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CGS students discuss strengths and weaknesses of London program

The outside of Boston University’s College of General Studies. The college hosted a town hall on Wednesday for students to share their experience in the CGS London program. CONOR KELLEY/ DFP FILE

The College of General Studies hosted a town hall forum Wednesday that invited students and faculty to share their thoughts on the London study abroad experience in the CGS program.

Organized by Gloria Robinson, a CGS sophomore, the forum was intended to give students an opportunity to provide feedback to the program.

The January Boston-London program allows students to enter Boston University during the spring semester and then travel to London during the summer to complete their second semester of their freshman year. The students are split into two, six week sessions; summer one and summer two.

Stacy Godnick, the associate dean for student academic life in CGS, helped moderate the forum alongside Robinson. 

Four professors and CGS Dean Natalie McKnight discussed with students about how to make the London sessions better. Incoming freshmen will now have the chance to pick between spending six weeks of their summers in Boston or London. 

While some students in attendance said that the curriculum was well integrated within the city of London, others felt that they had to choose between their studies or seeing the city. 

The CGS program has continued to evolve, as CGS recently announced that they are ending the September program and solely having the January program. 

Students who attended the London program last year said they felt the Town Hall was a valuable event.

Jordan Cox, a sophomore in CGS who participated in the London program, said it was insightful to hear student and faculty opinions about the program and personally would want the program to be longer.

“I enjoyed my time there and I had an okay workload, but I would love to have had more time to do my work,” Cox said. “As it stands now, the time that I had, I had just enough time to get an essay done, not get it proof-read and peer reviewed by others.”

Grace Grizadas, a sophomore in CGS, said she found it interesting to hear from students who didn’t have as positive of an experience in London as she did.

“I could tell that there was definitely discrepancies between all the different teams and what their experiences were like,” Grizadas said. “To hear what the faculty thought about the student experience as well was really interesting.”

Haleigh Drew, a sophomore in CGS, said she appreciated that faculty involved in many levels of the program — from professors who taught in London to the dean of CGS — were there to hear the students.

“You could tell that the professors that were there were very concerned and cared about what we had to say,” Drew said.

Drew, who studied in London as a freshman, said her only problem with the program is she wishes she had more time there.

“You’re put in a very uncomfortable position and situation and through that you’re able to find really good friends and you have to figure out what makes you comfortable,” Drew said. “Even though it’s intimidating at first, after you go through it, you learn a lot about yourself that way and I think I think it’s very rewarding.”

Alex LaSalvia contributed to the reporting of this article.

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