University and accommodation
I have taken three courses (almost no one takes more! I only had eight hours of uni a week, but the workload for home is generally much higher in England than in Germany!). Two level 2 and one level 3 module. In World Englishes, a linguistic seminar (+ lecture), I had – in addition to the texts to be read – to write a “blog post” of 500 words on a specific topic for five weeks. At the end of the semester there was a 1500 word essay. For my creative writing, in the (Poetry) course, for the weekly three-hour workshop, I always had to write a poem under different criteria and at the end write a 5000 word portfolio. The Level 3 course (Shakespeare) was the most time consuming. We have read five of his works + secondary literature, we should write various blog posts and two essays. But we also worked very well with the materials . If you want, you can learn a lot!
My fellow students were always helpful, interested and open . However, you have to take the first step yourself, because especially in the modules that are not beginners’ modules, people have known each other for two or three years and tend to stay in their groups. The lecturers were also friendly and always approachable. The relationship between students and lecturers in England is much more relaxed and not as rigid. Here you also address each other by their first name and if you have a reasonable reason for submitting the essays too late, this is usually not a problem at all. However, attendance in all courses is compulsory. If you can’t come, you have to fill out a form stating the reasons for the absence and send it to the Head of Programs.
I lived in Limes Court with three French women and one German. We had two bathrooms and a large kitchen. There was internet access via cable. If you wanted a television, you had to register it and pay fees. The rooms are quite small and noisy. Sometimes the heater does what it wants. I bought a little fan heater for £ 5 from Boyes (you can get almost everything cheaply there!) That quickly blown heat into my little room. If you would like to receive visitors, there is definitely room for a normal air mattress. Actually, you are only allowed to have visitors with you on two nights a week. But nobody really checked it. 😉 Everything you needed in the kitchen you had to buy yourself. However, the university came to meet us with a starter package in which the essentials for the first night were packed. A cleaning lady came every two weeks to clean the kitchen, bathrooms and hallway. Washing machines and dryers are available in Limes Court. Washing costs £ 2.20 and drying costs £ 1.20. In the small room under the stairs, every house even has an ironing board. Irons can be borrowed.
According to USPRIVATESCHOOLSFINDER, a smaller supermarket can be reached in just a few minutes. There you always get a 10% student discount with the NUS card (you can apply for free online). Large supermarkets like Sainsbury’s or Morrisons are a 15-20 minute walk away. That’s how far it is to the university and the city. I bought a used bike from Recycle York that I got along with really well. You quickly get used to left-hand traffic. 😉 York is also a very bike-friendly city.
Country and people
The English are generally very friendly, helpful and courteous . Here you apologize if you are the one holding the door for another person. “Thank you”, “Sorry” and “Excuse me” are at the top of the list! The British are very fond of standing in line. It is not uncommon to see endless queues at the roadside waiting to get on the next bus – 15 minutes before the bus even arrives! In such queues people enjoy talking to their fellow human beings. Even in the evening in the club, people were usually very interested in small talk , but nobody was intrusive.
The local dialect is sometimes a little difficult to understand, but after a short time you get along with it. Should you be in England in the winter semester and spend Christmas or even New Year’s Eve in York, you should know that no rockets are detonated on New Year’s Eve. At least not within York by private individuals, but rather planned by an organization outside the city. At midnight you gather here with 3,000 other people at the minster, wait until the time comes, scream “Happy New Year” and then go home. Real fireworks are more likely on November 5th. The British celebrate that 400 years ago the king was not murdered. The Royal Family can also be found on cups, plates, forks, etc. in the souvenir shops.
York is very well connected in the transport network. If you have worked your way through the beautiful York Castle Museum, the Dungeon, a ghost walk (the Shambles is the best!) Or the Minster, you can get to Manchester, Liverpool, London or Edinburgh within two to two and a half hours . However, you should book the train tickets early. The closer the date gets, the more expensive the prices become. If you like to travel a lot (the Lake District is definitely worth seeing ), you can buy a 16-25 Railcard. With the every price is reduced by 1/3. The Railcard itself costs £ 30, but it definitely pays off in the end. Traveling is particularly useful during Reading Week in November. The Uni also organizes a day trip to one of the surrounding cities for international students once a month for £ 15 .
York has many nice pubs that serve typical British food and which often have live bands playing. Afternoon tea can be had at almost every corner; also fish & chips. As long as the weather is still nice, you should definitely take a walk over the city wall. Overall, it didn’t rain as much as I feared. But definitely buy a rain jacket. In my experience, when it actually rains, it is usually too windy for a small umbrella. But with the weather, as a fellow student told me, you can also be very unlucky. Two years ago it was icy and slippery from October to February.
In the evening, any day of the week, you can either go to the Student’s Union at the university or to one of the clubs, which are all quite close together in the heart of the city. The latter often offers free entry for students. There is something for every musical taste . Especially on Halloween the clubs are full of British people in disguise. This should not be missed. And even if there is a lot to do for the university, that shouldn’t keep you from taking what you can with you.