UCL Department of Economics


Ayan Sawhney

Ayan Sawhney, Cornell University, USA

My time spent at UCL was wonderfully enriching, both academically and personally. I distinctly remember feeling excited and nervous in equal measures while sitting on the Heathrow Express, heading towards Schafer House, my new dorm where I would spend the next three months. As it turned out, there was no reason to feel nervous at all — my time at UCL was better than I could have ever hoped for.

At UCL, I elected to take two Economics classes to count towards my major at Cornell, one class in the Geography department, and one Art History course. I was glad to have been offered the flexibility to take courses that mirrored a standard semester for me — it made transferring credits to fulfill specific requirements back home quite easy. My professors (the Economics professors in particular) were passionate about their subjects and engaging to listen to, making the classes genuinely enjoyable to attend. It was also refreshing to take courses with less of a US-centric perspective. Though structurally the classes and workloads are quite different to the US’s, the Economics department was extremely helpful in answering any questions I had and guiding me through an unfamiliar environment. While the curriculum is as rigorous as one would expect from a world-class university, I still had time to take trips to places such as Budapest or Oxford on the weekends.

Though I thoroughly enjoyed my academic experience at UCL, it was the social side of the university I will remember best. I am glad I elected to live in student accommodation, as it made making friends at a university where I did not know anyone surprisingly easy. Nearly everyone I met was warm and inviting, willing to explore London’s nightlife or grab a pint while watching a World Cup match. The Economics department also did a great job of ensuring that students studying abroad were able to meet each other by setting up events at the start of the term. The other study-abroad students I met at these events were all keen to get to know other people and not only ended up being in my Economics courses with me, but are still some of my closest friends to this day. While my classes were excellent, making these new friends was the highlight of my semester abroad.Having London as the backdrop for my study abroad experience definitely contributed to the excellent time I had there. Whether it was watching a Chelsea match at Stamford Bridge, sampling the food at Seven Dials Market, enjoying the electric atmosphere in pubs during the World Cup, picnicking in Regent’s Park, or strolling down Tottenham Court Road, I could not have asked for a better city to spend my semester in.

UCL’s campus is perfectly located for discovering this incredible city.Choosing to study at UCL was easily the best decision I made during my time in college and I only wish I had more time to spend there. I got the opportunity to thoroughly explore London, travel throughout the UK and Europe on the weekends, took insightful classes taught by inspiring professors, and, most importantly, made lifelong friends. I could not recommend spending a term at UCL, particularly within the Economics department, more highly.

Fall 2022