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My Erasmus in Derby/UK

Derby (Image by A. Geldner)
Derby (Image by A. Geldner)

The University

Altogether there are about 30.000 students at the University of Derby. The main building of the university is located a little outside the city and there are three buildings near the city center. The main building is well connected to the city center via the unibus, which is free to use with the student ID card you get during the enrolling process.

The international student center organizes the induction week, also events and trips are organized by them. Additionally, you can book an airport pick-up service for your arrival.

The international community in Derby is quite big. Each term there is a team of ambassadors who organize some parties and events around the city. Their focus is on connecting international people with each other, answer questions, be buddies and explore the city’s nightlife together with the ‘freshers’.

My course was called ‘Child and Youth Studies’ and I had to choose three modules with a credit value of 20 each, which is equivalent to 10 ECTS. My three modules where:

  • Children’s and Young People’s Development

Lecturer: Helen Wilson

  • Working with Parents, Careers and Communities

Lecturer: Cleveland Thompson

  • Rights and Responsibilities of Children, Young People and the Family

Lecturer: Dr Marco A. Delgado Fuentes

To pass the modules, we had to write one essay for each module, I didn’t have any exams.

It is common to join one of the multiple societies or sports-clubs while you are at uni. The costs vary and depend on which club you want to join but usually it is not too expensive. At the beginning of every term, the clubs and societies present and introduce themselves at a fair and usually you can also enroll for a give-it-a-go session which is for free.

School Practice

I did my school practice at Ashgate Primary School, which is a public school. At the beginning of the term, we had a block-week where we went to the placement for a whole week to get to know the setting, the teacher and the children. After the block-week, I had to attend two days a week and my role was being a teacher assistant. I worked with small groups of students or individually with students who needed help or had to finish their work, as well as helping the teacher to prepare teaching material.

Compared to Austrian schools a day at school is quite different. School starts at 8:40 am and finishes at 3:20 pm with a one-hour lunch break and fifteen minutes playtime in the morning and in the afternoon. Almost every day the school has an assembly where different topics which concern the whole school community are presented or discussed, e.g. online safety, anti-bullying, certain official celebrations or memorial days, …

In every classroom, there is a smartboard and the teachers work quite a lot with it. The main subjects in year one, where the children are five and six years old, as English schools start one year earlier, are maths, literacy, phonics/letters and sounds. Other subjects are handwriting, science, ICT, physical education, personal social and health education.

Accommodation

I lived in a dorm and I shared my flat with five people. Two of them were Spanish and the other three English. We shared one big kitchen, a shower and a toilet. The room was fully furnished (bed, desk, wardrobe, washbasin). The university provided new bedding and basic tableware (1plate, 1mug, 1glass, knife, fork, spoon, teaspoon, bowl, small plate). I heard that private accommodation would have been cheaper. Nevertheless, there are some social events organized by the teams of the halls which are fun and once a week the flat is cleaned by a cleaning lady, which is an additional benefit when living in halls.

Information: http://www.studentlivingderby.co.uk/

The City

Derby is a nice city in the east midlands. Due to its location, it is quite easy to travel to most of the parts of Great Britain. There even is a small airport near Derby – the East Midlands Airport. You can easily get to Peak District, the National Park is a great place for hiking. In the city center, you can find a huge shopping center – the INTU Derby. Besides the shops, you can find a big food court, a cinema and a theatre at INTU. It wouldn’t be England if there weren’t a broad range of pubs, some of them offer special food nights or live music. Of course, you can also find some clubs in Derby which are usually well-frequented as there are a lot of students in Derby.

Angelika Geldner

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