London, UK: The University of Westminster: Thanks for that mind-blowing time! (by Frederike)

My semester abroad ended in the middle of December. Now I’m already six weeks home and still miss that fantastic time. The stay in London was characterized by new experiences, lifelong international friends and stunning road trips – memories I will never forget.

View from the Sky Garden

The last month of university was honestly a bit stressful. We had to submit different assignments and had to learn for the final exams. Luckily, we just had to write one final exam, because normally exchange students have to do some alternative assessments in January which can be uploaded online. However, the final exam, we wrote in international project management, was quite easy. We had one month time to do some research about the project “London Olympic Games 2012”. In addition, our lecturer organized a field trip to the Olympic Village in order for us to gather some real impressions. Finally, we were able to take a sheet of paper with all the important information in the exam, so one can hardly fail.

In January, I had to submit two alternative assessments. In both assignments I had to answer a few theoretical questions and a case study. Since we got the tasks a few weeks before the due date, we had lots of time to answer the questions. All the answers could be found in lecture slides, so it was quite easy to get a good grade as well.

Field Trip: The Olympic Village

Besides the university stuff, my friends and I had still many things on our “London Bucket List” which we wanted to experience in our semester abroad. So, I spent my free time in museums, we had never visited before, tried out new food (I’m in love with the original Chinese duck which you can order in China Town) and strolled around some Christmas markets. Unfortunately, German mulled wine is much better than the British one….. Especially during the Christmas seasons many tourists visit London to go Christmas shopping or admire the Christmas lights. Thus, you have to expect that the city will be even more crowded than usual.

The living situation in the student accommodation (Marylebone Hall of Residence) got more familiar from day to day, I am really missing that.
At the end of the semester, we were like a little multicultural family.
We spent many evenings together, cooked different meals, drank some wine or beer and played some games. Contrary to my expectations, I mainly met other German speaking people, actually more than half of the residentials came from Germany or Switzerland. Since we do not live so far away from each other, we were able to meet again in January. Many future meetings are planned.

The Education Abroad Team of the University of Westminster organized a farewell gala for all of the exchange students, which was a great finish to review the whole semester. A day after my last lecture I left the UK and drove home for Christmas. Since the room in the hall of residence must be rented until the mid of January, you have the possibility to stay one month longer or come back for New Year’s Eve or something else. Most of my friends didn’t want to come back in January, so I decided to stay at home as well. But I know of some people who stayed there to watch the great firework  at the London Eye at New Year’s Eve or made a 14-day road trip with a rented car through the Scottish Highlands.

Ice Rink at the Natural History Museum

All in all, I really felt in love with London. It is still a huge part of my life and shall will always be. I can really recommend  spending the semester abroad in London. To be honest, the University of Westminster is a little bit unorganized and you spend lots of time with self-learning, especially in the mid and at the end of the semester you need to focus on your studies. However, as you can read above it is quite easy to get good grades. In contrast, the city itself is stunning. It is of course not as exotic there as in New Zealand or Australia, but  it is still a very different culture with many faces and possibilities. You can’t compare London with a large city in Germany, you will experience the city in a completely different way than when you spend your holidays there.  I’m glad that I spent my semester abroad in London and I’m already looking forward to my next visit.

Sadly, this is my last blog entry. I hope you could gain some honest impressions of my stay, which might make your decision regarding your own semester abroad a little bit easier. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. :)

Enjoy your semester abroad no matter which partner university you will chose. It will be great!

Cheers,

Frederike