Although I returned from my study abroad trip in Cheltenham, England 3 months ago, the memories I created there have made their way into my everyday life. I miss Cheltenham, the people, the Uni, and all the trips we made. I encourage anyone who is thinking about embarking on a study abroad trip to go to Cheltenham, as I know all the other BCA students in my group would say that as well. Here are the five biggest reasons I recommend attending the BCA Cheltenham, England study abroad program!
1. Location, Location, Location
The part I miss most about living in Cheltenham is being in the center of a city with everything you need. I have always lived in the suburbs, but in Cheltenham a short walk down the street will take you to the grocery store, amazing dining options, and shopping such as a Forever21 or Lush (yes, a Lush!!)
It is so easy to take trips from Cheltenham, because there are bus stations and a train station only a few streets away. We took a train to the airport for Ireland, a bus to London, and a bus to the airport for Rome and Paris. Even if your destination isn’t out of the country, there are so many nearby places you can visit. Stonehenge, locations where Harry Potter was filmed, Oxford, Stow-on-the-Wold and even Wales would be easy day trips.
It was nice to be able to walk to transportation at any time of day, or night, to get where we needed to be. I never EVER used public transit at home, but it was easy to navigate in Cheltenham, and despite common stereotypes, the British will help you find your way!
When we didn’t have a weekend trip planned, we were still busy with activities in Cheltenham. Our housing was right next to a movie theater, a bowling alley, so many pubs and MooMoos. I almost made MooMoos its own reason to choose Cheltenham because it was such a big part of our trip. It is a crazy dancing club with loud music and tons of Uni students. I would have never pictured myself there, but now that I’m gone, I miss it so much!
2. Living Arrangements on England Study Abroad Program
When searching for the right place to study abroad, I knew I wanted to live with other students and not with a host family. In Cheltenham, I lived with British students as well as the other BCA students, and everyone was so welcoming. We all had our own rooms and bathroom and shared a kitchen, which quickly became our hangout spot. A German student taught us some cooking tips and all the British students taught us how to make their version of pancakes, milk tea and bacon (bacon is SO much better in England).
It was rare for there to be a night where we weren’t all hanging out, because we quickly made a Facebook group message where we could post what was happening that night.
The British students were so interested in having Americans around that they taught us their ways and their slang, while we laughed at the way they said aluminum and trash cans (they say rubbish bins and it still gets me every time). We were so immersed in their everyday life; it was easy to forget we were from different countries.
3. BCA Meal Stipend
A great part of the BCA Cheltenham program is that we all got weekly meal stipends. Every Wednesday, our amazing resident director would give us money for the week that should be designated for food. It was nice to be able to count on that money for food so that we could use the money we had saved up for our weekend trips. We would go grocery shopping with our stipends and would be surprised at the low prices in Cheltenham’s grocery stores. I called my mom the first time and had too brag that eggs, bread and milk were all under about $1.50 each.
When we didn’t feel like cooking, we went to one of the many food places nearby. Our favorite was the Chinese food place, right below our dorm, or Nando’s the famous chicken restaurant.
4. BCA Excursions Through UK
Throughout our England study abroad semester, we went on several excursions with our group. Organized by BCA, we didn’t have to worry about the planning; we could go with the flow and enjoy the trip. We visited Sudeley Castle, Stonehenge, and Bath, England as well as Wales. It was amazing to have our resident director, as our tour guide, and be taken to such amazing and local places that we may not have seen otherwise.
5. The School – University of Gloucestershire
I know– it doesn’t seem like school will be the best part of your trip. But because the University of Gloucestershire was great! At home, I am always busy, rushing from place to place and cramming to get homework done. I found that in England everyone is so much more relaxed. With less homework and more free time, we had the best English experience.
Each class only meets once a week and I still learned so much. I took such interesting courses that weren’t offered at my home school as part of my major. I learned so much in a stress-free environment that I’m definitely considering going back for my Masters.
The students at U of G were also a great part of the school. Since they all knew each other, they were kind enough to invite me to lunch and to join their projects, so I wouldn’t be left out. A few of the girls even had a going away dinner for me and we still talk over Facebook.
When choosing your study abroad destination, keep Cheltenham in mind. I promise you there are so many more reasons why it is an amazing place!
About the Author – Brooke Grasso, Fall 2016 BCA Cheltenham, England Student
Hello! My name is Brooke and I am a journalism student at the University of La Verne, hoping to spend my life writing about food, creativity and travel. Between classes and work, I sit behind my computer screen and type away (while simultaneously petting my cat and snacking on cheese.) I created my Daily Life with B blog as a place to keep my daily activities, crafts and meals. I’m happy to share them with you!