What It’s Like to Study Away at NYU London

One of NYU’s most popular study away sites is the NYU London campus. But what’s the experience really like? Is the hype really worth the semester abroad? If you're looking for all things NYU London, this is the place for you! Here’s what my experience was like spending a year abroad.

I spent my whole freshman year at the NYU London campus through NYU’s Core Program in Liberal Studies. Going to college as a freshman is an exciting yet stressful time in one’s life; throw in studying away in a completely different country and it can seem extremely overwhelming. While I experienced the typical freshman year woes of getting used to be independent and living on my own, spending my whole freshman year in London ended up being the best year of my college life.

NYU Academic Center, London.

All students in the site are required to live at NYU’s academic housing facilities, but being a freshman, I was living at NYU’s predominantly all-freshman dorm, Byron Court. Rooms at all NYU London dorms consist of double or triple room apartment-style suites, with a small availability of single rooms in all buildings (with the exception of Urbanest: all single room en-suite with 4-8 rooms per suite). The buildings are all updated, but suites are all relatively small; about the size of rooms in dorms at the New York campus. All NYU London buildings are located in Central London in the Bloomsbury district. They’re all within walking distance, ranging from a 15 to 30 minute walk from the Academic Center. Bloomsbury is known as the academic area of London, home to the British Museum, Senate House Library, and The University College London campus. In short, it’s a relatively quiet area, but it’s located in close proximity to many tube stations, able to whisk you away to other parts of London in the blink of an eye.

Byron Court, London.

When studying away, you’ll be attending all your classes (Once a week for three hours, Fridays designated for class field trips) at the Academic Center. All professors are usually part time, teaching at other universities and colleges around the UK at other times during the week, but all are pretty accessible. Class sizes are very small as well; usually no more than 20 students in each class, which makes getting to know your professor and other classmates easy. While 3 hours seems like a dreadful amount of time to be locked in a classroom, professors often times use London as their campus, bringing their classes to various museums (all usually free admission in London, score!), culture sites, and historical landmarks within the city.

Piccadilly Circus, London.

During class time, I took many trips to almost every major museum in London, went on 2 walking tours (Walking through Dickens London and a Philosophical Walk through London), saw a Shakespeare play at the Sam Wanamaker playhouse, and even went on a daytrip to Kenilworth Castle outside of London. In short, don’t be too discouraged about the lengthy periods of class time. You’ll more than likely be getting out of the classroom more often than you think.

Lincoln’s Inn, London.

In addition, if your class time doesn’t allow you to get out of the classroom to explore the city, there’s various daytrips and events you can sign up for through NYU. From the Harry Potter Studio tour and trips to Bath to walking tours and seeing an England soccer (football) match, NYU provides you with a multitude of opportunities to experience the city and the country. There’s also opportunities to intern or volunteer abroad while you’re in London, so be sure to keep an eye out for those! Also, if you find yourself missing out on club life or university sponsored activities, UCL often offers NYU London students admission to attend their events and clubs.

Southall, London.

While there’s tons of stuff to do in London, you’ll probably want to go around Europe during your time there. Flights, buses, trains, and boats are incredibly cheap from London to almost anywhere in Europe. Accommodations such as Airbnb’s or hostels are also relatively cheap, especially if you plan ahead. You could also be adventurous and take the Eurostar to Paris, Brussels, or Amsterdam, but be sure to get those tickets early as prices rise quickly. My advice is to find a group of people you can travel with during your time abroad at the beginning of your study away and go from there. Even if you don’t have the money or the time to go around Europe, there’s a ton of amazing cities around the UK to explore on a daytrip for as little as 20£ round trip.

Brighton Pier, Brighton.

Even though I was there for a year, it was definitely not enough time for me to experience everything I wanted to experience in London. Even now, as a senior, I still think back to studying in Russell Square Gardens on the rare sunny days, wandering around Camden Market (tip: this is where you’ll find the best food in London, hands down), exploring Soho at night, or even curling up and writing mindlessly in a Caffe Nero. I often miss my days studying in London and consider studying abroad the best year of my college life. New York is no doubt a harbor for culture, diversity, and endless experiences, but London was unforgettable. If you have the chance to study away and NYU has your programs in London, take that chance and run with it.

All photos taken by author.