I spent the 2013 Spring and Summer Term at the University of Essex. A semester abroad is highly recommended, the number of new, international contacts / friends is high. Still, I wouldn’t choose the University of Essex again.
Arrive at the university
The International Office, which is responsible for MicroEDU students, is modest in its organizational structure. The staff are friendly, but not very competent. If you had questions, it usually took a long time to be answered. You only see the employees at the beginning (welcome day) and at the end (farewell lunch) of your stay – if you don’t have any extra questions! I would have liked a little more interest in the students from the International Office, possibly also a few organized events. After all, we’re bringing a lot of money to Essex.
The registration day was particularly exciting and hectic. On the Friday of the first week, at 3 p.m., i.e. 4 p.m. German time, we were asked to initiate the transfer to England. It was also important that the money was transferred on that day. Make sure that your bank account does not have any transfer limits that make such a transfer difficult. To this day I still do not understand why the students are not informed a little earlier as to when the exact amount is to be transferred. Then you can organize it from Germany, which simplifies the process a lot.
According to Iamaccepted.com, the organization at the university is in great need of improvement. In order to carry out certain administrative tasks, you may have to speak to several people or offices in order to deal with all requirements. Can be very tiring and nerve-wracking.
I lived in the South Courts on the University of Essex campus. The advantage of these small “shared flats” is that each room has its own, small bathroom. The disadvantage is that there are only five other roommates and if they are not so communicative, the first chance to make new contact has failed.
Despite the high price, the room is very spartan and includes a desk and chair as well as a LAN cable, so that internet access is included (the internet connection was often interrupted and you had to contact expensive hotlines, which also couldn’t fix the problem – it was very good annoyed – was astonishingly always when all students were in the university), a bed with a mattress that took more than getting used to (remember that you get pillows, blankets and covers beforehand !!!), a few drawers, a pin board, wardrobe. So it’s anything but cozy, but it might be a good way to concentrate on studying. The doors of the flats all close very loudly and since I lived under the roof, I was lucky that the sound of an air conditioning system often accompanied me at night. But you get used to that. What I haven’t got used to is that, in my opinion, the university is very dirty. Everyone throws their mill in front of the front door and the crows and ducks peck at the bags and after a certain time the garbage flies around. So there are no large garbage cans like in Germany into which the garbage can be brought in front of the door. What a shame!
You have to take care of the cleanliness of the room yourself, a “cleaning lady” cleans the bathroom monthly. The kitchen is cleaned once a week, depending on how the “roommates” are, it can be too late.
Course choice and level
Definitely take care of it from Germany. I had already agreed on four courses with the university (you need 60 Essex credit points per term), but two of them were not available in the end. Therefore prepare a few course alternatives. I think the level is feasible and easier than in Germany. If you take care of the assignments and presentations in good time, you should get good grades. I got to know the professors to be very helpful and always showed interest in the students. The seminar rooms are not particularly charming and sometimes even technically outdated.
Nevertheless, I have heard from some English people that the university has a good reputation in England. This reputation is particularly evident in economics and business studies pronounced. This can be a reason to choose this university for a stay abroad.
Night life / excursions
Yes, something is going on. If you want to go out, you can do something every day. Be “open minded” and you will make a lot of friends. The parties take place in two discos on campus, in Colchester or in Flats. There are also two bars available where you can play billiards or watch sporting events.
There are excursions almost every week. These bus excursions are organized by an organization and cover major English attractions. Interesting, reasonably priced and you can see at least two important / beautiful places in one day. Another plus point, you don’t have to worry about anything.
I think the university in England contributes to the costs in the highest league of state universities. I don’t know whether this is justified, especially in the spring / summer term. You pay for a second semester, the summer term, without lectures and seminars taking place during this time. I don’t know how to justify that. This point was not clear to me before.