Our grantees| Matyáš Jirát| Study abroad in the United Kingdom
4. December 2019 Matyáš Jirát

Study abroad in the United Kingdom

Great Britain… In my last blog, I have compared studies in the USA and the Czech Republic, but the UK is still one step above in world-renown education. This autumn I had the possibility to study at the University of East Anglia and I would like to share my experiences as compared to the United States of America.

Winter, but without snow. Sun? I have seen that burning star maybe a week and a half from the entirety of the Fall. Presumably, everybody who I have ever asked about the UK the answer is always the same. The weather sucks. But until I have experienced it myself, I never understood how much it sucks. The only thing which helps me is to drink at least 2 litres of tea every day. Suddenly I understand the stereotypes about Brits much more, although I am usually against stereotypes. But… sometimes they are based on truth.

It is very interesting to change from the classroom of 7 (professor included) to lecture theatres with 55 people (professor excluded). From the viewpoint of education, it is a diametrically different style that must be done. It is quite interesting to watch and compare. The question which I pose myself almost every day is: “How would this topic be taught in the USA? Or the Czech Republic?” Not always I can find an answer, but surely it makes my brain cogs rotate a bit faster.

Living and accommodation distinctively differ. In the USA most universities have a big campus with a cafeteria (or multiple), where nearly everything for you is taken care of. Therefore, the study requirements are higher, as we have more time to fulfil them, even though this might be school dependent. I definitely see the difference in work as large. Due to it, in the UK I have more time, but it slips between the fingers quickly, due to cooking, laundry or commuting. But I truly enjoyed cooking for myself. Great experience, having home-cooked food always ready is incomparably better than just whatever is today in the cafeteria. On the other hand, time is limited. Advantages and disadvantages everywhere.

Bennington is a tiny university with around 1000 students. However, UEA has around 15 thousand students! The choice from a variety of clubs, activities, and societies, their equipment and financing are simply in another league. Even from my short stay here, I could try scuba-diving (second from the right, if you don’t recognize me under all the equipment) and windsurfing, which were both great. At the same time, I could head to Cromer, where we cleaned a beach from rubbish or visit Brighton, Canterbury and White Cliffs of Dover. Of course, no trip to the UK is complete without a visit to London a from there I did a small trip to Stonehenge. Travelling was enriching and beautiful.

Overall, I would recommend Study abroad (or Study away) to everybody. Whether it is Erasmus or another way, I think, it is great to pop your own bubble of friends and family and head to the unknown. It is an experience which anybody who undergoes, will tell you it was worth it in the long run.

All the best,

Matyáš

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