My winter semester 2011/2012 is at York. St John University and MicroEDU was a great help with my application. The only hurdle was a Toefl test of at least 79 points (IBT), all other required documents (e.g. overview of grades from the home university) were easy to organize. The email traffic with MicroEDU and the staff of the International Exchange Office at York St. John University was also very quick and uncomplicated.
On the homepage of York St. John University, according to educationvv, you could find out about the modules offered and choose your desired courses. Participation in the desired courses is not guaranteed, but in retrospect I cannot think of a person who was / was not able to participate in a course that he / she had specified in the application documents before the semester abroad.
Within the first week (orientation week) you also have the opportunity to swap your modules / courses. This possibility was also used by many students, so that long queues formed in front of the drop-in rooms, but several people could no longer change their courses. I was lucky enough to be able to swap two of my three courses, but shouldn’t be relied on.
During Orientation Week you are not left alone at the university. Most of the international students flew to Manchester to come to York. On the day of arrival, buses from the University of Manchester Airport drove to the university in the morning, at noon and in the evening. (I think the tickets cost about £ 10)
In general, I would recommend people from the west of Germany to look around for flights from Jet2 (Düsseldorf Airport to Leeds / Bradford Airport) and Ryanair (Düsseldorf Weeze to Leeds / Bradford Airport). If you search and book directly on the websites of the two flight providers, you can come to York for a significantly lower price. From Leeds / Bradford Airport you can take a regular bus (I think it was route 757) to Leeds Bus Station. (approx. 30 minutes) Once there, you can take the Coastliner buses to the main train station in York or, if you want, almost directly to the front door if you live in Limes Court. (Approx. 1 hour drive and a total of between £ 5-10)
In the first week you are almost inundated with information and events. Something takes place every day, with some events being compulsory (e.g. the welcome and information event by the International Exchange Officers).
Everyone receives several welcome gifts, including a British cell phone card with which the students could call each other free of charge. Almost everyone has used this cell phone card, which was pretty handy. Throughout the campus, several university employees and senior students were available to help with directions or other concerns. An information event about the various and diverse societies and clubs of the university took place in the sports hall during the first week. You can join the football, volleyball, tennis, badminton, rugby, dance and boxing club etc., but there are also societies such as sign language, theater, climbing, cheerleading and a big band. Each week there is a meeting / training session for the respective clubs.
A one-time fee is usually required for membership of the clubs and societies. This can vary from £ 2 to around £ 25. Membership allows you to take part in official university league games or trips organized by the individual societies. Outside of the club’s training hours, there are also regular meetings and then you go to a pub together, for example.
The university also organizes various trips during the semester. One had the possibility to go to Whitby, Lake District, Newcastle, Manchester, Lincoln Christmas Market or to take part in an organized bonfire festival. These trips cost £ 10-15 and you were taken there by bus from the university. Personally, I think the trips to Whitby and the Lake District are highly recommended, but trips such as Manchester or Newcastle can just as easily be planned independently with trains. In terms of price, it is almost the same or you pay even less and you can determine the return journey times yourself.
You should get a railcard if you want to travel around. You pay £ 30 one time if I remember correctly and then save 1/3 of the total price on every train journey. (and that pays off quickly)
I myself was accommodated in the Limes Court dormitory. It is set up like a small bungalow park, with about 30 houses lined up next to one another, about 15 minutes’ walk to the university. As far as I’ve seen, the houses are all set up the same way. Five students each live in one house, two on the ground floor, three on the upper floor. Each floor has its own bathroom and a large kitchen is on the ground floor. The student rooms are furnished, relatively small and have their own internet connection, but there is no WiFi in the student dormitories.
At the beginning you have to organize everything yourself more or less, there is no cutlery, crockery, saucepans, clothes hangers, towels, etc. All of this is cheap to buy in town. (Boyes, Sainsburry, Asda and Barnitts are good places to go for this).
Large washing machines (£ 2 per use) and dryers (£ 1 per use) can be found in the caretaker’s building of the condominium. The caretakers come to each student residence once every two weeks to clean the kitchen, hallway and bathroom, but not the student rooms.
Visiting is officially allowed for two (or three?) Nights, but as long as no roommate in the house objects, this is not a problem. Our house was at times full of visitors who stayed with us for several days in a row.
At the beginning of the semester it was sometimes noisy in the nights at the student residence, as there were parties in and around the apartment buildings. The further the semester progressed, the quieter it became.
Every student has to choose three courses, a fourth language course (Spanish, French, Japanese etc.) can be taken for around £ 80. Most courses take place once a week for 90 minutes. The course and lecture content and the latest news about the courses can be found on the Internet learning platform “Moodle”. (Eg lecture cancellations, deadlines, etc.) In several courses you also have to upload your theses (essays) to this platform and after a while you will also find your results and feedback on the submitted work there.
The courses are often quite small (approx. 20 people) and the lessons are interactive and look very schooled, which means that cooperation is valued even if there is no grading for cooperation during the lesson. The lecturers always have an open ear for the students if they have any questions; Overall, dealing with the lecturers is more relaxed than I know from German universities, where you have to make appointments to discuss something with lecturers. The grading system goes from 0-100, whereby you have to reach at least 40 points for an exam to be considered passed. Exams that have been passed with 70 or more points are considered very good performance.
The city of York is a really beautiful little city. The city center can be reached within 2 minutes from the university. The city center is enclosed by an approximately 5 km long city wall and there are countless cafes, pubs, restaurants, snack bars, fashion stores, museums and sights in the small, winding streets. There are artists on the streets, the markets with fresh food and other items are always well attended and festivals such as the York Food Festival, the cinema weeks or a film festival take place regularly. On Sundays the shops are also open until the afternoon and on weekends the city is almost always flooded with tourists.
York is a bike city, get one, it’s worth it. You get used to traffic on the left very quickly. There are several shops that sell used bicycles (e.g. at Bike Rescue I saw some from £ 40-50 upwards) or look for a bike on the website http://www.gumtree.com/. Got a very good bike for £ 30 on the website. As soon as you’ve got yourself a bike, buy bike lights and a lock. (e.g. at Halfords or bring it from home), because the police will definitely stop you if you drive in the dark without lights.
All in all, I really enjoyed the semester abroad and can only recommend the university and York.