For the next couple of blogs I will be interviewing Ohio State students about some of their best experiences during their time here!
First up is Jay Seetharaman, a senior Public Affairs and Economics major from Solon, Ohio. He is spending his senior year studying at the London School of Economics. Hear what he has to say about his experiences across the pond!
How did you first find the LSE program, and what were your first steps in pursuing it? How did the Office of International Affairs at Ohio State help you secure your spot at LSE?
The only reason I found out about the program was because I knew LSE was a reputable institution in terms of social sciences and economics. Off that interest I went to OIA and met with the coordinator for England, and I asked her specifically about LSE-OSU connections. She helped me find the third party coordinator for LSE: Arcadia University. LSE has a ‘General Course Program’, which is a full-year study abroad program where you’re taking LSE courses that will transfer credits to Ohio State. OIA gave me recommendations on how to prepare to study abroad and what to do at home, like filling out credit evaluation forms for classes. I also had to decide if I wanted classes to be Pass/Fail or if I wanted them to correlate directly into my GPA. As a personal challenge I wanted them to count in my GPA to see where I stand in my field of public policy and economics.
What were some of the challenges in preparing to go abroad?
It was a challenge to be away from my friends and family (and my dog). Because I have always lived in Ohio, I have always been close to home, so going so far away was hard.
My program is longer than 6 months so I had to go through the student visa process. It was a lot of paperwork, and it was strenuous to make sure that you give the correct information to get your passport and student visa.
Academically, I was nervous to study at such a rigorous institution, so I reviewed math and economics fundamentals to prepare before I left.
What has been your favorite part about living in London?
My favorite part of living in London is how cosmopolitan it is. At Ohio State you have so many students with so many different backgrounds, but it’s amplified to a whole different level in London. The experience has been eye-opening because the people here want to know so much about life in America, so it’s cool to learn about their culture and tell them about mine.
What is one thing you miss about Columbus?
By far, the tobacco-free campus! I also miss the general friendliness of people in Columbus. People here don’t try to be rude, but it’s their inherent nature in a large city with a lot of people. I really miss a campus. I live in central London, and it’s very compact and urban.
What advice do you have for current students who want to study abroad during their time at Ohio State?
To really know what you’re getting into– I wanted the cultural experience, but I also wanted the opportunity to advance my degree and challenge myself. You should have a really good idea of how you will fit in in whatever city you are going to. Can you adapt to the climate? Can you communicate with the people? Have you researched customs? Are you comfortable with different modes of transportation?