It is mid-September 2016, the suit cases are packed and we are going for 4 month to the ‘sunny’ Bolton in England. What do we do there? Study – and more. And why?

We, Sabrina Herrmann and Katrin Zimmermann, study Industrial Engineering at the Corporate State University in Stuttgart, Germany, and wanted to complete our fifth semester abroad. Sitting in the plane on our way to Manchester thinking about the upcoming time, we are hoping to establish contacts, to improve our language skills, to discover the country we are going to study in, and of course mastering our study in another language.

The truth is….

… looking back now, it was not as expected.

Within the offer of Erasmus funding program we decided to visit the University of Bolton in the Northwest of England – and we didn’t regret it. Bolton is a well-structured city next to Manchester and not far away from cities like Liverpool or Blackpool. In Bolton you can meet people from all over the world, who really do justice to England’s great reputation of extraordinary cordiality. The University of Bolton offers a multi-faceted academic landscape from Arts, Media and Languages, the School of Business and Law up to Engineering, Sports and Sciences, and even more. This is the optimal University for us Industrial Engineers, as there are provided both technical and business modules. To cover our German learning contents, we have to take four modules in England. Every single module extends over three hours per week – welcome to the ‘normal’ student life.

So, as you can see the learning culture in England is less expressed by being present in lectures but rather by writing essays and assignments. In the beginning it was quite difficult for both of us to write five scientific assignments in a foreign language, which requires significantly much more time and effort than many might think. Also the examinations at the end of the semester are very extensive and should not to be underestimated.

But the truth is as well…

… we didn‘t just came to learn theoretical study contents, but to discover and experience the foreign culture, the mentality, the language and the country. Fortunately we had time for that, of which we made intensive use.

Therefore our exploration tour on the island was energy-sapping however, it was an incredible experience. Trips to Ireland, Scotland, Wales and of course in England to national parks or cities of cultures (?) became the common weekend program.

For instance, we travelled on a long weekend to Dublin for 10 pounds. Our hostel with an 8-bed-room in town is a good and sufficient accommodation for students – especially since we are constantly on the move anyway. So without further ado we participated in two day tours across Ireland, which left us astonished at the breathtaking environment of this country. A guided city tour has obviously been a must, to we learn something about the historical and cultural backgrounds of the country and the cities we visited. But the greatest of all these trips are of course the people. In Bolton we met lots of people that we can happily call our friends now and with whom we share plenty of nice and unforgettable moments, adventures and memories. The other students in Bolton came from all parts of the world; from China,Cyprus,Europe and South America. Thus, it is very nice to know, that there will always be several doors open for us from our new friends from all over the world. But during our time in England also close friendships were formed to other German students who live close to our hometown or are spread all over Germany.

We, Sabrina and Katrin, are deeply grateful for this experience that shaped us academically as well as personally. Now you know the truth about studying in Bolton and now you know that an experience like this can only be seen as a profit for you, your children or your friends – whether you chose England or any other country in the world. So if you get the opportunity to experience something like that, brush aside all your doubts, take to your heels, pack your bags and hurl yourself into an adventure! No risk, no fun.

We would like to thank MANN+HUMMEL for the support, the Corporate State University Stuttgart (DHBW) for the coordination and Erasmus for the financial sponsorship. We will never forget this incredible time and we will always keep it in best memories.