The Big Picture
What is British Studies?
British Studies is a four week summer study abroad program based in the UK and Europe. British Studies is based on the concept of an active learning community, using immersive teaching by local experts and professors, combined with in-depth student research. Our program resides and teaches in London and at least one other major UK or European city. Students earn six (6) hours of university credit.
How many students will be on British Studies?
British Studies usually has 150-175 students each summer.
Where do students on British Studies come from?
Students on the British Studies program will come from colleges and universities all over the United States.
Who are the professors that teach on the British Studies program?
Professors responsible for the courses on the program have all received recognition for excellence in teaching, have experience in study abroad programs, and are currently professors on a college or university campus in the United States. In addition, scholars from the UK and Europe will make keynote contributions to every British Studies class.
How long has British Studies been in existence?
The British Studies Program was created by The University of Southern Mississippi and its consortium partner schools more than 35 years ago.
How many courses do students take on the British Studies program?
All students take a single course for six academic hours. Three of the credits are related to the work you will do in London and elsewhere on the program. The other three will be based on the research project you begin abroad and complete by the end of September, back in the states.
Do students on the British Studies program have experience traveling abroad? If I do not, will I be able to make it?
Some British Studies students will have done another study abroad program already, but this is by no means always going to be the case. The new traveler will do fine on the British Studies program, especially since the program makes travel easy by building it right into our academic curriculum.
Nobody in our family has traveled or ever done anything like the British Studies program before. Is this program really for me?
Absolutely! The majority of students on the British Studies program will come from families who have never had a study abroad experience. Several are first generation college students. Most have not traveled outside of the USA.
My parents never say yes to things like British Studies. How should I even bring it up to them if I really want to go?
British Studies is a big thing for parents to understand and support. Most of our British Studies parents are concerned about the price of the program, whether the classes will be relevant to your college degree and your future, and how safe you will be when you are abroad. Further, parents want to know for sure that this program really is right for you and is something you are passionate about. Even if many parents do share the same concerns, each family situation is different. Our staff and professors will always tell you this: speak to your parents early in your thinking on British Studies and ask for their support and encouragement. If possible, speak to them as soon as you know that this program is what you want to do. Discuss why you want the kind of experience the British Studies program offers, how you will pay for the program, and what you can commit personally to make the experience happen. Be sure you are clear with them about how British Studies will help you academically and in your career plans. Finally, our alumni report that it's always worth taking the time to assure parents that London is considered one of the safest large cities in the world and that the British Studies program helps a student learn how to travel safely, economically and with confidence.
Do I need a passport to do British Studies? If so, how do I get one?
Yes! All travel to Europe requires a valid passport. Go online as soon as you apply for the British Studies program and apply for a passport, if you don't already have one. The delivery time is about six weeks.
My parents are worriers. What can help ease their minds so that they know I will be OK on the British Studies Program?
The British Studies Program has (at least) three full-time staff people, and more than a dozen full-time professors for the 150-175 students who participate each year. We work 24/7 to ensure that you are well taken care of, and we work with you to help you gain more confidence and self-reliance. Our professors and staff won't be your "mom" and "dad" for the four weeks of the program, but we will never treat you as a number or as someone we don't know well. Meanwhile, we will also work to provide that extra (gentle) supervised "push" to get your confidence and competence up when it comes to managing yourself well while abroad. Our alumni report that parents often notice a big jump in a student's self confidence and self reliance after the British Studies program. Your parents may proclaim you to be a "new and improved" version of yourself after just one month away!.
Will there be help my parents and I can get as I count down to starting the British Studies program?
Absolutely! In fact, we require you, as a student, to join our orientation sessions either in person or online.
What about once we get to the UK? Will there be a lot of help for me in my first few days settling in?
Yes. You will join all of your fellow students and faculty in an extensive orientation weekend we call LondonALIVE. You will get help on everything: how to succeed in your classes, hot to budget and travel safely, how to handle conflict if it comes up among your fellow students, and how to increase your own sense of confidence when facing new challenges and opportunities. Plus you will head out into the city with your new classmates and our professors, meeting London head on from day one! The best part of all this, though, is that our goal with our first days on the program is to give YOU the tools that YOU need to learn how to succeed in London and beyond, on your own. Alumni often tell us they come home from the British Studies program feeling like they'd become a new and far more savvy version of themselves than they had ever thought possible.
How will I get to the British Studies dorm in London? Am I going to get lost the very first day?
Getting into central London is really simple, and we will have a good many of our professors and staff waiting at the airport to help coach you on your way. The Heathrow Express is a direct over ground train to Paddington Station that takes about 20 minutes. From there, you will line up at the taxi stand with other British Studies program students to take the 15 minute ride together in your first London Taxi. You will then unload at our dorm and get checked in for your adventure.
I have no experience traveling at all. Can I do British Studies?
Although many British Studies students will have had experience traveling before, some will be totally new to the experience. By the time they have completed the program, they will have "the travel bug" for life and be able to go anywhere they want. One key lesson of British Studies is about knowing how to "keep calm and carry on" like a travel pro when things inevitably get frustrating.
My family isn't rich, but we don't qualify for great financial aid either. Is British Studies out of my reach?
Most of our students will finance all or most of their British Studies program through financial aid.
What if the financial aid office at my home school seems clueless and not helpful. Is there someone I can turn to for help?
Many financial aid offices are new to working with study abroad students. The staff associated with British Studies is not new to this work. Contact us to get help if you fell like your school's office is giving your questions a "brush-off" answer. Every year, students who are told at first they can not go, are able to afford programs like the British Studies. You can make it work, too!
Beyond traditional government student loans that I have heard about through my financial aid office, are there other loans I can get to make the British Studies program happen for me?
Yes. Look into "parent-plus" and/or other study abroad program loans online. There are products tailored to what you want to do on British Studies. You may need your parents to co-sign a special loan to make your British Studies dreams come true. Remember, they are probably the same folks who went to everyone of your piano recitals and football games. They were at your ballet recitals and took pictures at your prom. If you are serious about the British Studies Program and want it with all your heart, you will be able to finance the experience.
What will I need to spend money on beyond the program price?
Beyond the program price, you will need to spend money on hostels and meals for the whole trip, other times you're traveling on your own, and on your own miscellaneous living expenses.
Does everyone spend about the same amount of extra money, beyond the program price?
No. Student budgets vary widely. Some students live well on the British Studies program for $3,000 more than the program price, because they are careful budgeters and are frugal in making decisions regarding where they want to eat, drink and travel during their WeekendEXPLORE! and mini break periods. They also exercise discipline when it comes to their "going out" money. Others can spend $4,000 or more beyond the program fee if you factor in the cost of discretionary expenses like para-sailing in the Alps, scuba lessons in the Mediterranean.
Do the staff or faculty of the British Studies Program help me manage my budget, so that I can do what I want and not come home having spent beyond my means?
Yes. Our program orientation looks closely at your budget challenges and helps every student to set up a good budget that will allow for an affordable and well-planned "dream" summer in Europe.
Are there scholarships or other "free money" opportunities out there to help me finance this program?
Yes, but these are competitive and usually award small amounts of money only. Talk to your home institution's financial aid counselor for help here, but also do your research online to widen the net you are casting as you look for scholarships. Each year there are a wide array of scholarships to go unfunded because nobody applied for the money. Look, find, apply, get! You can start your search for additional scholarships by visiting: www.studyabroadfunding.org, www.studyabroad.com/scholarships, www.iie.org/students.
What about money while abroad? Will I need a back account over there?
No. Just like in the USA, Europe has ATM's everywhere. Just put your debit card in, enter your pin as you do back home, and voila! You will have brand new Euro or Pounds shot out into your hand, ready for use. Debit cards are definitely the way to go when traveling in Europe.