Study Abroad: North America

A trip to San Francisco bay, to see sea lions!

Larissa, a BA English student at King’s, spent one of her semesters during her second year studying abroad, at the University of California (Berkeley campus). In this blog post, she speaks about her experience, which might be something you want to get involved with yourself when studying at King’s!

Sather Gate, on the Berkeley campus. It’s actually the inspiration behind the campus in the iconic Pixar film, Monster’s University!

Why study abroad?

I studied abroad to make the most out of my time at university. King’s provides fantastic opportunities to broaden your horizons, and my semester abroad during my second year has been the highlight of my university experience. Additionally, there is a reduction in your King’s tuition fee for studying abroad — even if it is only for one semester. You also do not pay additional tuition to your host exchange university, though you can expect to pay administrative and living costs. [Check the King’s study abroad pages for the up to date info by clicking here]

How I got involved:

I went to the Go Global week ran by the Global Mobility office in November of my first year. Then, I submitted a written application to the King’s Mobility office around March that academic year, and was allocated the University of California in July. From there, I made a second written application directly to the University of California. I was allocated to the University of California’s Berkeley campus, (known affectionately as Cal,) in September.

Staying on top of things was definitely a challenge. I was juggling administrative tasks for my semester abroad (visas, class signups, flights and accommodation applications to name a few,) alongside my studies at King’s and various other commitments. However, my excitement about this opportunity kept me going! Additionally, the Global Mobility office at King’s provides lots of support.

Sproul Plaza, one of the prettiest places on campus.

The settling in process:

Settling in was definitely a challenge, but I got through it with a lot of planning. Orientation was compulsory at my host university, so I was able to familiarise myself the new area thanks to many tours through the (frankly, gorgeous) campus. Additionally, the staff and other students were so friendly and supportive!

Best part?

Hard to pin down, because I enjoyed everything!

I think one of my semester abroad highlights was attending an interesting talk, then being offered not just one, but two (!!!) free burgers!

But really, my experience abroad being so positive boiled down to feeling so welcomed by the people I met. From strangers, to my classmates and my professors, I had a fantastic time at Cal because of them.

A trip to San Francisco bay, to see sea lions!

The academic aspect

Studying at Cal was tough. I had sixteen contact hours a week during my semester abroad. The relatively intense class schedule was absolutely worth it though, especially considering what I was allowed to study!

Thanks to my host university’s liberal arts-style education system, where I able to take classes from all kinds of different departments, it ended up being an amazing study experience. While I love my degree at King’s, I missed being able to study other subjects that interest me from before I started University.

The grading system was also different. Marks were counted for class participation, attendance, and quizzes, as well as finals and midterms. It was very intense and definitely not something that I was used to! I could really feel the pressure. Luckily, the faculty at my host university were extremely nice, and I received a lot of support while abroad.

Larissa’s homesickness cure of choice.

Culture shock?

Making eye contact with someone on the other side of the closed bathroom stall door…

Jokes aside, I took a lot of comfort in being able to video call my friends and family while I was studying abroad!





Read More:

To read more about Study Abroad options for you at King’s, click here

To read Eranda’s Q&A about studying English at King’s, click here

To read Ilona’s post on what a day in the life of an Arts & Hums student is like (pre-covid), click here

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