1. The original townhomes were purchased in 1977
BYU study abroad programs in London date back to 1975, when 28 students lived and studied in the city. For this first program, the students lived at a hotel and took classes at the Hyde Park LDS Chapel.
The program was successful, and after the first year, the decision was made to continue it in the future. After a long search, a likely location was found: two neighboring townhouses, located at 27 and 29 Palace Court, near Notting Hill. At the time, number 29 was an apartment building; number 27 was owned by a hospital.
BYU arranged the purchase of both buildings and renovated them. Those buildings, now known as the BYU London Centre, provide an incredible opportunity for students to not just read about London and its wealth of history and culture, but to go out and experience it themselves.
Students reside and take classes in one of the buildings, while the second is designated for faculty and their families. The facility includes rooms for sleeping, lecturing, cooking, studying, eating, writing and washing.
2. Students thrive in downtown London for entire semesters
The study abroad program in London lasts for a whole semester in winter and fall or for seven weeks during the summer.
Field trips to important locations of cultural and historical significance support the program’s academic aims and bring to life theory and principles gained in the classroom.
Students get to visit and explore historical locations, art museums, the city’s parks and greenspaces, markets, religious and government buildings and other cultural sites. Their exploration of the city is a combination of guided, group activities and each exploring his or her own interests.
While living in the city, students are assigned to go to different wards in the local stake for the whole semester.
3. Cheers to nearly 4,000 scholars!
In fall 2023, 41 students were enrolled and lived in Europe for the entire semester. Multiply three semesters a year since 1977, and you get thousands of BYU students who have had the incredible opportunity to study at the London Centre.
Each semester, two BYU professors lead the study abroad session to teach, mentor and advise the students in London. The faculty members spend as much time in the classroom with students as they explore the historical and culture-filled city. Because the faculty rotate, each semester has a different focus and subject matter.
This year, BYU was first among all universities in the United States for the most students who studied abroad this past academic year. During that time, 2,878 BYU students took part in 204 BYU study abroad programs located throughout 61 countries.
4. Interns find a home in the recently acquired townhome
In the spring of 2022, BYU and the Kennedy Center had recently completed the purchase and renovation of a third townhouse in London, adjacent to the two townhouses that already made up the London Centre. This new building will be a home for BYU interns.
International internships are an independent, work-oriented experience in an international setting. Students bridge the gap between their academic and professional careers.
The building has five intern flats, each of which houses six to eight interns in shared rooms, giving the building a total capacity of up to 32 resident interns. Each flat is named after an influential woman who has a connection to London, with their names creating an A-to-G lettering system: Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, Martha Hughes Cannon, Emily Davison, Queen Elizabeth II, Florence Nightingale and Mary Grant Seacole. Each has a kitchen, laundry facilities and multiple bathrooms.
31 Palace Court is open to any BYU students doing a London internship through the Kennedy Center’s International Study Programs office; the cost of housing is included in the cost of the program. Interested students are encouraged to learn more about what the International Study Programs office offers.