A Winter Semester in Northern Ireland: Living the Ulster Life

One of the last pictures I took of Ulster University (Photographer: Rebekka Nötzel)

Having just returned from a semester abroad, I’ve had a chance to reflect upon how lucky students of TU Chemnitz are to be able to take advantage of the Erasmus+ Mobility and other study abroad programmes. Because I’m taking English and American Studies, my fifth semester was set aside for a semester abroad – which I completed at Ulster University in Coleraine, Northern Ireland..

I remember how nervous I was about my time there before the semester officially started, but everyone there made sure I felt right at home. However, during the first week or so, I was amazed at just how different things were at Ulster University. Lessons were longer than at TU Chemnitz – some classes were about 3 hours long and required a lot of participation from students. There were graded midterm exams, which have been rather rare in my time at TU Chemnitz. Additionally, after the first sessions, teachers didn’t expect me to call them Mr or Mr. so-and-so; instead, we switched to a first-name basis.

“The Rock”, where iCafe took place (Photographer: Rebekka Nötzel)

Another extreme difference was the active role a group of students played in hosting the international exchange students: there was iCafe, which took place every Monday evening and consisted of a different theme/activity each week; Coffee & Chat, which occurred every Wednesday afternoon to offer students a break from the strenuous hours spent at the library trying to complete assignments and researching; and several trips organised by the Chaplaincy.

“The Rock”, where iCafe took place (Photographer: Rebekka Nötzel)

Overall: my time at Ulster University was amazing – not just because of the gorgeous landscapes, but because of the people and the international department there. It was all possible because of the Erasmus+ Mobility programme, which has a rather straightforward application process. As a student of English and American Studies, I was also required to apply directly at the English Department; all the information regarding that (for other English and American Studies students) can be found here: https://www.tu-chemnitz.de/phil/english/iaa/erasmus/erasmus_outgoing.php

Furthermore, I had to go through the process of applying at the Erasmus+ Mobility programme with the International Department (or IUZ). The following page offers general planning guidelines, although Mr Sachs and the staff are always forthcoming and ready to help if anyone has questions:

https://www.tu-chemnitz.de/international/outgoing/erasmus/auslandsstudium.php#bewerbung

Speaking from my own experience, I can only recommend going abroad for everyone, even if you aren’t in the English and American Studies programme. It’s such a rewarding experience, and it’s so great to represent your home university somewhere else. Plus, you’re able to experience an entirely different culture, make new life-long friends, and improve your language skills!

 

Rebekka Nötzel

(Bachelor British and American Studies, 5th semester)

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