When I first began to research the different study abroad programs Drexel offered, I quickly realized that I wanted to attend a university located in a major city just like Philly. Traveling and sightseeing the country I’d be living in was also a goal I wanted to accomplish while abroad. That’s how I picked the University of Bristol. Located in western England, the city of Bristol attracts many tourists making it a popular place to visit. There’s a lot to do and see right here in Bristol, and its excellent transportation system allows you to easily travel all over the UK.
The bus network in Bristol stops just about anywhere. There are options to purchase day, weekly, and monthly passes that are priced based on the area of Bristol or western England you plan to travel to most often. Because my accommodation is in Stoke Bishop, a few miles from the city centre, the university has provided me with a free pass to travel between the accommodation village, campus, and city centre for the entire term. This has made traveling to campus, city centre, and the train/coach station very convenient for me, so I became comfortable with the layout of the city quickly.
Some of my favorite places to visit within Bristol have been the Harbourside, the Clifton Suspension Bridge, the University of Bristol Botanic Garden, and Brandon Hill. Outdoor activities are very popular in Bristol, and everyone is always going on bike rides, walks, and spending time in nature. Even though the weather is getting colder, I’m not letting it stop me from exploring everything the city has to offer. But if you’re in need of an indoor activity to mix it up, Bristol has plenty of museums and galleries which are perfect for the inevitable rainy days. Additionally the University’s societies (on-campus clubs and organizations) are always hosting different events, formals, and activities to keep you busy and engaged.
When traveling to cities longer than an hour from Bristol, most people prefer to take a coach or a train. While trains are the faster way to travel, I’ve found coach tickets to be less expensive, and therefore my preferred method of transport. Coach and rail cards are a popular feature in the UK because of age-dependent pricing. For university students the pricing is very good. Unfortunately, the discounts offered by age are only available for year-long passes. I’m only in the UK for 3.5 months, and when I mapped out the expenses for all my travel plans I found that I wouldn’t be saving money with this option. However, if I was studying abroad for an entire academic year it certainly would’ve been useful worthwhile to have.
Outside of Bristol, I’ve traveled to London, Cardiff, Bath, and Edinburgh—all which have been easily accessible through coach and train! Bristol is a hub for travelers, so finding direct transportation to other major cities in England, Wales, and Scotland has been very easy. My flatmates have also made trips back to their hometown throughout the term and were able to easily book tickets and be on their way without much planning. This is also a selling point for the university, as they take pride in how trouble-free it is for domestic students to go home for a weekend or for any student to explore the UK.
Knowing that my time in Bristol was limited to just a few months, I began researching the best modes of transportation and all the places I wanted to add to my bucket list before I left home. It totally paid off because now I feel very comfortable with traveling to new cities almost every weekend or exploring the hidden gems of Bristol. Figuring out where you want to go and navigating the transport system can be intimidating at first, but I think that’s what’s helped me become a more independent adult and adept traveler during my study abroad journey!
A Message from the Office of Global Engagement:
The safety and security of Drexel students is a priority for the University. As part of the efforts to support Drexel students that are studying abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Global Engagement has conducted a rigorous review of programming and provided additional support to participating students with customized pre-departure orientations and regular check-ins during the required self-isolation period and the term.