York St John University Study Abroad (11)
From September 2010 to the beginning of June 2011 I spent two great and unforgettable semesters at York St John University in England, where I deepened my teaching degree for English and Protestant religion, gained new insights, got to know a completely different way of learning and of course improve my language skills could. York is a beautiful traditional English city in north-east England, part of North Yorkshire and about an hour and a half bus ride from the North Sea coast.
I found out about MicroEDU through a magazine and spontaneously informed myself about the possibilities of an academic year in England on the website. If I had any questions or problems, I was able to contact the staff at any time and got an answer within one or two days. This service, which MicroEDU offered me, made the application process at the University of York a lot easier. The prerequisite for admission is usually a language test. For me it was an option to take another TOEFL test. Apart from this hurdle, everything went very quickly. There were some forms to fill out, which MicroEDU forwarded directly to the university for me and I soon got in touch with the coordinator for international students, which has also taken care of my questions. So it didn’t take long before I received a written confirmation from the university.
Then I could take care of the accommodation and the choice of my courses. I was accommodated in the “Limes Court” dormitory, which is a good quarter of an hour’s walk from the university and the city center. The dormitory is divided into shared apartments that are intended for five residents. In addition to the shared rooms, each house has a large kitchen and two bathrooms, which are distributed over the ground floor and first floor. There is a small storage room under the stairs. The rooms are fully furnished, relatively small, but there is a large desk. There are even special pin boards attached to the walls to attach posters, pictures and other items. The caretaker’s house has washing machines and dryers that can be used for a fee. There is not too much to consider in the dormitories. It is forbidden to smoke in the buildings and visitors must be announced according to the information brochure. However, there were never any problems. You should be careful if you want to drink alcohol in public. This is expressly forbidden in some places. But there are also plenty of pubs that offer the opportunity for cozy evenings. Just two minutes from Limes Court is a pub that has often been a meeting place for international students. There were offers such as karaoke evenings and music quizzes. So if you are looking for cultural exchange, this is the place for you and the Limes Court is highly recommended, as students from all possible countries live there alongside the British. It was precisely the intercultural get-together that made the year an unforgettable experience for me.
I was able to see the courses on offer, including a description of the content and module services, on the university’s website. I then stated my first and second wishes for the respective subjects on a form. I’ve taken courses in English, Religion, and Education. During the seminars I noticed that the focus on the design of the lessons and what is expected of the students is very different from what I was used to at my German home university. The lectures and seminars are only attended by around ten to a maximum of twenty participants. It is always important to make the lessons as vivid and interesting as possible. This was particularly the case in the field of pedagogy and in a seminar for English literature. The students were instructed to learn and procedures for homework were explained in detail and possibly also tested. Throughout the university, great importance was attached to willingness to help, be it with literature research, writing homework or simply in everyday university life. Everywhere on the premises and in the dormitories there are people who are open to questions and, above all, take on the problems of international students. For me it was a completely new and very nice experience at a university. York St John University is a very beautiful university that consists of an older part and a modern building. All faculties are on campus, so you don’t have to drive from one end of the city to the other. There’s even a pub on campus right next to the “Students’ Union”. The German students in particular were amazed at this. The “Students’ Union” is a kind of student body that takes care of all kinds of student matters and organizes events. There are also many “societies” that you can join, for example in the areas of dancing, swimming, theater, badminton, choir, musicals, orchestras and many more. The exchange students experience all these things in the “Welcome Week”, which takes place in September. In addition, the “Global Friends”, who mainly take care of the program for the exchange students, organize excursions that take place approximately every four weeks. Most of these cost £ 8 to £ 15. The bus ride to the respective locations is included. This is very worthwhile and, above all, cheap, as train travel in England is not exactly cheap either. We went to Whitby, Manchester, Liverpool, the Lake District, Cambridge and an amusement park. A trip to the Lincoln Christmas Market was also planned, but had to be canceled due to the snow chaos in December. A tip for all those who also want to travel by train on their own: there is a so-called “Railcard” that you can apply for, so that you save a third of the travel costs for a year. From my own experience, I can say that it is definitely worth it, even for those who only plan to stay for a semester and just want to go to London for a few days.
According to educationvv, the university is right on the edge of the city center, so shops, restaurants, pubs, clubs and sights are all within walking distance. York is actually a city in England where you can live well. In the center there are many small alleys, half-timbered houses decorated with flowers and cute shops. There is also no lack of shopping opportunities, such as clothing stores and supermarkets. It is also worth taking a walk on the banks of the Ouse in spring. In York there are otherwise many sights that attract a number of tourist groups every year: the Minster, one of the largest cathedrals in England, Clifford’s Tower, the Castle Museum, the Yorkshire Museum, the National Railway Museum (for all Harry Potter fans: there is the original Hogwarts Express from the movies:-)),
In relation to the mentality of the people there, I can report very different things. In general, the English students are very open-minded. But you will quickly notice that it can be difficult to make many English friends there who are really interested in you. Friendship is a very broad concept for most of the students. Of course, it is also up to you and to what extent you use the opportunity to make contacts. That is why I can only advise everyone to look for connections in the university clubs in order to make their free time as varied and the stay abroad as unforgettable as possible.
I hope I was able to give you a little insight into my year abroad with the impressions I gained and also into what may soon await you at York St John University. For all those who want to deepen their English language skills, live in a different culture and get to know many new people from different countries, who prefer places with tradition to the huge British industrial cities and still want to experience a lot of variety, York is with you Definitely the right city to spend an eventful time there that you will remember for a long time.