self-service laundry facilities are in the basement level of each residence.
Each student will be assigned to a Resident Life Supervisor (RLS) during their stay, who functions in a similar way to an RA in Boston.
All rooms are of different sizes and configurations and there is no standard room. Bed sizes are UK standard single – 3 feet wide and 6 feet 3 inches long. Rooms do not contain desks; however, each residence building contains study areas and a classroom which are open to students outside of regular teaching hours. The library and common room facilities at BU London main campus, 43 Harrington Gardens, can also be used to study.
The residences are located near to Gloucester Road and South Kensington tube stations.
All residences are within walking distance from each other and major local landmarks, such as the Natural History Museum, Hyde Park and the Royal Albert Hall. You can find more information about the local area in this guide.
What does a typical week look like?
You’ll have four hours of classes each day in social sciences, humanities, and rhetoric. Each week also includes assignments that take you out into the city—to museums, monuments, and landmarks. You’ll also take trips with your faculty to places like Oxford, Bath, and Greenwich.
Will I have time to do anything besides classes and homework?
Yes! You’ll have plenty of time to explore the culture and sights of London. Many of your assignments involve getting out into the city and going to museums or historical sites. Boston University Study Abroad also provides an optional social program with trips outside of London. Past highlights: Harry Potter Studio Tour, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Tea at the Tate, Edinburgh, Kensington Palace, Windsor Castle, and the London Eye, and theater.
Are there dining halls on-site?
There are no dining halls in the residence halls, so our students have the adventure of cooking their food or sampling London’s amazing culinary options. The residence halls have shared kitchen space—with several refrigerators and lots of pantry and counter space. Students shop for food at nearby grocery stores like Sainsbury’s. You might be intimidated at the thought of managing your own meals, but a lot of students find that they love the challenge and independence.
How will Boston University communicate with me about deadlines and to-do items?
- Program Timeline: The May after you accept your admission to Boston University, CGS will give you a program timeline that gives you a roadmap for every month, from May right through your London semester. Want to know when you’ll hear about billing or group flights? When you need to renew your passport? When you’ll register for spring classes? It’s all on the program timeline!
- Newsletter: From May through the day you arrive in January, CGS will also be sending you a monthly newsletter with helpful info and key deadlines.
- Pre-departure page: After you arrive at Boston University, Study Abroad will provide you with a pre-departure page that maps out everything you’ll need to know and do. Keep an eye out for their emails, too!
Will I need a visa for the London semester?
U.S. citizens do not need to apply for a visa before departure. Students are granted a “Short-term Study” status at no fee, which allows them to study in the U.K., leaving and returning as often as desired during the program. Students who hold a passport from a country other than the U.S. or European Union may need to apply for a pre-entry U.K. Short-term Study Visa and some citizenships require a Schengen Visa for travel on the European continent. Study Abroad contacts these students with further instruction.
Is London safe?
You’ll be living and going to classes in a very safe part of London. In the event of an emergency or a crisis, Boston University London has a full staff prepared with contingency and emergency plans to keep you safe.
When do I find out if I’m going in the first or second summer session?
The date of your summer semester will be determined when you register for spring semester classes in November.
What if I have medical or mental health needs during the semester?
All students participating in a BU Study Abroad program will be automatically enrolled in a plan which includes comprehensive health and evacuation insurance. Policy information will be sent to you via email approximately two weeks prior to your program start date. Boston University Study Abroad will give you detailed instructions on how to handle medication and prescriptions and how to find doctors and specialists if you need them.
Is there academic support during the London semester?
CGS academic advisors will be on-site for part of each summer session, holding meetings with students and open office hours for students to drop in and ask questions. Boston University London also has a library—open for extended hours—where students can study, print papers, and work with a writing specialist.
Will I book a group flight or can I go by myself?
Boston University Study Abroad handles most travel logistics for your semester in London. Study Abroad works with a travel agency to offer group flights from designated US cities, which are included in the cost of the program. In the first few months of the spring semester, BU Study Abroad emails students with the details on the booking procedure, travel dates, and deadline. Students may choose not to reserve a seat on the group flight, in which case the amount of the group flight fare will be deducted from the cost of the London program. Your deadline to book the group flight will vary for students attending in Summer 1 or in Summer 2.
When do I find out about housing and roommates in London?
You’ll submit your housing preferences in late March or early April, and your London room assignments will be announced in April.
What do I need to bring for the residence halls?
Bed linens (e.g., sheets, pillow and cases, and duvet) are provided, but bath linens (e.g., towels, wash cloths) are not. Students should plan to pack or purchase these as well as all personal and cleaning supplies.
Why does the London semester cost about as much as the Boston semester, even though it’s only six weeks?
Tuition is a similar cost because you’ll be taking a full semester course load of 14 credits. The full cost of the semester includes added costs such as housing, airfare to London from designated cities, mandatory field trips, and mandatory international health insurance. You won’t have to apply for separate financial aid, as with other summer study abroad programs. If you receive a Boston University scholarship for the spring you will automatically receive an identical scholarship for the summer term.