Preparation and application process
The preparations for my semester abroad from January to June were a bit hectic, as I had to get the whole thing up and running in just two to three months. I had known for a long time that I wanted to go to England and preferably to a university in the South West, but since my university has almost no partner universities in England, it was very difficult. Fortunately, I found MicroEDU on the internet. After reading it through, I immediately sent my first email to Rebekka Pietschmann, who is in charge of MicroEDU for Great Britain. With her I had found a nice, friendly and competent contact person. I had been with the University of Bristol for a long time flirted and through MicroEDU my decision was made pretty quickly. I didn’t have to establish any contact myself for the application process at the university, Ms. Pietschmann did everything for me. Thus, the whole process was relatively stress-free and well organized. A few completed forms, obtained signatures and letters from lecturers, everything was quickly completed, the university was accepted a month and a half later. Visit ehuacom.com to get information about study in Sweden.
Attended courses and studies
In the course of the application process, I had to select a course which I would take at the University of Bristol. Unfortunately, I had some difficulties with this. I was in contact with the International Office of the University of Bristol to get more detailed information about courses as some things on the university’s website were not entirely clear to me. Most of my course requests could not be accepted because they were either not given to foreign master’s students like me or had already started in September and therefore unfortunately continued from January to June. I ended up getting three courses out of four that I had given. Since I went to the University of Bristol as a free mover and nano science master’s student, the courses there were almost all from different departments.
At first I had documented Medical Microbiology and Infectios Diseases, Funcional Neuroanatomy and Pharmacology of the Body II: Drug delivery. I started the semester with these courses in January. There you could change courses within a week and a half, as there are often overlapping lectures, seminars or internships with exchange students. Unfortunately for me too, so that after some back and forth I was able to replace my Pharmacology course with Advanced Options in Biochemistry.
The courses themselves were okay, the biochemistry course was the most interesting for me, as its content was more related to current research. One of the reasons for this was that it was a course for prospective Bachelor graduates, a so-called Level 3 course. The other two were also interesting, but for freshmen and therefore only information input but no relation to the more detailed work in the laboratory, as it would have been exciting for me. Nevertheless, I learned a lot in the courses, especially the internships in Neuroanatomy, in which real brains were used.
The semester was very demanding in terms of workload, as you had to do internships with short questions before and after, prepare and hold two presentations, write an essay and prepare for a mid-term exam. Due to strikes by the lecturers and staff at the university, many of them just missed lectures etc. for three weeks, which was of course very annoying on the one hand, and a little more relaxed on the other.
The requirements were in some cases comparable to those of my home university, but sometimes quite different in terms of standard compared to my bachelor’s / master’s degree in natural sciences in Germany.
Accommodation and care
I lived in Goldney Hall, in a dorm in Clifton, the prettiest part of Bristol. I had a 10 m2 room with a sink. My room was part of an eight-room apartment with two bathrooms, an extra toilet and a large communal kitchen. My roommates were almost all slightly younger than me, as most exchange students who are accommodated in dormitories live with freshmen. That was okay though, the mix between the sexes was good. Most of them studied something similar so that one could always talk to one another. The hall of residence was characterized above all by its huge and beautiful garden, as well as opportunities to stay and a house bar.
The support from employees or students who volunteered in the organizational area was very good. There were always weekly events in which you could take part and get to know other students from England or overseas. The location was great, within a 15-minute walk of any university building, the city center or shops. However, you always had to conquer a mountain or hill, as Bristol, in addition to its great harbor site, also has a lot of ups and downs to offer.
Leisure and excursions
As soon as you had the first few weeks of university behind you, you could see how much time you had to invest. For me there was a lot of free time, as my courses were partly timed together. By chance I found the so-called BISC from other German friends on site. A center organized by volunteers for international students, offering inexpensive meals three times a week and almost weekly events and excursions. So I have had many wonderful experiences through BISC, such as trips to Oxford, Cambridge or the Cotswolds as well as a visit to a musical.
That being said, Bristol offers an incredible variety of ways to enjoy your free time and have fun. Some must-do’s were the park around Cabot Tower and its climb, the view from the Suspension Bridge, lots of nice seating and coffees along the harbor site and of course the shopping area of Cabot Circus as well as bars and clubs, where you could really turn a boring evening into a good and eventful one every day. On the part of the university, too, there were countless opportunities to beautify your time. With many sports activities and especially the societies, you could really do everything, from kickboxing to yoga to theater, gin tasting or regular metal music meetings. All of these opportunities have made Bristol incredibly fascinating and great once you get used to the weather.
All in all, my semester abroad was a good and great experience that I can recommend to everyone. Even if it was financially quite expensive to go to a university in England, Bristol still offers great opportunities to enjoy life there. The university also has a good reputation and actually only has nice staff. Personally, I would have liked a little better support for students who didn’t start in September, but only in January, so that they too can better understand how things work at the university or who the best contact person is (in special cases). Otherwise, the city and the people there offer everything you need to make you wanderlust again and again as soon as you have been there.