I had planned a stay abroad since the beginning of my bachelor’s degree, but couldn’t really integrate it into my ongoing psychology studies. That is why I decided to take a year off between my bachelor’s and master’s degrees and during this time to take two trimesters at the University of Essex, which was very suitable for this because it offered master’s psychology courses on the one hand and great conditions for international students on the other.
MicroEDU helped me a lot when choosing a university, as I initially came up with the idea of studying in Australia, which would have been unaffordable for me. So in March 2011 I contacted MicroEDU and we selected the university within a week and they sent me an overview of what I had to put together in order to apply for Essex. These were the application form, two letters of recommendation from lecturers at the university, an overview of my grades (all in English, of course) and, after the first acceptance, a list of my preference for living and proof of my solvency. This whole process went very smoothly and did not cost me more than 15-20 hours of time, but I was also very early with my application.
So I went to this stay abroad with little knowledge, but it didn’t cause any problems. Two weeks before my arrival, shortly before Christmas, I received the promise that I would be accommodated in the North Towers, more precisely in Tawney, and whether I wanted to accept this room. This apartment wasn’t my first preference, but if I had turned it down I would not have gotten a room on campus, which meant that I would live in an apartment with 13 other people and we would have 2 toilets and 2 showers and a kitchen will share. I dreaded that a little.
So I arrived in Stansted late in the evening on January 11th (the airport is closest to the university) and took a shuttle bus to the university that for some unknown reason takes 2 hours. There I got off Valley Road, as I was previously recommended, and stood in front of the huge and at first very confusing university complex without a plan. After wandering around the corridors below the university for half an hour and already having serious doubts about the whole undertaking, I found a very nice young Englishman who was employed by the university and who took me to the security office, where I got my key card got. Since with my 20 kg backpack and wandering around for half an hour I must have looked a bit disturbed and quite tired,
When I arrived I wasn’t very happy at first. My roommates hadn’t yet returned from their Christmas vacation, the hallways were very narrow and my room strongly reminded me of a prison cell, painted white, sparsely furnished. And I didn’t get on the Internet either. On the one hand it works with a network cable, on the other hand you have to log in on the first page that appears, I didn’t know that (but it was really uncomplicated – I could have done it;))
I know the first few lines don’t sound like it’s going to be a nice stay, but wait and see!
The next day in the light I looked out of my window and I had a really nice view of the countryside, then I crossed the area and found that you can really find everything there: restaurants, bars, supermarket, bank, gym, tennis courts , really everything except a cemetery (and everything is within 10 minutes walking distance) – A really nice experience if you have never studied at a campus university before. The university staff were also all very helpful and you could compose and change your schedule as you wish, I felt in good hands during the whole time and MicroEDU was also kept as a contact person!
In the next few days I got to know many of the other internationals in the organized introductory events and a solid group quickly formed that lasted until the end, and my roommates came in (very warm and open people), half of them from England and the other half was mixed from Romania, India, and Germany. One of my roommates also moved in the week I arrived and she happened to be from Germany, so of course that connected quickly and we spent a lot of time together. So friends were quickly made and it was really never boring, as many parties were celebrated (also gladly in our flat), people went out or drove away for the weekend. Of course, all this sociability also has its disadvantages. If there are 25-30 people in your kitchen every evening, it’s noisy, it’s dirty, the toilets aren’t clean and one or the other breaks into the sink. You also have to get used to regular fire alarms, then you stand in front of the door at 5 am in the snow for 15 minutes. But all of that was part of it and made the stay something special.
According to iamaccepted.com, the courses themselves were very well organized, there were about 10-15 people in the seminars and the lectures were recorded so that they could be listened to again afterwards. Good grades are easy to achieve with a little effort and you can quickly come into contact with the teachers. I rate my stay in Essex as very worthwhile and didn’t want to miss the experience!
Have fun and enjoy the time!