An important aspect of studying away is the opportunity for you to learn more about your chosen host country and how identities may be understood and perceived within this new context. We encouraged you to begin researching some of the challenges and opportunities you may encounter, and plan ahead by identifying people and resources that can help you make the most of your experience away. The information below offers brief descriptions of identity-based topics in London, and the United Kingdom more broadly, as well as access to people, resources, and programs you can connect with before and after you get there.
While a popular study away site, London has become known as an expensive one as well. Public transport and services, in general, are pricey but overall do provide a good quality of services. You can expect to spend around $725 on transit throughout the semester. Groceries are about 73.32 percent lower in London than in NYC. Likewise, the cost of airfare comes out to be around $1,000. These numbers will vary depending on your spending patterns.
Certain areas of UK cities boast modern infrastructure with buildings and transportation systems accessible to people with physical limitations. Students can feel confident in their capacity to access most areas of major cities. Older city sections and more rural towns are less accessible due to centuries-old architecture. This includes cobblestone streets, narrow staircase entry-ways, and small indoor spaces. The UK offers plenty of services for people who are mobility, sight, or hearing impaired including advice centers, transport services, and travel aid and itineraries.
The United Kingdom is thought to be a very safe country, however, women traveling alone should follow ‘common sense’ safety precautions as they would in the United States. Female students who travel to the United Kingdom can expect a level of protection and respect equivalent to the U.S. According to UN Women, about 7 percent of women experience sexual violence from a non-partner during their lifetimes. Overall, the UK is ranked as 28th in the Gender Inequality Index.
British society is generally accepting of the LGBTQ+ community. Laws exist protecting LGBTQ+ individuals from hate crimes and discrimination based on sexuality and gender identity and the country has recognized same-sex civil unions since 2005 and same-sex marriage since 2013. Tolerance of LGBTQ+ lifestyle is equivalent to the US with many establishments existing to serve local gay communities. However, the recent incident involving violence against a lesbian couple has brought new attention to the progress that still needs to be made against homophobia in London.
LGBTQ+ Guide to London
Homophobic Violence More Common than People Realise
Race & Ethnicity
Although UK heritage is ethnically Anglo-Saxon, the country’s post-colonial ties with former and current commonwealths have meant increased immigrant flows into the UK under its nationality law. London is by far the most populous and diverse city in the UK, but it’s not the only city with diversity. Leeds, Liverpool, and Manchester also have significant ethnic populations. Although debates over the place of multiculturalism are taking place in the wake of high profile homegrown terrorist plots and attacks as well as the 2011 youth riots, the debates generally relate more to immigration and naturalization policy than negative sentiment towards any ethnic or social group. However, the rise of right-wing populism has led to higher rates of discrimination and hate crimes throughout the city.
Religion & Spirituality
The UK is nearly three-quarters Christian with smaller Muslim, Hindu, and Jewish communities primarily in London, where students can easily access religious houses of worship. Parliament legally respects and protects religious freedom through the establishment and enforcement of nondiscriminatory laws and policies. The UK is actively making efforts to better integrate minority groups into society through tolerance education and public outreach.