I did the summer and jumping term at the University of Essex. In general, I think the semester abroad was a positive personal experience. However, I wouldn’t choose the University of Essex again.
The main reason for this is the courses and the learning conditions at the university. The level of the courses that I took was very low and the content and teaching methods correspond more to the level of the penultimate school year here in Germany than that of a university. In terms of content, I didn’t take anything with me from that time for my studies. Since I took courses in the field of film studies, I had a lot to do despite the low level: for each course, a film had to be watched and texts read every week. Since the oral participation was graded, it was also noticeable if one was not prepared. In addition to the oral participation, I had to do the grading and submit an essay and write an exam. That was significantly more than my friends in other departments had to do. I found the support from two of my lecturers very good, but the other two seemed rather annoyed by foreign students. One of them actually “only” gave me a “good” rating on my essay because, in her opinion, exchange students should simply not get first class grades because they basically cannot achieve the language level of native speakers. I find this view to be quite a cheek for a lecturer who teaches at a university that is so proud of its international orientation. In the other courses, however, I did not have this experience and had the feeling that my work was rated fairly.
I had decided to take the spring and summer term at the university so that I could study in England for a full six months. However, the courses only lasted the jumping term and after 10 weeks the 4 weeks vacation. To our surprise, there were no more courses after the holidays and only a few offered a revision class in the first week after the holidays. The rest of the time there was no class for the purpose of exam preparation. Several students were a little surprised that we were getting the same amount of tuition fees again had to pay like for the spring term. A friend who wanted to have this explained got the “friendly” answer that he had been informed about the costs beforehand and was therefore obliged to pay. The fees are for the revision class in a course and for the exam. So if you decide to go to Essex, then choose the Autumn Term: according to educationvv.com, extra exams are offered for the semester students and yet you don’t have to pay an entire term for them.
Another very crucial point why I wouldn’t choose Essex again: Despite the higher costs and efforts, I decided to organize my stay abroad myself, because the Erasmus places for Great Britain at my home university are very rare and popular and I really wanted to go where English is spoken outside of the university and where I have the chance to get to know native speakers. However, that was the first disappointment in Essex: I had hardly any contact with the English. It seemed as if foreign students and Englishmen were housed separately in the dormitories and since all courses in my department last all year round, it was incredibly difficult to make friends in January. I therefore had most of my contacts through the student residence hall.
Three of my roommates were exchange students like me (from the Czech Republic, Japan and – at least a native speaker – America) and the other two did their entire studies in Essex (from Hong Kong). What was very nice and what I can only recommend: I ate with some of my roommates every evening. In turn, everyone cooked for a week, which meant that the diet was much more varied and shopping was also cheaper. I like to keep the hours spent together in memory. Unfortunately, I wasn’t so lucky with all of my roommates: two of them were quite antisocial and disrespectful. Aside from failing to keep themselves tidy on things like kitchens and taking turns taking out the trash, volume was the biggest problem at night. My other roommates and I often tried to talk to them and tried several times to get support from the university – unfortunately nobody was interested or felt responsible for it. Emails to the so-called house assistants were not even answered. Instead, we got warnings as a whole apartment, who also threatened fines for things that were only on the account of the two of them (for example, you shouldn’t get caught using the fire extinguisher as a doorstop). The living situation was therefore very unsatisfactory and in some cases meant that I did not make it to my seminars in the morning. At this point, as I said, the support from the university left a lot to be desired and I wonder why there are bodies like the Residential Network, which is actually there for such problems. that I didn’t make it to my seminars in the morning. At this point, as I said, the support from the university left a lot to be desired and I wonder why there are bodies like the Residential Network that is actually there for such problems. that I didn’t make it to my seminars in the morning. At this point, as I said, the support from the university left a lot to be desired and I wonder why there are bodies like the Residential Network, which is actually there for such problems.
In other areas, too, I have had the experience that the University of Essex advertises certain things that it does not fulfill. One reason why I chose Essex was the English courses offered, which you can take in addition to the university courses. I was particularly interested in Academic Speaking and Grammar Review, as I have the first course credited to my home university, I wanted and also have to take an English exam, which counts a lot for the overall grade. However, the courses were full of people who barely understood English and had great difficulty speaking. The level of the courses was correspondingly low, so that it made no sense for me to take them. It is a shame that no other courses were offered for these people and that the desired level was maintained. Another example of things that the university advertises are the services provided by the Health Center on campus: anyone who has been at the university for at least six months can make use of them. But since we from 11.1. until 30.6. were in Essex, we were missing 11 days for the six months and so a friend of mine with 42 fever was turned away and not treated. Most of the societies were also not worthwhile – I was in the Traveling, Photographic, Dance, Latin and Theater Arts Society. I could have saved myself the first three: there was not a single trip of the Traveling Society, I never heard of the Photographic Society unless they were looking for volunteers for some events and in order to be able to take part in the dance courses, you also have to be a member Be in the fitness center, as otherwise you have no access to the rooms (but that is nowhere really visible and I only found out about it on site). What about it I’ve never heard of the Photographic Society unless they were looking for volunteers for some kind of event and in order to be able to take part in the dance classes, you have to be a member of the fitness center, otherwise you have no access to the rooms (but that’s nowhere really visible and I only found out about it on site). What about it I’ve never heard of the Photographic Society unless they were looking for volunteers for some kind of event and in order to be able to take part in the dance classes, you have to be a member of the fitness center, otherwise you have no access to the rooms (but that’s nowhere really visible and I only found out about it on site). The Theater Arts Society really paid off: every week there was a theater workshop with a bunch of crazy people and there were actually English people there too.
Even though I mainly wrote about my negative experiences in this report, not everything was bad, of course, and I have fond memories of many things. However, as described, some expectations that I had of the semester abroad and of the university were not met. So I can’t recommend the University of Essex, especially considering the tuition fees, which have more than doubled for those starting this fall.