How are you? My name is Marc, and I’m a student in my native England, you may remember our triumphant World Cup success in 1966 over the Wessis!
However, I won’t bash you mullet-growing, David Hasselhoff-idolizing Krauts anymore as I’m going to tell you about university life in my country. A life, where mornings no longer exist, discussions based on daytime television (yes, including talk shows!), a quick pint that leads to leaving the pub at closing time and keeping the local takeaways in business.
University here can also lead to creativity – the effort put in to avoid doing work, new fashion trends, when in desperate need to go to the laundrette, new recipes invented after a night out, and finding reasons to skip lectures.
Living on campus, which most first and final year students do, has its ups and downs. The luxury of being able to wake up 5-10 minutes before a lecture, and living close to the city centre for a reasonable price, but when the fire alarm is set off by a careless student in the middle of the night, the pyjama-wearing residents aren’t too keen whilst they wait for a couple of hours outside in the cold. Second year students usually live off-campus in the suburbs, about 10 minutes away by bus, with 4-5 friends, that they met in the first few months of starting university, as all the best accommodation is gone by January.
We have also been blessed by technology, social networking, for example Facebook, has allowed us to fill-in any gaps from the night before and finding out, what your classmates have been, up to with a few simple clicks of a mouse to look at the tagged photos. I don’t know how the previous generations have coped without!
Along with the weekly fruit and vegetable market on campus, students have to get in shape to work off their beer bellies and microwave dinners. The university provides a wide-range of activities with most students encouraged to join a society such as RAG (Raise and Give), dodgeball, extreme BBQ (having a bbq in cold conditions or on the roof of a building), a female football team or even German soc! There are societies and sports teams for all types of student, and allow people to make new friends, who share similar interests. I am also a big fan of our Live Music Society which regularly hosts concerts on campus and allows members to use the practice room after paying a membership fee of £10 (twelve euros). Volleyball is another interest of mine, and we get to practice once a week for a couple of hours at the gym situated on campus.
The night life in the city is also very good with a wide-range of clubs, and every few months the city has to embrace itself for the „pub crawl“. This is an English student tradition, where a large group of students (normally 200-300!) go from pub to pub getting student discounts before finishing the evening in a nightclub. Another tradition is pub golf, where a group of students visit 9 or 18 pubs, and they receive points, like in golf, depending on the number of sips used to finish their drinks. There is a ‘par‘ (limit) set for each pub and a hole in one is, when the student ‘downs‘ his drink in one go. Just make sure you don’t get lost when you spend your evening doing one of these activities!
Reading this letter may give you the impression, that us English students are lazy alcoholics, that don’t work very hard, and you’re probably right.
After a placement (studying or working for a year – putting our new found practical knowledge and skills to use), we discover, that we would rather work 9-5 than to face the pressure of the final year. I, myself, have just began this torturous year, where a day doesn’t go by without someone complaining about the amount of work or wanting to relive the „glory years“. Hopefully, we will be more organized this time round, not leaving essays until the last minute, and discovering, what the mystical building in the centre of the campus is… ah it’s a library, how does it work?!
There are a lot of exchange students here too, discovering England for the first time, and we try and make them feel at home as much as possible. We have ‘buddy schemes‘ (like the tandem system in Germany) for the exchange and new students, where they meet up with final year students, who show them round the university and the city.
I hope, that you enjoyed my letter about university life in England and maybe you’re curious about spending a term on Erasmus here.