From mid-September until mid-December I spent an Erasmus semester in Derby, Derbyshire, England. The city has around 250.000 inhabitants. The university I studied at was the University of Derby, located in the suburbs of the town.
It comprises different institutes located at different campuses. However, all of my classes were held at the main campus. All campuses can be accessed via the free unibus that runs on a regular basis. The university is home to around 18.000 students.
The classes I have taken were:
- Children’s and Young People’s Development
- Thinking Creatively
- Physical Activity and Health
Each of the modules are worth 20 credits, which is equivalent to 10 ECTS in Austria. The first two modules were taught at the Institute of Education, the third at the Department of Human Sciences. Children’s and Young People’s Development and Thinking Creatively were marked on a written assignment. The lecturer was approachable and one could always ask her for support. Physical Activity and Health comprised theoretical as well as practical input of the lecturer. In general, I can argue that the lecturers were very supportive and competent in their subject matter. In addition, I showed my interest and commitment and thus, gained a lot of new insights into different areas of the academic world. What is more, the library is worth mentioning as it is free to access, modern, provides crucial resources for the coursework and is equipped with many spaces to study including PCs all over the place. I enjoyed studying in a quite atmosphere.
I tried to make the most of my semester that is why I joined several societies and sports clubs. I have to admit that my studies at Graz are more demanding than the workload in Derby. In particular, I am talking about the time having to be present at the University plus assignments. I was part of the University Staff and Student Choir, who meet once a week and practice for performances at the University as well as in Derby town. In addition, I enrolled into the Climbing Sports Society and competed professionally in the BUCS Woman’s First Volleyball League. It was a pleasure getting to know new people at the societies as well as new coaching methods. Also the city of Derby provides interesting free time activities. One can not only enjoy the wonderful theatre performances at the Derby Theatre, but also Derby quod has regular exhibitions and a cinema. Apart from the ones I joined, there are a myriad of other societies where one can have a go. Their presidents are happy to answer any questions at the Fresher’s Fair, which takes place in the first week of University.
Link to the numerous societies and sports clubs offered: https://www.derbyunion.co.uk/getinvolved/
Also in the first week, the International Student-Centre, which is the go-to address for any queries one should have on their semester abroad, organize multitudinous events to meet new people. They also offer trips around the UK. I visited Oxford, London, Liverpool, Nottingham, Manchester and Matlock.
Link to the International Student Centre:
During my stay in Derby, I stayed at a student accommodation close to the city and the University. It was rather expensive and old. I lived together with six girls, which is a lot. I did not enjoy this part of my travel, thus this is the only negative point I have to raise in my whole time abroad.
Link to the accommodation provided by the University:
‘I read, I travel, I become’ (Derek Walcott. This is and was my resolution for my time abroad. Don’t underestimate the workload, however don’t let it take up all your spare time you could use for travelling around and gaining knowledge about different cultures, cities and people.
Author: Kerstin Schmid.