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Shawn

July 4th, 2023

My three biggest surprises of studying abroad at LSE – and why you should experience them too

0 comments | 5 shares

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Shawn

July 4th, 2023

My three biggest surprises of studying abroad at LSE – and why you should experience them too

0 comments | 5 shares

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

At the London School of Economics (LSE), public lectures are accessible and frequent, professors are leading experts in their fields, and nearly everyone I’ve spoken with will be able to equip you with a global perspective. Here, I’ll share my experiences, why they were surprising, and advice on how you too can benefit from them during your studies at LSE.

Public lectures are both accessible and prevalent

On my second day in London, I found myself in a public lecture. After heading to campus to explore and get acclimated before classes began, I walked through the Old Building and eventually joined a crowd sitting in the Old Theatre. It turned out that the speaker was Pablo Hernández de Cos, Governor of the Bank of Spain, and for the next hour I sat and listened to his discussion on the future of globalisation. Afterward, I attended a mixer and enjoyed conversation and drinks with other students and community members who had also been at the talk. It was a great experience, and I felt fortunate to take part in it so early on during my London stay.

Should I have been surprised? Perhaps not; it’s well-known that LSE has traditionally been a hub for speakers. Seeing images of speakers with the LSE podium and backdrop isn’t uncommon; world leaders such as Bill Clinton and the late Nelson Mandela have all taken the stage. What surprised me though was the accessibility and frequency of these lectures. By looking at the events calendar, you can find five or six lectures in any given week delivered by speakers such as current LSE professors, authors, or –  in my case –  a leader of a nation’s central bank. If you decide to study abroad at LSE, make sure you take advantage of this unique opportunity.

Former US Secretary of State, John Kerry, speaking at LSE in 2021

You’ll learn from the people who actually wrote the leading books

It occurred to me during a “Leadership in Organisations” class that my professor, Dr Connson Locke, authored a book that had been assigned as required reading for a class I completed a year earlier at my home institution. Having the opportunity to ask questions to the person who wrote the book on organisational influence tactics was a surreal moment. Although this particular example is perhaps as coincidental as it gets, what’s not at all rare is having the ability to be taught by professors who have actually conducted the research and authored the books on topics that the class is about.

I’d recommend anyone studying at LSE to research their professors before the registration period comes around. Doing so allows you to ensure your semester includes a curated list of classes that not only interest you, but are also taught by experts in the field. But even if you don’t, the chances are likely that you’ll find yourself in a favourable situation as I did.

Professor of Economics, Alan Manning, lecturing at LSE

You’ll learn about the world from a global perspective

What has perhaps been most surprising to me is just how global the LSE student body is. Before coming to the School, I naively expected the majority of my classmates to be native Londoners, or at the very least from the United Kingdom. Yet, during a small group discussion in my “Strategic Reward” class, it became clear, after brief introductions, that none of us were from the same country. This made the discussion surrounding pension systems even more unique. I found that the conversations in class were rather appealing, I gained insight from my classmates’ varying backgrounds and experiences, which resulted in my ability to reflect on my own personal and professional experiences.

It’s natural to be drawn to those who are similar to us – whether it be similar upbringing, same country of origin, or preconceived notions. However, I would advise anyone coming to LSE to step out of this comfort zone and converse with those from different countries and cultures. This will not only make you a more well-informed person, but will also give you the opportunity to take a global perspective on some of the most complex and pressing current events.

Students collaborating in the Marshall Building

Learn more about LSE’s General Course and GO LSE inbound opportunities.

About the author

Shawn

Shawn Kijewski is a Master of Business Administration (MBA) student from Cornell University currently studying abroad at LSE. He’s originally from Detroit, Michigan and enjoys lifting weights, experiencing different cultures, and practicing pulling the perfect espresso shot.

Posted In: Study Abroad

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