Letters from London: Wish you were here

Marcos Briggiler is a sophomore in the McKelvey School of Engineering studying abroad this summer as part of the Summer in London program offered through Washington University in St. Louis and CIEE. In the final post of the blog series, he'll provide interested students words of advice on how they can get the most out of the program.

As part of the Summer in London experience, participants had the opportunity to take day trips throughout Europe. Here, a group poses in front of the Oslo Opera House in Norway. Submitted photo

My first tip for other students looking to take part in the Summer in London program is just to go for it! If you are interested, send in the application. Better to have the choice to participate then to wonder "what if?" College is only four years (usually), and this is an experience that can give you stories and memories that you will always value.

Be prepared. This is an intense month. You'll have class six hours a day, studying to do and a whole city you'll want to explore. You'll be living without the amenities that spoil us at WashU and will have to buy and cook your own food. You'll have to budget on your own. It can and will be a lot. If you don't think that you're ready to take on such an experience yet, that's okay.

Check with your academic advisor or do some of your own planning. Make sure that this program does help you, as it's not a perfect fit for everyone. If you're pre-med, taking organic chemistry may be a better route for you. You don't want to miss out on something because you were abroad.

Budget! London is not a cheap city. Make sure you are keeping track of how much you are spending and know what you want to splurge on. It can be hard, especially with a group, to say no to certain things but being independent for the month means making smart financial decisions.

Lastly, if you do end up doing the Summer in London program, take advantage of every second you are here. It has gone by really quickly. Knowing full well that I wouldn’t go back out if I went back to my dorm after class, I tended to go on walks right afterward. Because of that, I got to see so much more of the city.

Go on that free Harry Potter tour, go to a music festival, enjoy the free museums and walk through the thousands of markets available. Enjoy London!

To learn more about the Summer in London study-abroad program, contact Melanie Osborn, senior assistant dean for Engineering Study Abroad, at osborn@wustl.edu.