CAS '20 Spencer Kersh

SA: University College London

Program Abroad:

  • Semester Abroad (SA): University College London, England

Ask me about...

  • Playing for the UCL men's basketball team while abroad. I played for the UCL men's basketball team while I was abroad, a truly unique abroad experience. After attending a basketball meet-and-greet and training with the team at practice, I was invited to join the team for the entire semester. I played in all of the team's weekly games during my time in London and practiced twice a week. Playing on the team allowed me to meet more than 30 full-time students, many of whom I would consider good friends from my time abroad. I would love to talk to other students about joining a sports team (or, more broadly, the benefits of joining any club/society) while abroad.

  • Housing abroad. Another unique experience that other students should ask me about regards my housing. I decided that the dorm I was offered was too expensive, so I spent 2+ months looking for a flat in London to rent. Having gone through a long process to find, sign a lease for, and manage living in a privately-rented flat, I would love to share my experience with other students. Although it ended up being a couple hundred pounds cheaper per month, this process was quite complex, and I was not offered a ton of guidance on this matter solely because very few (if any) students had gone down this route before.

My Experience Abroad:

As an economics major, I enrolled as an economics student at UCL, taking two third-year economics electives: Economics of Tax Policy and Economics of Education Policy. Both of these classes also count for my political science major. Additionally, I took a first-year politics course called British Politics, which counted for my political science major.

Other Highlights:

  • Playing basketball for UCL. This truly made my abroad experience as phenomenal as it was, and I have made lifelong friends from the team.

  • Attending two sessions of Prime Minister's Questions at the House of Commons. After the first and third Meaningful Votes on Theresa May's EU Withdrawal Agreement, I attended Prime Minister's Questions (a tradition in the House of Commons where the opposition leader asks the Prime Minister questions about any aspect of governance). During my first trip, I met Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (and wrote a blog about it for Penn!).

  • Going to 12 soccer games during my five months abroad. I am a huge Arsenal fan, so I attended 7 Arsenal games throughout my semester abroad. I attended five more games during my travels, including games in Madrid and Paris.

  • Traveling! During my semester, I went to countries as far afield as Estonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Traveling with other students from Penn as well as meeting up with my new friends from the basketball team truly made my study abroad experience a global one. However, something that I did not hear mentioned from any Penn study abroad ambassadors is traveling alone. I did this for a trip to Portugal, and I had an amazing time traveling by myself for the first time.

  • I bleached my hair in London, it's very trendy there.

On the Penn Abroad Blog:

UKExit and a Divided Government

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