Here I would like to tell you about my semester abroad at the University of Essex in Colchester.
First some information about Colchester, where the university is located. Colchester is a medium-sized city with about 100,000 inhabitants. There is plenty of shopping and the city itself is quite beautiful. There are bus stops directly at the university and the student accommodation from which you can get into the city. A single journey is unfortunately relatively expensive at 1.80 GBP (journey takes only 10 minutes). Unfortunately, unlike in Germany, this university does not include any semester ticket in the price. So you have to think again before each trip whether you want to invest the money or not. In addition, the buses only run relatively regularly until around 6:30 p.m. After that, my accommodation (University Quays) could no longer be reached directly. You then have to get off at a stop a little further away and walk the rest of the way (path not illuminated, approx. 10 min.) I am unable to judge what the situation is like at other accommodations. The way to the university is in any case within walking distance of all university accommodation (max. 15 min.)
To the accommodation
At the university, every student from abroad is guaranteed a place in a dormitory. There are accommodations with shared bath / shower for around GBP 80 per week and accommodations with private bathrooms for around GBP 110 per week. I would definitely recommend the latter option, because otherwise you have to share 3 toilets and showers with 16 people (if the residents still have guests, there are more.) The sanitary facilities in the apartments with shared bathrooms correspond to the standard of well-kept but old fashioned public toilets.
In the apartments with their own bathroom, you only share the kitchen with your 5-8 flatmates. The furniture in my accommodation was simple but adequate and “in good shape”, also reasonably modern. However, the kitchens are not up to the 2004 standard (that is the year the house was built.) Many things here would need to be replaced (e.g. floor) because they are simply broken. However, electrical appliances were promptly and easily replaced in the event of a defect. Defects in the rooms were also repaired quickly and reliably. What bothered me a little was that a room check was carried out once a semester. The employees had a universal key and came into the room even in our absence. This would be unthinkable in Germany. If you like it a little quieter, the University Quays are recommended, there are fewer parties than in the towers, for example. If there should be nocturnal disturbance, there is a number to call and the problem will be resolved.
According to andyeducation.com, the service from the university administration is pretty good. You always get an answer to emails on the same day. It is usually similar with the lecturers, but of course it depends on the individual lecturer. Regarding the quality, I can say that it fluctuated a lot between my courses. One of the two courses offered by the International Academy was fantastic. The lecturer went to great lengths. The two of us even had our own lesson each week in which we could discuss all the things we needed help with. The quality of the other courses was ok, one lecturer always made a very unprepared impression. In general, however, the courses are small (8-20 participants) and there is no scramble for places as is so often the case in Germany. Since you notice the good 2000GBP tuition fees. You could choose the courses (up to 4 are possible) when you applied, and I got into all the courses I wanted to attend. Regarding the workload, it can be said that I rate it as comparable to the workload in Germany. However, in Germany I attend about 10 courses per semester, in Essex only 4. You have to do at least 2 services per course (e.g. 2 homework or homework + exam.) The lecturers give you all the support you need to cope with the tasks. There would be no such thing at my home university. The lecturers here even look over drafts for term papers and give hints.
You would have to know the situation at other universities in England in order to be able to give a final assessment of this university. I’ve only been to a dorm in Cardiff once, and here in Essex you live in luxury. The lecturers were all nice and you could do your job well. Unfortunately, I had less contact with the British than I had hoped. Perhaps that was due to my subject (English linguistics), which is often studied by foreigners. Unfortunately, a social space at our apartment was only opened towards the end of the summer term. However, future students may still benefit from it and get to know more people. But even without this I was able to make many international contacts (e.g. Japan, Mexico, USA.) That was very enriching and will remain in my memory for my entire life. If I would do it again: Yes, of course. Overall, I think the university was a good and comparatively inexpensive choice. I just wanted to point out the problems in this report so that you don’t get misconstrued. But I don’t think that the problems mentioned are necessarily better elsewhere. One more note on MicroEDU: this service is really great. The care was perfect and I don’t think that I would have made the effort without their help! Many thanks to Sabine and the rest of the team!