I planned and carried out my semester abroad at the University of Essex with the help of MicroEDU. I felt very well looked after at MicroEDU. All of my questions were answered quickly and comprehensively and the contact was very friendly. This made my semester abroad a great success despite the Corona crisis !
In the summer of 2019 I started thinking about which country and which university I should go to. Since I wanted to improve my English, the choice fell quickly on Great Britain. The University of Essex was my choice because of its proximity to the sea and London. In compiling my application papers I was greeted by support MicroEDU, especially with this is that everything is complete. After a preliminary check, I sent my documents to MicroEDU and after a few weeks I got the approval from Essex.
The University of Essex
The University of Essex is a very international university, so that all courses outside of the “internationals”, ie the international students, also include regular students from all over the world. The university also attaches great importance to this internationality. There are different communities and many international celebrations on campus. The university forms a campus outside of Colchester. The campus is made up of the main campus with the classrooms, lecture halls, restaurants and bars and the surrounding dormitories. There is also a large sports center with a gym and soccer, rugby and basketball courts and much more. Thus everything that is needed can be reached within a maximum of 10 minutes on foot.
The summer semester at UoE consists of two trimesters, the spring and the summer term. The Spring Term begins in early January and ends in March. Then there is a break of four weeks before the summer term starts in April and ends at the end of June. The lectures take place mainly in the spring term, in the summer term the exams and homework are then written.
At the UoE you take four modules per semester. Since I was already without a license before England, I didn’t need to pay attention to which courses my university recognized and I was free to choose. I ended up choosing Contract Law, Commercial Contract Law, Competition Law and Selected Issues in Public International Law. Contract Law is a first semester course in which you learn the basics of English contract law, while Commercial Contract Law focuses more on B2B contracts. In Competition Law, the lecturer focused on European competition law, so that this module is also interesting for further training in European law. My favorite course was Selected Issues in Public International Law. This course was taught by three different instructors, each of whom discussed a specific area in more detail. The first topic was Human Rights Law with a focus on the genocide in Myanmar, then Law of the Sea was taught and the last topic was Law of the Use of Force. The courses varied in size, only Contract Law was a large lecture with over 100 participants, otherwise we were about 20 students in the course.
At the UoE, foreign students have the opportunity to apply for one of the dormitories on campus. I lived in South Courts. There are different sizes of apartments there, I lived in a four-person flat share. The kitchen was relatively small with us, but I was also with friends who had more roommates and therefore larger kitchens. The advantage of the South Courts are the so-called ensuite rooms, in which a small bathroom is already in the room, so that the common rooms are limited to the kitchen.
South Courts is a rather quiet and fairly large dormitory right by the Sports Center. If you prefer something a little more sociable, you should move to one of the towers (North or South). About 14 people live there in a flat share and there is always something going on. The Copse dormitory is a little newer, and the shared apartments there are also relatively large with around 14 people. The houses in the north of the campus, where around 6 people live together, are a bit more contemplative.
There are two stores on campus for shopping, in which you can get the essentials at relatively high prices. I went to Tesco once a week, which is a 15-20 minute walk from campus. There is everything from food to furnishings, everything you need in your semester abroad. If you have to go shopping again, you can take the bus directly back to campus.
You can spend your free time at the UoE in very different ways. In the first days after arrival there are events by the Abroad Team, so you get to know the other internationals with whom I spent most of the time.
There are two bars on campus for evening entertainment, the Top Bar and the SU Bar. Especially on karaoke evenings on Mondays you will always meet someone in the SU Bar. Top Bar is a must, especially for gin & tonic lovers, where you can choose from around 50 different gin & tonic. The campus also has a club (Sub Zero) that has a party almost every evening. The tickets are best ordered online, if you hurry you can go to the club for £ 1.
There are also numerous societies and sports clubs at the UoE. I went to the dance club and took part in training once a week. In summer the dance club also holds a showcase. The clubs are always happy to meet new people and everyone is nice and open to the internationals.
Colchester is more of a quiet city. My tip is definitely the Wivenhoe Trail from campus along the river to Wivenhoe, both as a short hike and as a jogging route. You should also take a trip to Clacton-on-Sea, there is a bus directly from campus for £ 6.
For trips to London you can take the train from Colchester to London Liverpool Street as well as the National Express Coach from Colchester or once a day from campus to Victoria Station. There is little time on the two routes, the coach is a bit more comfortable because you get off in London Westminster. The trip along the Thames should not be missed either.
Contrary to plan, the Corona crisis came in March, so that most of the internationals, like me, had to decide within a week to leave the university. The rest of the semester was continued online, all exams were written online.
According to ehuacom.com, the UoE communicated the most important information to the students on a weekly basis. All facilities were closed, only food could be bought to take away. The exams in Jura were held as 24h take home exams so that all students could write in their respective time zone without having to get up in the middle of the night. But it was also different in other disciplines.
In general, I had the feeling that the UoE was able to carry out the transition to online very well and smoothly. The university also normally places great value on digitization; the lectures, for example, are all recorded and put online.
The University of Essex is the perfect place if you want to do a semester abroad in the UK. I met a lot of new people and made a lot of friends. Despite the short-term departure, the semester was one of my best experiences. I would like to warmly recommend the University of Essex to anyone looking for a semester abroad in the UK and wish them a lot of fun in Essex! Enjoy the time!