My decision to come to the University of York, quite frankly, was a bit random. At the last minute, I went into Clearing and called York without much hope of getting a place for PPE, yet I happily discovered that they had places saved for students with all A*. So I got to study in one of the best universities in the country for PPE, despite my poor initial application method.
So far I am very pleased with York. From an academic point of view it is of course very interesting and intellectually stimulating. But the special thing about UK universities is the whole social experience that comes along with it. It’s not just a bunch of lectures and seminars, it is an amazing social exposure to so many faces, backgrounds, personalities and aspirations.
I like the freedom of studying here in which I can choose to prioritise what I do. I can spend two weeks studying almost only one subject and then not look at it for a month, according to my own priorities and timing. You do not have regular sit-down assessments on my course, just exams twice a year which allows you to be that flexible.
Studying here in York I really enjoy the nights out, the friendliness of the students, the camaraderie and the sense of belonging to a genuine student community.
York is the perfect size for me; not too big yet there are still quite a few nice things to do and places to go. Walking around The Shambles and discovering the myriad little welcoming pubs. I love the overall friendliness of the people here.
I am always surprised by the propensity that people have to queue religiously. No matter what the weather. No matter how absurd or useless the queue might be. It cracks me up every time.
My worst experience since I’ve been here was tasting Marmite, thinking it was honey. Hands down my most painful culinary experience! Also there is an administrative hassle for everything. To work, to volunteer, to do sports, to open a bank account, for health care, insurance, you constantly have to go through countless administrative procedures.
If I had to give some advice for international students coming to study in the UK it would be to socialise primarily with British students. Do not seek out students from your own countries or international students. For me, it’s really important to assimilate to the British culture.
For all of that I still miss a few things from home: decent food and comfortable, affordable trains.
Francois is 20 and came to the UK right after his French Baccalaureate. He studies Philosophy, Politics and Economics