UCL Department of Economics


Zachary Dionise

Zachary Dionise, Davidson College, USA

My study experience at UCL was incredibly worthwhile. Not only was it fantastic academically, but it was also culturally enriching. Study at UCL exceeded the expectations I had for my time in London in all areas: academics, student life, the city, and travel.

At UCL I was able to study in an environment and instructional format quite different from home. My Economics lecturers provided alternative perspectives to economic theory that expanded my understanding of economics as a worldwide science. Though lectures were larger than I was accustomed to at a smaller liberal arts college, my lecturers were passionate, engaging, and facilitated discussion even in the larger setting. To augment the larger lectures, smaller tutorial sessions with fantastic graduate student tutors focused on problems sets and understanding more difficult concepts. With only one lecture a week and four tutorials over the term for each class, I found it extremely important to stay on top of the material by attending all lectures and tutorials. For US students, who are used to more frequent examination, it is important not to let your guard down when you learn your final grade is solely determined by the final exam, not by any work you may do before then. By the time the last week arrives you’ll find you covered more information than you thought and need more time to revise than you have. At UCL the Economics instructors tend to construct their own courses, not base them on a given textbook. When textbooks are necessary it is easy to borrow them from the UCL library rather than buying them. UCL offers good flexibility with scheduling, so I would recommend taking at least one class outside the Economics department. I took a human genetics course that was a nice contrast to game theory and economic development. In terms of Economics courses (called modules at UCL) I took 3rd year and elective-type 2nd year courses, which I found to be on the correct level for a US junior.

Beyond just formal study, I was able to truly feel as if I was a regular student at UCL through the friendships I made with my British roommates and the general atmosphere at UCL. In my experience students were friendly and not at all standoffish. I highly recommend Affiliate students to join a club or society at UCL. I went to pub quizzes at the UCL Union bar, regularly attended jazz band concerts, and saw guest lecturers. Even though UCL is right in the middle of London, it maintained a campus feel that was a break from the rest of the city (which isn’t necessary too often since London is awesome).

Even with a full schedule at UCL I was still able to travel around Europe on several weekends (it is easy to schedule classes that do not meet on Friday), as well as during the weeklong break in the middle of the term. Since I found most of my study was focused toward the end of the term, I was able to travel frequently early on and then buckle down toward the second half the of the term.

The only regret I had during my time at UCL was leaving. I learned so much at UCL and enjoyed life in London so fully that I would have loved to stay for another term. I highly recommended study at UCL, and especially Economics, for any student who wants a balance of great academics, time for travel, and a true feeling of inclusion in the student body during time abroad!

Fall 2017