Dhruv Maroo is an International Affairs and Political Science student from the University of Cincinnati. As an international student from India, Dhruv moved to the U.S. for college in 2017 and in 2019 decided to take his studies overseas again through USAC in London, England. We talked to Dhruv about what it’s like to be an international student participating on an international study program.
Why did you decide to study abroad in London?
Being an International Affairs major, I believe my education should involve knowledge and experiences from a global perspective. I believe that studying abroad is integral in not only learning about the different cultures and societies around the world, but also to understand different perceptions and opinions that originate from this disparity. A semester in the London Metropolitan University, taking courses aligned with my interest, will put me in the heart of British politics and perceptions on global issues. I chose this program primarily because of the various International Affairs courses offered by the University that address different parts of global diplomacy than the classes I took at my home university. Living in one of the biggest Metropolitans in the world was also a huge benefit as there are plenty of experiences to be had during a study abroad.
What academics are you taking that relate to your major?
As an aspiring diplomat planning to work in the field of international conflict and human rights, I decided to take courses that would further my understanding of these fields. I am taking four classes here, counting for 14 credit hours at my home university. I am taking “Shifting Global Power in the 21st Century” and “Peace, Conflict and Diplomacy since 1945” because these modules will aid in my understanding of the current international Balance of Power and conflict interests while providing me with an in-depth understanding of the history and causes leading up to the current world system. I am especially interested in these courses because they take a historical perception on understanding current Balance of Power while tracking trends and aspiring to understand the implications of these trends in international relations. I am taking “Diplomacy Old and New” to learn diplomatic trends in the past and current diplomatic skills relating to successful diplomatic tactics and their effects on international dialogue and conflict resolution. I am also continuing my Arabic language studies by taking 2nd year Arabic.
How does your study abroad in London compare to your study abroad in the U.S.?
The biggest difference is the difference in education and assessment styles between the two countries. Studying in the US, I was accustomed to the teaching styles employed at UC. Class two to three times a week, periodic assessments, homework and readings as preparation for the next class, and examinations in the middle and end of the semester. It is a system that is designed to assess you continuously while forcing you to stay on track with the goals of the module. In the London Metropolitan University, class is typically once a week and usually involves a lecture for two hours and a discussion seminar/workshop for an hour. There are no continuous assessments or assigned homework, although there is suggested reading in preparation of the seminar. There is a final exam/essay on which a large part of your grade rests. The students are expected to stay on track and keep up with the readings on their own volition. The classes in London are also more niche and practical compared to the ones I have taken so far at UC which was a refreshing change, helping me increase my knowledge of the field.
You mentioned that you’ve tried to hike as much as possible during your study abroad. Can you talk a bit about your hiking adventures? Where you’ve gone, what your favorite has been?
Knowing how beautiful the landscapes of UK are, I had to take advantage of the gorgeous hiking routes throughout the UK. I have completed five hikes so far, ranging from a 2-hour hike in a forest to a 3-day trip through the Northern Coast of Northern Ireland. I hiked a trail through the Epping Forest, the White Cliffs of Dover trail, The Causeway Coast Way trail in Northern Ireland, and the Seven Sisters trail. My favorite one by far was the Causeway Coast Way in Northern Ireland. While hiking the Northern Coast, I experienced the most serene and beautiful scenery I have ever seen. The approximately 22-mile hike led through 5 cities/towns, including Ballintoy which served as the set for the Iron Islands from Game of Thrones (I couldn’t resist). The hikes were incredible, and I am grateful for the opportunity.
Learn more about the USAC London program through these student videos.