Planning the semester abroad
I started preparing and planning my semester abroad about nine months in advance, whereby the focus was of course on researching information at the beginning. In retrospect, a shorter period of time would have been more than sufficient for this, but I can only recommend dealing with the topic as early as possible, since at least in my experience the entire process is a lot more relaxed.
After in-depth research into the possibilities of studying abroad as a “free mover”, I came across MicroEDU. The numerous testimonials in particular helped me a lot and ultimately convinced me to apply with the help of MicroEDU. Visit ehuacom.com to get information about vocational training in Slovenia.
The advice and organization were very helpful and the whole thing went without any problems. The most important information was conveyed well and can usually be found quickly on the website. In addition, my questions, of which there weren’t many thanks to the good communication, were always answered reliably and competently. In summary, the entire organization has become a lot easier for me and personally it has also given me additional security that someone from MicroEDU has an overview of the entire application process. I would like to thank Rebekka Pietschmann again for the great support.
Broken down to the essentials, the personal contribution to the application process is limited to filling out the required application documents and then submitting them. The rest is then done through MicroEDU. In relation to this, the language certificate and transcript of records are most important. For proof of language proficiency, I can expressly recommend the DAAD language certificate, which you could acquire at my home university without any major problems and which, in addition to the lower organizational effort, is also the cheaper alternative to IELTS and TOEFL tests.
The “Offer” from the University of Bristol came just a month after I had submitted my application, which also made further planning (travel, finding accommodation) much easier.
When looking for an apartment, I can only recommend choosing a student residence. As a study abroad student, you have even guaranteed a place. When I applied, I was lucky and got a place in Goldney Hall, which was also my dream home. It is in a really good location in Clifton, which means you are within a 10 minute walk of most of the university buildings and also have short distances to the city center and the “Harbor Side”. In addition, there are also very beautiful gardens and a “Reading Room” where you can study, as well as a library and a bar, which are in the adjoining building, which, by the way, looks like a mansion straight out of a Rosamunde Pilcher film. There are also two tennis courts.
In the dormitory, I shared a kitchen and two bathrooms with seven other students, four of which were from England, two from America and one from Argentina. Everyone has a sink in their own room. In the beginning it was extremely helpful to have a group with which you could attend most of the introductory events and to get to know other people also turned out to be relatively easy, as there were many introductory events.
I made very good friends with the people from my dormitory and we spent many lovely evenings in the kitchen with cooking, drinking and talking about God and the world. Through the people from the dormitory you get to know other people all the time, which means you are socially involved very quickly. Conversing in English all the time was not a problem after a short period of getting used to it, and your own level also improves noticeably through daily speaking.
The courses, which I had already pre-selected during the application process, I then was able to prove without difficulty and after the local semester abroad credited to my home university can. If you want to minimize the likelihood of possible course overlaps in advance, it is advisable to choose courses from one subject and from the same academic year. In general, the “Study Abroad Office” tries very hard to find a good solution for every student and shows you the various options in the event of overlapping courses and offers alternative courses. With a little flexibility, there is no problem with different courses from the really large interdisciplinary range of courses to choose.
After selecting the courses, you can then organize your studies very easily. There is the MyBristol portal through which one receives all relevant university-related information and also has access to Blackboard, which is comparable to the German Stud. IP, through which one receives all information regarding the courses taken.
I took three Economics courses in Bristol with 20 credits each: Growth and Development, Econometrics and International Economics. Compared to the German situation, the timetable seems pretty empty at first, but it corresponds to the average in England. It is not even possible to take courses worth 60 credits. With regard to the abundance of the timetable, however, there are also extremely large differences between the various subjects. For example, students studying physics or engineering have significantly more attendance hours than those studying sociology, political science, or economics. This is mainly due to the fact that less practical courses require a much greater amount of personal work.
Personally, however, I really liked this somewhat different study model, as the smaller number of courses allowed you to go much deeper into the depth of the respective subject and content was brought closer to you in an interesting way through additional literature, media reports, tutorials and current references. The lecturers and tutors were also very helpful and friendly. Especially for a semester abroad, it has the additional advantage that the lower number of hours attendance gives you more time to explore Bristol and to travel to other cities. Nevertheless, I can only recommend reading the additional literature on a regular basis and working through other materials provided, otherwise the rather high amount of material will be a bit overwhelming.
Overall, I really enjoyed studying at the University of Bristol. The exams at the end of the semester are demanding, but still have to be passed successfully with good preparation.
At the beginning of the semester there is a large “Society Fair” at which almost all students are present and you can get information about the numerous societies, comparable to the German university groups. There is an infinite range from Quidditch, cricket and climbing to chess, poker and magic to the “Cheese Society”, “Gin Society” and the “Beer and Real Ale Society” – so there is really something for everyone. I recommend you to try out as many societies as possible and at the beginning there are even “button sessions” at each society, where you can get a first impression without obligation. You get to know new people quickly and you can mingle with the locals.
That being said, Bristol is overall a very nice city to spend your time and I think it’s the perfect size to explore, at least for the most part, during a semester abroad. In addition, the location of the city is also very good and it is very easy to travel to cities apart from London. I can definitely recommend you the cities of Oxford, Cardiff, Manchester, Liverpool and Bath just recommend it. It is also very useful to travel with people from your own kitchen, as you usually have the greatest contact with them. We were even very fortunate that we were able to stay overnight with friends and relatives of our roommates for free on our city trips together, should we ever stay longer in one place.
But there is more than enough to do in Bristol itself, especially when you go to many societies. I would recommend two or three, but of course there is no upper limit. In addition, you can experience the English pub culture very well in Bristol and try all the different ciders and real ales for which Bristol is known nationwide. During my stay, the weather was surprisingly good and it almost never rained. My surprise and the really positive memory of the weather in retrospect are perhaps partly due to my previously extremely low expectations – thanks to the cliché of the English weather.
Finally, I can really only recommend a semester abroad at the University of Bristol. It was a great experience for me and I would go back to Bristol anytime. The university also has an excellent reputation and a semester abroad in Bristol does not have the potentially negative connotation of a party Erasmus semester. For me it is a great combination of quality in teaching and study experience. With regard to financing, I can only recommend you to inform yourself about the possibility of BAföG abroad. This alone covers 85 percent of the tuition fees.