It was the best time to study I have ever had!
First of all, I would like to compliment MicroEDU. I got an appointment very quickly, was given the best advice and only had to take care of the bare minimum. This made the search for information and the application process extremely easy.
University of Essex
Essex is super specialized and prepared for exchange students. The Pocket Essex app proved extremely helpful. I mainly used the app to find my way to my classroom, to check lecture times and rooms, and to read emails. At the beginning you should check your emails daily. Important messages are often marked with an exclamation mark.
The tuition fees are enormous by German standards and you will be asked to pay them very early on. However, I can reasonably understand what the fees are used for. The on-site support is very good and fast, you can do a lot of sports for free and there are many green areas on campus for sunbathing, chatting and grilling.
What I find very disappointing are the tickets for the bus and train. German students are pampered with study tickets, this luxury does not exist in the UK.
The campus is a small mini-city.
On campus there are bars, restaurants, a small cinema, a theater, a small campus shop for groceries, a stationery shop with post and and and…
Every Thursday there is a small market on campus where you can buy fresh food such as fruit, fish and bread rolls. Of course, these things are a bit more expensive on campus, but the closest supermarket is a 20-25 walk away. You can also take the bus and pay 1.5 pounds there and back.
I chose the Houses, the main reason being the price and having your own bathroom. The houses in the North Courts are located directly behind the library, and the walk to the “cash desk” takes around 5-10 minutes. I shared a kitchen with five Erasmus students from Malaysia, Hong Kong, Peru, USA and Germany. I liked it there very much. I had developed an almost family relationship with my roommates. At the end of the day, we took turns cooking if someone was busy studying or just didn’t feel like doing it. We often sat in the kitchen for hours and talked to each other.
The rooms in the houses are not particularly large and only contain the bare essentials such as: table with lamp, shelf, swivel chair, wardrobe, bed without sleeping accessories (pillows, blankets, covers).
The car wash is outside (applies to all residential complexes), which bothered me very much. In order to be able to wash, I recommend adding a “Laundry Card”. You can buy it for 2 pounds and top it up online with PayPal. Washing costs 2.70 pounds and drying costs 1.20 pounds. At the beginning you can also pay with coins, but these washing machines are often defective or occupied.
According to jibin123.com, the towers are the cheapest, but you share a kitchen and two bathrooms with 14-16 students from all over the world. I found the sanitary condition of the communal bathroom and kitchen not as bad as I had imagined before the trip. In addition, there is at least one party almost every day on any floor of the Towers, which could be annoying. But you get to know a lot of people very quickly, you can cook international dishes together and travel together.
I had a lot of free time there.
As a master’s student, three modules give you your 30 credits. So I had a lot of time to try out all the sports offered at the university. You can find all the news from the university on this website:
Under “My Membership” you can see what films are currently running on campus, which parties are taking place when and where, which sports clubs there are, etc.
During the exam phase there are hardly any more sports activities, so I often went jogging. There is a path along the river from Essex to Wivenhoe for this, I highly recommend it.
How did I do there?
Essex is very international, I actually only know one “real” Englishman there. There are also very many German students at Essex University. At first I was very disappointed that most of the exchange students stayed below their nationality. So I decided to make friends with my fellow students.
The master’s courses in economics are very small, most of them knew each other from the first trimester. It was actually not easy for me to make friends. But the good thing about this university is that everyone is really very open-minded. After every mid-term exam everyone went to drink together and there is also a Facebook group for master’s students, where one person suggests something (such as renting a sports hall and playing volleyball or having a barbecue together) and everyone is invited. So make friends and ask if there is already a Facebook group and you can join!