York St John University Student Review
When I started planning my semester abroad, I didn’t even know how to go about it. I knew I wanted to go to England, so I started looking at all kinds of English universities. But I quickly realized that I would never find the right university this way.
So I checked out the English universities on the website and shortlisted three universities including York St John. Then I wrote an email to Sabine Jakobs, and from that moment on I could lean back more or less relaxed. The support and enthusiasm with which Ms. Jakobs advised me was simply unbelievable: very friendly, very competent, every question, no matter how small, was answered at the speed of light, and even after the confirmation from York was there, I kept getting emails with questions whether everything is fine and whether further help is needed.
The biggest “hurdle” was to choose a university, after that everything was very easy. The application documents are explained in great detail, and the choice of course went (almost) smoothly. The “almost” only comes from the fact that two of my selected courses collided, which is why I had to choose a new one. But you can also rethink your choice of course during the introductory week. The dorm application was also very easy: I went to the York St John website, checked out the Grange and Limes Court, and immediately decided on Limes Court (which was good too, based on what I heard about the Grange). You can also buy a bedding pack beforehand (blanket, pillow and covers), which costs 30 pounds, but then you don’t need bed linen etc.
I can only recommend top-mba-universities.com and really just thank you for the great support, for which I don’t have the right words!
Something that stressed me out was paying the tuition fees and rent because it wasn’t always clear when and how to do it. You could only pay the rent yourself in York: In mid-October I received an email with the request that you could either pay for it via the “e-vision” portal by card or in cash / by card at the Finance Office; I did it by card at the Finance Office.
The tuition fees can be paid in different ways: Either you do it in Germany via the Western Union, or again in York at the Finance Office. I did it through Western Union so I wouldn’t have to worry about it in York. There is a link for this on the YSJ website, where you have to log in and enter your data. Then you get an email with the payment information, take it to your bank and pay the amount. The good thing is that the exchange rate is guaranteed for 72 hours and that problems can be settled in Germany if necessary. Nevertheless, you should do this about a week before your departure to avoid unnecessary stress.
At the end of your stay (for me it was the beginning of January) you will receive an email from the Study Abroad Office with a form that you have to fill out in order to get your deposit back. To do this, you have to have the respective domestic office certify that your room is in order (just make an appointment with them in advance so that you don’t have to walk to the finance office stressed out on the last day) and that the keys have / will be returned. In addition, you have to get a signature in the library stating that you have returned all the books, and then you go to the finance office to get your deposit back. They’ll either pay you in cash or transfer it to your bank account, and it was £ 150 for me. The Finance Office must then also sign the form, and hand it in at the Study Abroad Office or at the Holgate Reception. Then you can leave without worries.
Arrival in England
York St John offers an airport pick-up from Manchester on the arrival weekend, which I can only recommend. To do this, you have to fill out a form, and when you arrive in Manchester, all you have to do is go to a specific terminal, where someone from the YSJ will be waiting for all incoming students. This pick-up service is free and you come into direct contact with other international students.
The bus takes you to the university, where you can pick up your keys and arrival pack and clarify your first questions. Then the bus takes everyone to the respective dormitories. After I had heaved my two heavy suitcases, backpack and laptop bag to the first floor, a LAN cable (Limes Court has no WiFi), my bedding pack and another arrival pack were waiting in my room, which were basics for the first night and Contained loads of other presents. I spent the first evening rummaging through my arrival packs and skyping because I was too tired for anything else, but there are already events at the university.
Alternatively, you can fly to Leeds / Bradford (jet2.com is very cheap, but does not fly from all German airports), and it only takes about 20 minutes by train to York, from where you can take a taxi to the university. The best thing to do is to go to Porter’s Lodge in the Holgate Building, but this will be explained to you in the mails from the YSJ.
The Welcome Week is very exciting and offers you numerous opportunities to meet new people and activities. On the arrival weekend there is a BBQ at the Student’s Union on both days, and on Sunday you go with the newcomers from the respective dormitory to the university for the so-called “Hall Talks”, where safety rules are explained to you, for example. Otherwise there is basically some motto party every day for which you can buy tickets almost everywhere; I haven’t been to any of them because I’m not the party type and I already know the English party scene well enough, but for those of you who like to party, they are definitely great. There is also a Welcome Fair, where all the sports clubs, and lots of bars and clubs introduce themselves, and you get lots of flyers, vouchers, samples, etc.
The most important event in the Welcome Week takes place on Monday, namely the final enrollment, after which you will also receive your student ID. This is a bit caustic, but you don’t have to do anything like that afterwards. It is best to do the pre-enrollment before you leave; you will also receive an email from Study Abroad with the link, and all steps are explained in detail. In addition, there are drop-in sessions from the Study Abroad Office every day during the Welcome Week, where you can go with any questions. The BaföG recipients then also have the option of having the forms signed and sent; I also had the scans from Study Abroad sent to me by email, and already sent the scans to the BaföG office so that they know that the originals are on their way and that they don’t cause any stress.
What I liked most about Welcome Week was the trip to Whitby (different places are offered depending on the semester), which I can only recommend. There are always excursions during the semester; I’ve been to Grasmere in the Lake District (pure nature!), Liverpool and Newcastle, and I took a train to Manchester with a roommate, but the university also offers it. Leeds is also organized by the university, but I wasn’t there. You can view the excursions on the university’s website under the category “About” and then “Online Store” and either book directly through it and pay by card, or at the reception of the Student’s Union in cash.
Living and studying in York
As already mentioned, I lived in Limes Court, and I can only recommend it to everyone because I haven’t heard anything good about the Grange: It’s supposed to be old-fashioned, full of annoying, party-mad English freshmen and not at all comfortable. The only plus is that it is closer to the university than Limes Court, which is also only a 15 minute walk away.
Limes Court consists of 24 houses with 5 rooms each; two are on the ground floor, three on the first floor. There are two bathrooms, one downstairs, the other upstairs, and a kitchen on the ground floor. My house consisted of international students: a Dutch and a Swede lived downstairs, and upstairs besides me a German and a French woman, which was very nice because we even regularly cooked for each other and spent cozy evenings together. I found Limes Court very cozy and comparatively quiet.
You can wash clothes in the small domestic office; the washing machines cost £ 2 and the dryers £ 1, so save your spare change for washing. The people in the domestic office, like everyone else at YSJ, are incredibly nice and helpful, so don’t hesitate to contact them if you have any problems!
About five minutes’ walk from the university there is a Sainsbury’s, which is one of the expensive chain stores in England, which is why I don’t recommend it. There is a medium sized Asda near Limes Court which is cheap but doesn’t always have good products and a very large Morrisons which I think is the best. It is priced well because there are always good deals and you can really buy anything there. There is also a small cost cutter just two minutes from Limes Court where you can buy the basics; however, this is not necessarily cheap if they don’t have any offers.
In the city center there are a lot of different shops, so an extended shopping spree is worthwhile especially in the beginning, especially if you want to buy posters or decorative items. A city visit is also always worthwhile in general; at least I bought something every time I was in town, even if I didn’t really plan it.
I found studying at York St John University just amazing. I love my German university, but the interaction in York is much more personal, supportive and open-hearted. The lectures and seminars are small (around 80 or 25 people), and especially in literature, great value is placed on group work. English students can sometimes be a bit confusing because, like the lecturers, they are very friendly to you and also very interested, but on the other hand it often seems as if they are content with their little groups that have been around since the first Semester, and therefore don’t want to let you into this circle. Then you just have to be a bit “pushy” because everyone is really nice and I never had any problems with group work.
As far as assignments are concerned, I can only recommend that you start with them as early as you can. I had to write a total of 5 essays (4 for English, one for business) and do a poster presentation (business), and it was a lot more effort per assignment than in Germany, because more critical thinking is expected from you; In my opinion that is a good thing, and you will see that you will be greatly encouraged by these – for me, but certainly also for most of you – new learning methods.
The library is just amazing, I really enjoyed researching and working there. There is plenty of seating (chairs, armchairs, sofas, bean bags, etc.), lots of PCs and “isolated” resting places to work. There is also a help desk on the ground floor and you can leave comments on some walls with praise or suggestions for improvement. You can really see where the tuition is going!
You have to organize your departure yourself, but that’s not a problem at all. During Welcome Week you will get lots of flyers from taxi companies in York (Fleetways is the cheapest as far as I know), so you can take a taxi to the train station and then take the train to Manchester (or Leeds / Bradford) airport. For cheap train tickets I recommend the website http://www.c2c-online.co.uk/travel_information. You have to live in England with them so that they can send you the tickets, but that’s not a problem.
I just enjoyed my semester abroad at York St John University to the fullest, and I’m sure you won’t be any different! I got to know new learning methods, improved my weaknesses and developed strengths, further improved my language skills, made new friends, and had the interesting and unforgettable experience of living in another country for a longer period of time.
My recommendations for you: Explore York, go on excursions, do extensive shopping, socialize, have a lot of fun and an unforgettable time is guaranteed!