Application / preparation
A stay abroad is compulsory as part of my studies, which is why I thought about my semester abroad at an early stage. Planning started about 1.5 years earlier. It was clear relatively quickly that I should go to England. The biggest hurdle in choosing a university was definitely finding the right courses. During my search I came across the organization MicroEDU, which I can really recommend. In the end, I chose York St. John University, as there are many compatible courses there for my degree, York has a beautiful old town and its central location makes it the perfect starting point for further trips.
Application and apartment search
The application process was straightforward, as MicroEDU sends you all the documents and supports you with everything. The language certificate was straightforward, you just needed a proof of the university that you are enrolled in a completely English-speaking program. I sent the application in September and the acceptance came in October. Then you had to choose your courses. For each course you also choose a substitute course, which you can discuss in advance with the respective professor at your home university. Then in December you had to choose your apartment. All international students are accommodated in the student dormitory in their first semester. Here you could select between “Limes Court” and “The Grange”. I chose “The Grange” because it was a bit cheaper and closer to the university and the old town. I liked “The Grange” a lot. My roommates (from Malaysia, England and America) weren’t the cleanest, but luckily there was a cleaning team who cleaned the common rooms once a month. The room was simple but had a desk, bed, closet and sink. Kitchen utensils should be brought with you as best you can, as the shared apartments are not well equipped and most people have their own pots, pans, etc.
The rest of the application was then completed in January. Unfortunately, you had to transfer the tuition fees and most of the rent in advance. So there are quite high costs, even though financial aids such as BAföG or PROMOS are not yet available.
Study and free time
The first week at YSJ is an orientation week for all international students. You get your student ID and take care of other organizational matters. There are also introductory evenings and city and campus tours. After you have settled in in the first week, the lectures start straight away in the second week. You only take three subjects at the university and there is a lecture and a seminar for each subject. The timetable looks pretty empty and you really have a lot of free time. I only had one event a day. In addition, it is common in England to write more term papers than exams. I only had homework for my subjects, not a single exam. Even if the requirements of the professors sound quite overwhelming at the beginning, the workload is similar to that in Germany. However, one is expected to teach oneself a lot by reading articles and books. The semester is generally very short. In April I had a three week Easter break to travel to Scotland. I also had the last two weeks off, as there is actually the exam phase.
At the YSJ there are many different societies that you can join. There are many sports such as football and rugby, but also societies for different areas of interest such as psychology or singing. I chose boxing, which I really liked. In this way you get to know people other than international students. I also used the university’s gym, which is very inexpensive.
There is also a lot to do in York itself. The old town offers good shopping opportunities and there are many good restaurants and cafes. Almost everything in York is within walking distance, but there are also good bus connections to get around the area. The city is also very well connected by the railway network. In just over two hours you can be in London or Edinburgh, Leeds is only about half an hour away.
Overall, I really enjoyed my semester abroad at York St. John University. With the help of MicroEDU, the prep process was relatively straightforward. I can recommend a semester abroad and especially YSJ University to everyone.