I studied abroad at UEA during the entire 2015/16 academic year. Studying abroad at UEA changed my life. At home I went to school at Occidental College, a small liberal arts school located in Los Angeles. Its student body is about 2,000 students, so it is quite a bit smaller then UEA, which is why I liked the idea of UEA. This is going to sound cheesy… but ever since I was a little girl knew I wanted to study abroad in England. I am a HUGE reader and majored in English Literature with a minor in History. England is the perfect place for literature and they have the National Trust System, as well as English Heritage system, which offer a plethora of historic sites, not to mention the wonderful museums in London. Occidental College usually has one or two exchange programs with universities in England. The year I applied to study abroad there was only one program, and that was the one with UEA. So while I didn’t exactly choose UEA, I am so glad it was the program that was available to me.
The campus is absolutely beautiful, they have bunnies all over the place! The biggest differences I found between the states and the UK was within the education. First, the grading is a lot harder in England than America. There is a lot of focus on the technicalities. Coming from a liberal arts school I am used to writing papers that are on out of the box topics, at UEA I felt that the professors were not interested in that type of thinking, they wanted something more straightforward. Another difference was that unlike the US where classes are on multiple days, the UK classes are 1-3 hours on one day of the week. This left me with a lot of free time with which I got to explore the city and the campus.
Because Occidental College is so small, clubs were limited, but UEA had tons of clubs. I joined the History Society and the Disney Society, which was really fun. One last big difference was the how normal and accepted drinking culture is within university culture. UEA has three bars on campus, which you would never see in the states. This most likely was due to the lower drinking age of 18, but it was weird for me as the nonchalance surrounding alcohol is very different.
I loved studying abroad at UEA so much that I pushed the study abroad office at my home university to let me stay on for another semester. I have graduated I am currently trying to move back to England with an internship. Unfortunately it is quite hard to get a work visa, so an internship is all I can get, but I loved it there so much that I will take anything! I plan to do a work placement with a museum as a collections intern. I am very excited for this next chapter in England. I hope that those of you who choose to study abroad love UEA as much as I did. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions!
If you have any questions for Alissa please contact us at email@example.com and we will pass them on to her.