Fine Arts in London, May Term

Fine Arts in London was offered in May, 2007 & 2008. It was very successful and I will be directing the program again, but not in May, 2009. At this point, I will still accept applications of those interested in a possible program in May, 2010. If you have any questions about the course, please send e-mail to me. I have also posted links to sites with information about London and Great Britain on this page. Use them as starting points and follow what looks interesting.

A schedule of group events and performances for May, 2008 is posted below and will give you a good idea of what happens in these two weeks. Schedule and cost is subject to change, but the course fee for 2008 was $3200, plus tuition for 2 academic credits. With the steep rise in airfares, the course fee will certainly be higher in 2010. This course is FA approved and also carries a Global Flag.

Information for May, 2008 Program Participants

Online form for Education Abroad

Forms for medical and health, along with contact information need to be filled out and submitted to the Education Abroad office. You can fill these out online. The waiver of liability should be printed and signed by you and your parents. The completed form should then be brought to the Education Abroad office in the basement of CSB Main. All information referred to in the waiver is found in the various PDF files at that web site.

Schedule (updated Thursday, May 21)

Tuesday, May 13 6:00/6:30 pm - gather at MSP international airport (meet at the Northwest Airlines

check-in counter on the lower level of the terminal)

9:30 pm - direct flight to London Heathrow departs

Wednesday, May 14 12:15 pm - arrive Heathrow airport (6 hours ahead of Minnesota time)

- check into flats in the student residence

- walking tour of the neighborhood with Greg and Janine

Thursday, May 15 10:15 am - morning coach tour of the city, followed by tube and bus introduction

Friday, May 16 Bankside, Southwark Cathedral, lunch on the Queen's Walk watching sheep shearing

7:30 pm - "Handel in London" concert, St Martin in the Fields

Saturday, May 17 free

Sunday, May 18 5:00 - Hamlet, performed by the Factory

Monday, May 19 9:30 am - tour Houses of Parliament

1:00 - walking tour of the Bloomsbury area

Tuesday, May 20 10:00 - London Eye

1:30 - National Gallery (museum visit)

7:30 pm - "Wicked"

Wednesday, May 21 free

Thursday, May 22 10:30 - Tower of London

1:00 - Westminster Abbey

7:45 - "Oxford Street", Royal Court Theatre

Friday, May 23 10:15 am - walking tour of the Inns of Co

6:15 pm - pre-concert talk (Barbican Centre)

7:30 pm - London Symphony Orchestra (Barbican Centre)

- music of Schubert and Bruckner

Saturday, May 24 Coach tour to Oxford and Blenheim Palace (all day)

Sunday, May 25 3:00 - Evensong service, Westminster Abbey (suggested)

Wallace Collection (museum visit, on your own)

Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park (suggested museum visit, on your own)

Monday, May 26 free

Tuesday, May 27 10:30 am - Globe Theatre Exhibition and Tour

1:30 - Tate Modern (museum visit)

7:30 pm - Jazz Orchestra Gershwin concert (Southbank Centre)

Wednesday, May 28 10:30 am - Riverboat trip to Greenwich

Farewell dinner

Thursday, May 29 11:25 am - check in at London Heathrow for group return flight

2:25 pm - direct flight to MSP International departs

5:25 pm - arrive MSP International

Housing and facilities in London

Housing and classroom facilities, along with many other support services are provided by the Foundation for International Education (FIE), based in London. Their web site has information about the location, housing, services, academics, etc. Most of the group will be living in the Hyde Park Gate facility. A few will be housed at Metrogate, which is just around the corner from Hyde Park Gate. Computer access for all students is available at Metrogate, 24 hours a day.

Money issues

My main means of handling money for purchases while abroad is two-fold. I recommend you get both a credit card and a bank ATM card. Both will give you very favorable exchange rates and save you the hassle of exchanging US dollars. There are ATM machines everywhere, and your money comes out as British pounds, so it could not be more straightforward. The credit card is useful to have for bigger purchases and as a backup. You may want to get a small amount of foreign money to have when first arriving. You can arrange this from almost any bank. There is no need to carry traveler's checks, though some like the extra security as another backup.

Electric power

Electric power in the United Kingdom is 220 volts, so nothing you bring will work without conversion. There are two items in the mix here – electric plug adaptors and power conversion units. You can easily, and cheaply, buy plug adaptors. The problem is that the power coming in is still 220 volts and will quickly fry any electric appliance, computer, iPod, etc. A power conversion unit will change the voltage into 110 volts and provide the appropriate power level for computers, iPods, etc. Anything that generates heat (blow dryers, hair curlers, etc.) will still probably not work properly. If you need such an appliance, our best suggestion is to buy a cheap one once you are in London. The power demands are simply too great for most of the power conversions units you can purchase. There are also dual voltage appliances, available at travel shops, or on-line from the links posted below.

If you are bringing a computer, iPod, cell phone, etc. with you, a power conversion unit will work well. We have used them in the UK, continental Europe, and Australia with no problem. You will still need to have the proper plug adaptor to fit into the UK (or any other) plug type. Another thing to consider is that these conversion units are quite heavy, and you will need to be carrying it around with you.

You can find any of these items at Travelsmith or Magellans on the web. The plug adaptors are $10, and the power conversion units are $35 – 50. The power converters usually include all the necessary plug converters.


Be aware of the weight and size limits of the airlines. Northwest Airlines allows you 2 bags, not more than 50 pounds each. You may have read about Northwest moving to allow only one bag per passenger, but this is for domestic flights. Weigh your bag to be sure it is less than 50 pounds. One bag should be enough, but if you must bring more than 50 pounds, pack 2 bags. The excess weight fee is $50 per bag. There is also a size limit of 62 inches (length, width and depth added together) per bag. Any large suitcase will normally fit in those dimensions. For full detailed information on checked and carry-on luggage, refer to luggage information on the Northwest Airlines web site.

Be sure to have sturdy, comfortable walking shoes. You will be walking a lot during the program. Temperatures can vary widely and rain is common. Average high temperatures in May are in the 60's with lows in the 40's.

What to do on your free days?

There is plenty to do just wandering around London, but there are other options and ways to focus your energy. Coach tours out of the city cost around £65 and proceed in all directions. There are trips which include Stonehenge and Bath, favorites spots for our students last year. Best Value Tours is a good place to start and Golden Tours is another (look at Top Ten Tours on the right side of the web page). You can also find information at the Victoria Coach Station once we get to London.

If you stay in London, London Walks are guided 2 hour walks in every part of the city, covering just about every aspect of life and history in London. The Beatles, Jack the Ripper, historic pubs, Dickens, theatres, etc. are all represented. The guides are very knowledgeable and entertaining, and the student price is only £5. Full schedules and other details are on their web site.

It is even possible to spend a day in Paris, using the Eurostar high-speed train. You can leave early in the morning and return late, having about 12 hours in Paris.

London links

To get a good background about greater London, start with the London Town Guide. It has good summaries of the various sections and neighborhoods, along with how they fit together. The historical summary is valuable to gain perspective on the rich history of the area. Another good source for general information about London is

Visit Britain is the official web site of the British Tourist Authority. It contains a wealth of information.

The Lonely Planet publishes excellent guides to foreign countries, with a web site devoted to London.

Though English is the spoken and written language in the UK, there are considerable differences with American English. This British translator is an interesting look at the contrasts.

Time Out is a weekly magazine and web site that is the authority on up-to-date entertainment information in London.

For local London news, there are electronic versions of the Times and the Telegraph. You may need to register your name, address, etc. for their marketing purposes, but the access is free.

Find the current forecast for London's weather, or for television and radio, check the BBC.

Politics, business and economy information is found at 10 Downing Street, the home address of the British Prime Minister.

Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's Cathedral are two well-known, famous places of worship in London. Choral Evensong services at either one are a terrific way of experiencing the real purpose of the buildings. You can often be seated in the Choir section of the cathedral, where you can rarely go on a normal tour.

Some of the best art museums in the world are in London. Preview the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Tate Museums (especially note the Tate Modern).

Many other different types of museums are in and around London. The most famous is the British Museum, with an enormous collection of artifacts from around the world. We will be living quite close to the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Natural History Museum. The Museum of London is a city museum, very local in character, but a fascinating view of the historical richness of London.

For an exhaustive list of art galleries and museums, check art galleries - London. There are dozens of places listed, large and small. Most have web sites linked from the list.

The British love their royalty, and the British Royal Family are an integral part of life in the United Kingdom.

Harrod's is one of the most amazing department stores in all the world. We will be within walking distance of the Knightsbridge store. Browse through the store on this site.

You might be interested in visiting Camden Town Online, one of London's favorite spots for young adults. There are lots of links to area attractions from their page.

Excursion sites

We will visit Oxford and Blenheim Palace as a group on a day trip out of London. Oxford is the famous University town in central England, and nearby Blenheim Palace is the birthplace of Winston Churchill.

The ancient and mysterious Stonehenge and the town of Bath are easy day trips on the train on one of your free days. Many other possible day journeys are easily arranged by train or coach.