What's it Like?
Photo by: Jessica Bohanon
"Campus life" is generally an American concept, with the exception of some British universities. Buildings are often in the heart of a city, and may be scattered over a considerable area, separated from each other by residences, restaurants, and shops. You may live in one part of the city, attend classes in another part, work in the library somewhere else, and eat your meals in a student restaurant. You will participate in everyday city life: mass transportation, pollution, strikes, impersonal attitudes, different gender issues, etc. Generally, expect less planned or "pre-packaged" student life, fewer clubs, fewer social affairs, and fewer organized sports than in the United States. An exception to the above rule would be universities in smaller cities, so this might affect your choice of where to study. On the other hand, study in a larger city will offer greater varieties of independent cultural and social activities.
Most study abroad programs do not have a full array of student service offices, but all have a program director or site administrator. This person variously serves the roles of academic adviser, residence hall director, counselor, and tour guide, and will be an invaluable resource throughout the course of your program. Get to know your program director.