My stay abroad in London in 2012
My name is Sandra and I am studying trade fair, congress and event management at Karlshochschule International University. In the 5th semester I had the opportunity to study abroad for a semester. It was not that easy to find a university that offered exactly what I am studying. In addition, the courses abroad had to cover the content of my courses at home. Many of my friends at the University advised me to me, MicroEDU.com to turn. They have contacts to various universities around the world and offer their help free of charge.
So I decided on the European Business School London and I can only recommend this university. The European Business School is part of Regent’s College, which has achieved university status since this year and is therefore called Regent’s University London. There are a total of 7 different “schools” including Regent’s American College London, Regent’s School of Fashion & Design and the London School of Film.
The application process was super uncomplicated. MicroEDU asked me to send them documents necessary for the application and once everything was complete it was sent to the university abroad. These documents also included the choice of courses. I have to say that it was a bit complicated as the courses are restructured every 5 years and I was lucky enough to be this year. The restructuring of the courses will not take place again until 2017. I have chosen the following courses: Business Strategy in Events, International Destination Management, Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Management, Contemporary Issues in International Events Management. Read more experience for studying abroad on Mbakecheng.
The conversion of the courses into ECTS points was included with the courses and the course description, so that one could orientate oneself well. I was not allowed to acquire more than 30 ECTS points for the semester abroad, as it is stipulated in the curriculum. Of course, that varies from university to university. I thought it was a bit of a shame that some courses were weighted so much because I couldn’t choose any more languages. Other important documents that were necessary for the application are a copy of your ID, European insured card, certificate of enrollment and a recent photo. In England you don’t necessarily need extra insurance if your health insurance is valid throughout Europe, but you can also take out additional insurance, which then also covers costs such as hospital stays, transport, etc.
In addition to the general information about the university, MicroEDU also informed me about the costs I have to budget for the period. It’s incredibly important. I speak from personal experience when I say I prefer to plan a little more. You know that life in London is expensive, but it’s different when you really experience it.
The communication between MicroEDU, the university abroad and myself was flawless and everything was very organized. As soon as MicroEDU accepted, I was billed for the tuition fees, which would then be paid in the following weeks. For the accommodation search, I took it into my own hands because life on campus was too expensive for me and all the places were already taken. If you want to live on campus, ask at least six months in advance how many places are available. I’ve fought my way through every forums on the internet to find something suitable and, above all, something affordable. Housing itself is the most expensive thing in England. Flat shares in the immediate vicinity of the university, which are only 1-3 stations away from Oxford Circus, cost an average of around 600 pounds, which is around 720 euros. It’s tough when you consider that you also need groceries and possibly a ticket. The food in London is also quite overpriced, especially in the “Express” shops that are often found in the city center. Better inform yourself in advance
If you decide to live further outside, as the rents are lower there, e.g. in zone 3, then you need an Oyster Travelcard. You can drive anything with it. As a student you are lucky enough to get a 30% discount, so you pay between 80-90 pounds per month for zones 1-3. Converted into euros, that is of course usury, but otherwise it is 120 pounds a month. If you opt for zone 2, you can also travel everything by bus and then there are tickets only for using the bus, which are a lot cheaper. But there is also the “pay as you go” option. You pay 5 pounds for the card (as a deposit) and then you load as much money on it as you need. Is a relatively cheap option if you live in Zone 1, as you cannot walk to everything there.
I lived in zone 3 and it took me between 45 and 60 minutes to go to university. Driving with the tube is really stressful at times, but you can live cheaper. My teacher at the university advised me to live outside, because in the end it is more profitable to pay less rent, but to have more travel costs. Personally, I would advise you not to live so far outside, because traveling every day is quite tiring with the changes and all the people who are crushing you. In England they say “keep calm and carry on”, but hardly anyone does it.
It is also very important to note who you are concluding a rental agreement with. I was with the Foxtons agency, which is pretty well known for charging a fair amount of money for its services. The processing costs alone were already 350 pounds (+ 20% VAT) and there is a 6 week deposit, so that you get a shock first. You don’t get the key for the apartment earlier than on the rental entry date. You also have to pay attention to who exactly is responsible for the apartment. Chances are Foxtons may or may not be in charge of housing. In the second case, a private landlord usually comes into force and he is also your direct contact. In general, I can say that our landlady hardly had a clue about her job and that in the end it was all about money. We were persuaded to sign the contract for a longer period of time and since we left the country earlier, we had to pay a fee because we terminated the contract early. In the end, our deposit was withheld and it was a long back and forth, because no one had a clue and one was repeatedly expelled. So only make the contract as long as you really want it.
The housing market in general is a bit critical there, because everyone wants to live there and that’s why they can charge such high prices. Just take care with whom you make a contract and in any case don’t make the mistake of depositing a large amount of money somewhere just to reserve the apartment. The easiest way is to look for an existing flat share. For the first few months I lived somewhere else with my girlfriend, she was a private person and went away for a while, so her apartment was empty. That was still the best, because there we had no problems with landlords, agencies or bail, since the main tenant was responsible. Both apartments that we had were 1 room apartments or so-called studio flats. My girlfriend and I paid between 750 and 800 pounds, which was one of the cheapest. In addition, the apartments in England are often furnished in a very old-fashioned way, for example we had no extractor hood in one of the apartments and the insulation was generally poor, so that we also had mold in the apartment. This is of course not generally the case, but just look at everything carefully beforehand and check out the basic things.
My semester was in the period from September 3, 2012 to December 21, 2012. The first week at the university was of course the introductory week, the so-called “Induction Week”. When I got there, I was incredibly impressed and I immediately had the feeling that I had chosen the right university. We all met first and then there were lectures on various topics, for example class schedules, absenteeism, exams, use of university facilities such as the library and access to WiFi. The university area is in the middle of Regent’s Park and looks just traditional English. Lots of green areas, lots of opportunities to take breaks outside of the university and also to do some sport.
The days were well designed with varied programs such as rallies, barbecues and general come-togethers. The rally was a good opportunity to get to know the big city of London and you saw things that you previously only knew from television and newspapers. The impressions were incredible, because everything is just huge and the city is overcrowded with people from all over the world. It is rightly said that London is the world capital. You really have to get used to it first, but after a while you will find your way around. The most famous sights include: Big Ben, Westminster Abby, Tower Bridge, London Eye, 10 Downing Street and Buckingham Palace, but of course there are a number of other “must-see lakes”. The Tate Museum, right on the Thames, is very popular as there is a lot to see and it’s free. It is near the National Gallery and Tower Bridge. I went to the museum and enjoyed it a lot, although I don’t usually go to the museum that often. I was there for a total of 6 months and in principle I think that the time was far too short, because I think I only saw 30%. Inquire in advance what there is to see and then you can plan your stay accordingly.
As I said before, I was very happy with my choice of university. This is largely due to the modules and teachers. So I had very competent and professional teachers and the modules were very well structured and well thought out. I learned a lot this semester and in England you are also lucky that your English is perfect. In addition, the teachers were all very helpful and everyone really organized their lessons in a variety of ways. An excursion was planned in one of the modules and I had the opportunity to get to know the city of Edinburgh and the surrounding area for 4 days. Of course it wasn’t completely free, but the money was worth it, I think I paid 240 pounds. The whole trip was designed around event and destination management and was organized by some inland students. I really enjoyed it there and I can generally only recommend that you take the time to travel to cities outside of the city. Brighton is an absolute MUST. Located 1 hour by train from London and is known for great beaches, promenades with unique shops, beautiful piers that resemble an amusement park with carousels and candy stands and the Brighton “Wheel”.
To draw on the helpfulness of the teachers, I want to tell you about a stupid mishap. So my exams were in December, when my semester also ended. I was just before my last exam and wanted to study a little more. I went to the exam room, but nobody was there and I hadn’t seen anyone else from my class. Yes, that’s how it happened that I missed my exam because I mixed up the date. I was pretty panicked because there is basically no possibility to rewrite an exam. I went to one of my teachers and he helped me a lot and said there will be a board meeting to decide what happens, there is no way I failed. I always tried to perform and that of course had an effect on that because he knew it wasn’t my intention. Since I extended my stay, I wrote down in February and that was it. The dates for the various exams are posted in the hallway, and I have to admit that I found it very disorganized. It was just a huge list and you searched forever for the date, place and time of the individual exams. With regard to the rule that exams cannot be re-written, there was a change this year, because the general failure rate was sometimes quite high and it meant that you had to repeat the entire semester. The rule has now been abolished and you can rewrite the exams, but of course with restrictions. You can find answers to this topic and general questions under the following link under “FAQs”: http://www.ebslondon.ac.uk/studyabroad/undergraduate.aspx.
I think this report has given you some impressions and I hope it helps you to choose the country and the university. Good luck with your search and have fun planning.