London Calling: Study Abroad in the U.K.

Author: Shannon Rooney

Emily Alff

As a junior, Emily Alff left for London with the goal of walking in the footsteps of her favorite British authors and book characters. 

A double-major in English and film, television, and theater (FTT), Emily studied in London for a semester and had some unforgettable experiences.

Below, she answers some of our burning questions about living and learning in another country. 

Emily and fellow students at StonehengeEmily and fellow students at Stonehenge

Why did you choose to study in London over other study abroad programs?

I specifically chose London because of my background in English. I’ve always loved reading, and I went through a huge British literature phase when I was younger. A lot of British literature is based in London, so I was able to actually walk the same streets as many of my favorite characters. As a result, I really gained a new connection to these books and felt I was better able to understand these authors.

Have you always been passionate about seeing new places?

I was very intimidated by travelling before I came to Notre Dame. Although I had been to England and France five years prior, I had never travelled so far from home alone before. However, the past four months showed me how able I am to travel on my own and really built up my self-confidence. Now, I really want to integrate more travel into my adult life and see where these adventures can take me.

Where did you live while you were in London?

I lived in Notre Dame’s residence hall, Conway Hall, while in London. It’s located in the heart of London, right across the street from Waterloo Station. It’s one of the best locations because you can travel virtually anywhere in the city in about twenty minutes.

Emily Alff

What was your favorite London experience?

My biggest highlight while studying in London was working and performing at the Globe. Notre Dame offers a class where you study several different Shakespeare plays and then work with professional Globe actors toward a final performance for your classmates. It was my first time acting in college, and I really fell in love with the entire process. It was an absolutely phenomenal experience performing and learning the very words Shakespeare wrote just a few streets over.

How did studying abroad change you?

My four months abroad absolutely showed me that I can survive as an independent person within the world. Whether it was cooking my own meals or finding my way home after getting lost in a suburb outside of Prague, I have the ability and resources to manage my own person and take care of myself.

If you decide to come to Notre Dame, you’ll have some of the best opportunities for world travel. Whether placing you in the heart of a city or creating trips that will take you all over your chosen country, Notre Dame will make sure you have every tool and resource to make the most out of your four months (or year or week, etc.). You’ll definitely need to be willing to go out of your comfort zone, but it’ll easily become the best semester of your life.

If you want to learn more about Emily's adventures in London, read her mid-year recap

Looking to (literally) broaden your horizons? More than half of Notre Dame students study abroad in one of 25 countries from Brazil to China to the United Kingdom. 

Check out all our study abroad programs through Notre Dame International