First year at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) as an undergraduate
I have finished the first academic year at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). After having lived in the United Kingdom for nine months – as mentioned in the previous article– I noticed the United Kingdom is similar to Germany, but at the same time very different.
My expectations for the first year at the LSE, overall, have been fulfilled. I had a friendly and pleasant experience throughout the academic year. Apart from a good academic merit, I wanted to increase my exposure to different languages, cultures and people. In an earlier post, I noted that I was expecting the LSE to be the epicenter of internationality – I have been positively surprised and can say that my expectations have been met. London has assured me that it is truly international. Every borough in Greater London is distinctive and it feels like a city of its own. I was worried about Covid restrictions and skeptical about online studies impacting the overall experience; however, the university handled the situation quite well – though I still thoroughly remember the surreal six week isolation period shortly after arriving in London.
For the next academic year, I hope to experience a lecture hall from the inside. As an advocate of technological advancements, two years ago, I could imagine saying that I would have preferred online classes and lectures; however, the pandemic made it quite clear that nothing can trump personal interactions. The pandemic has enhanced our understanding of technology and caused academic institutions to adapt to a new world. In the near future, I can imagine seeing a hybrid version of teaching – online and offline.
Studying abroad – more than just academia
In the past three terms, I was able to develop myself not only on an academic level but also a personal one. Through theoretical studies of distinct modules at the LSE, I was able to improve my numerical and analytical skills. During my time, I had the chance to design a startup supporting circular economies. Through this practical exercise, I was able to project future cashflows, create financial statements and identify unique KPIs. As I lead a team of ten international students, I was able to improve my team work and leadership skills at the same time. Unique opportunities like these only exist if one decides to step out of their comfort zone.
The availability of numerous student-led societies also helps in one’s personal growth. Next year, I will be leading one of the biggest consulting groups at the university. Already, in year one, I was able to improve my communication and interpersonal skills, and I look forward to improving them in year two.
The LSE had scheduled all of my exams in the same week. For me, this meant that I had to write four exams and three essays in a timespan of four days. University, thus, is not only academically challenging but it also helped me develop my time management abilities and required lots of dedication, energy and commitment. Although I had three consecutive all-nighters during that week, I enjoyed every single bit of it. I believe this is part of the university experience and a great preparation for future careers.
The renomée of the LSE also plays an important factor. During my time at the LSE, aside from my studies, I was able to complete numerous internships in different sectors. Apart from my experiences, I believe the locational importance of the LSE and the general brand name played an integral part.
In general, studying abroad helped me become a more independent and confident version of myself. In this one year, I have probably broadened my horizon like never before. Adding to that, the knowledge spillovers in a city like London, especially, at the LSE are exclusive. The availability of tacit knowledge is impeccable and it has astonished me from the first few weeks.
A “distinctive” year
If I had to summarize the first year in one word, I would characterize it as “distinctive”. London has been a delight. I could not imagine a better place of study.
This is my last official report for the British Council in Germany. I would like to thank you all for following me in my first year at the London School of Economics and Political Science. If you have any questions regarding studying abroad, the LSE or anything else, please feel free to contact me on LinkedIn. Until then, I hope you all are staying safe. Take care and see you in London!
May 2021 | Manas Goyal