Newcastle University describes its mission as follows (excerpt):
- to be a world-class research-intensive university
- to provide teaching and learning of the highest quality
The former is easy through the national and international rankings and a member of the Russell Group , an association of the sixteen research-intensive UK universities , occupy. I would like to shed some light on the second point in this first section of my report.
A big plus point of the university is undoubtedly the effective organization . Even before they arrive in Newcastle, students are informed of their upcoming study visit by post and email. This information includes a manual for international students, a brochure from the faculty or school, and a program brochure (for the respective degree program ). Enrollment takes place via an online portal prior to arrival. Once the online enrollment is complete, you will receive a printout with a barcode authorizing you to pick up the Student SmartCard, which can be used as a student ID, library ID, copy card, door opener in the Sports Center, etc.
According to Top-Engineering-Schools, an International Welcome Week takes place one week before the start of the semester in autumn, during which numerous information events on topics related to studying and living in Newcastle are offered. You can also use this opportunity to make first contacts with students from all over the world . Fresher’s Week also takes place during the first week of the semester. This is annually organized by the Student’s Union and includes a varied program of activities that serve to get to know and of course fun, especially should. The Fresher’s Week wristband costs £ 50 once and entitles you to participate in any number of events, such as the amusement park, the daily parties, paintballing, pub crawls, sushi, and much more.
Immediately after the beginning of the semester, all foreign students are required to take a UELA test (University English Language Assessment), regardless of whether they have already taken another test prior to applying . The UELA is only used to classify listening comprehension and academic writing style in three skill levels: students with level 1 should take the additional free English courses, students with level 2 are free to take part in these courses and students with level 3 should not take any of these courses need. The courses take place once a week for the entire academic year . Furthermore , each student becomes a professor as a personal tutor assigned to which you should make a brief presentation within the first few weeks.
In general, the student body is very international . In my course, the fellow students came from England, Germany, Russia, Greece, Cyprus, China, Mexico, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Turkey, Taiwan, among others. Many Chinese students can be found in the business school in particular. The Postgraduate Taught Programs usually include lectures and seminars. All events do not start before 9 a.m. The proof of achievement is mainly provided through assignments during and exams at the end of the semester; However, it can be said that the performance records are well distributed over the semester. Non-native speakers are allowed to take an uncommented dictionary with them to the exams. The examination regulations are generally very strict, in addition to the usual regulations regarding plagiarism and collaboration, for example, only certain pocket calculators are allowed to take the exams (http://www.ncl.ac.uk/examinations/RULES.htm).
Furthermore, Newcastle University offers a wide range of services related to studying. Membership in the university’s Sports Center costs £ 160 per year (Gold Membership) and entitles you to use numerous sports fields and the well-equipped fitness suite. If you want to take advantage of this offer, you should remember to bring a padlock for your locker in the Sports Center. The Careers Center offers job fairs, presentation evenings from well-known cooperating companies, placements in internships, support in creating a résumé, etc., in order to enable the smoothest possible transition from studies to professional life. The Writing Development Center offers help with the writing of academic texts, for example through presentations or proofreading. Also, the university owns an excellent library, which is normally open until midnight, and even 24/7 during the exam phases. The library has several computer clusters, generous quiet work areas, group work rooms with a projector, bistro, and much more. fitted.
If you want to avoid spending a lot of money on textbooks, you should also get a library card from Northumbria University, the second large (but much worse-ranked) university in the city. This makes sense because the demand for books is very different there and you can borrow the books for 2 times 4 weeks (online extension possible). In the library of Newcastle University, borrowings are sometimes only possible for one week and popular books are often out of print. To register, it is sufficient to present a SCONUL Card, which is available in the library of Newcastle University on presentation of the SmartCard, at the library of Northumbria University. For the sake of completeness, it should be noted that there is a third public library in the city, the City Library,
2. Living in Newcastle
Before arriving in Newcastle, it is possible to apply for various university-owned student residences. However, due to limited capacities, an accommodation guarantee is only available for Erasmus students and non-EU students. That’s why during my year abroad I lived with a Canadian and a Greek in a private student flat-share in Fenham . Because of my visits to student dormitories, I can tell that whether you want to live there is a matter of taste. In general, it is very noisy – especially where the undergraduate partying non-stop – and I have also classified the cleanliness as inadequate for my needs. Furthermore, this accommodation is relative expensive. On the other hand, the choice of dormitory is of course the right one for those who want to make as many new acquaintances as possible as quickly as possible. In addition, some postgraduate student residences are offered, where things should be quieter and more orderly overall. In finding accommodation in the private sector, which can next quarter recommend :
- City Center (optimal location, practically everything within walking distance, but very expensive)
- Jesmond (very nice but expensive student district with many popular bars and pubs, campus within walking distance)
- Fenham (no metro connection but good bus connection, not particularly nice but very cheap, mainly foreigners, no bars and pubs, cheap shopping)
Sandyford, Heaton and Gosforth should also be recommended. Byker and Walker as well as remote areas are definitely not recommended. Pure student apartments or shared apartments are also exempt from the (very high) council tax.
Most of the shared apartments are already furnished. The following are recommended for purchasing other home furnishings:
- Wilkinsons (supermarket for home items, everything you can get here, you should buy here too, the prices are unbeatable low)
- Primark (for bed linen and other textiles)
- TJ Hughes (electrical appliances)
The bills for ancillary costs (water, gas, electricity) can – in addition to the conventional payment options – simply be paid in cash at one of the numerous PayPoints. If you want to watch TV, you also have to get a TV license, which can be had for around £ 150 per year. The mains voltage in England is just as high as in Germany, but an adapter is required in order to be able to use our German electrical appliances. In addition to the adapter, it is advisable to bring a German multiple plug with you, as these are not available in England.
It makes perfect sense when looking for an apartmentthe proximity to a cheap German supermarket (Lidl or Aldi are available) should be included as a selection criterion, since the large English supermarket chains (Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, etc.) are extremely expensive. A reasonably priced English supermarket alternative is Netto’s. The highest quality products (especially meat, cheese, wine, etc.) and the best advice can be found in the Fenwick department store and at Waitrose; There you can also get “real” bread, which cannot compete with the German, but was urgently needed by me as a “substitute” (one year of white bread is certainly unthinkable for many). For drugstore items, we recommend the Boots chain, whose large branches have “practically everything” and also act as a pharmacy (also for prescription drugs). For stationery, Wilkinsons and WH Smith are recommended. Classic department store chains (comparable to Karstadt) are Debenhams and John Lewis.
For mobile phone and internet contracts, an English bank account is required. If you live in the dormitory (DSL included) and want to use a prepaid card (Pay As You Go), you can do without an English bank account. In this case, you can apply for the free Visa card from the DKB in advance to withdraw money free of charge (including a free current account). If, on the other hand, you would like to have a cheap term contract (minimum term: 1 month or 12 months) or live in private accommodation without inclusive internet, you have to apply for an English bank account at a local bank. Since this takes a while, you can initially use a Pay As You Go SIM card. In my opinion, the best Pay As You Go plans are available from Virgin. These also include 1GB of Internet per month, so that you can bridge the first month without DSL with the help of a smartphone capable of tethering (tethering = use smartphone as modem). In England, in contrast to Germany, tethering, Voice over IP (e.g. Skype) and instant messaging via smartphone are permitted without restriction. A good tethering app is, for example, Easy Tether. For landline calls to Germany, it is generally advisable to buy Skype credit, as the cost via Skype is only 1.5p per minute. Sending 100 free SMS per month to Germany is possible with sms.de.
To open a bank account, you first have to make an appointment. It is advisable to arrange this two weeks before arrival in England, as a lead time can be expected. Choosing a bank is less complicated in England than in Germany, as cash withdrawals can be made free of charge from the machines of almost all banks (these machines are marked with the words “free cash withdrawals”). Barclays has by far the best branch network in Newcastle, whereas the service at Lloyds TSB is probably a bit better. In addition to a valid identity card, you must bring an address verification (e.g. utility bill or letter from the university) to the appointment. It is essential to make transfers from Germany to England in pounds sterling (not in euros), i.e. the conversion should be done at the German house bank, otherwise one could realize large losses through a poor exchange rate of the English bank. In addition, it is important to ensure that you receive a debit card (no savings account card or similar, this has limited functionality).
After the bank account has been opened, you can take care of a term contract for the mobile phone as well as the internet contract. By far the best smartphone contracts are available from Three Mobile, the fastest DSL is available from O2.
Example smartphone contract with Three Mobile:
Minimum term 1 month, basic fee £ 10, including 100 minutes per month in all networks, 2000 minutes for three, 1 GB Internet, 3000 SMS
Upon arrival, the university is obliged to register with a general practitioner (GP for short). Once registered, all doctor visits are free in England. You can also register with a dentist. I decided not to do that and instead went to the dentist in Germany beforehand. You can also use the dental emergency service at the Dental Hospital without registering.
3. Transport links and excursions
There are direct flight connections to Newcastle from Germany only from Düsseldorf (Lufthansa) and Hanover (Flybe). In addition, the flights for these connections are very expensive. That’s why I’ve always preferred to fly to Manchester, which has a direct train connection to Newcastle. If you book early, this is very cheap. To book the flights, we recommend the website www.skyscanner.de (price comparison of all airlines). Instead of specific departure and destination airports, you can simply enter the departure and destination countries in the search and find the really cheapest prices. To book trains within England, visit www.tpexpress.co.uk. It is also advisable to take a portable luggage scale with you, as some airlines charge dearly for excess baggage. For short visits to Germany, it is worth buying a light hand luggage trolley with the maximum permitted size, as the low-cost airlines charge extra for checked baggage.
The rail system in England is very good and the tickets are especially cheap if you book them early. Tickets can be booked online up to 12 weeks before departure (see address above) and then picked up from a machine at the train station. If you plan to travel a lot, a “16-25 Railcard”, which is available for £ 26 and is valid for one year, is worthwhile. A train ride to Edinburgh, for example, takes around 1.5 hours and to London around 3 hours. The customer service for rail travelers is excellent, in the case of delays of 30 minutes or more, half the fare will be reimbursed, and the entire fare for 60 minutes or more. There is also a seat guarantee. Also interesting for friends of city trips are the offers from Ryanair, which fly to many European cities from Newcastle at low prices.
Cheap hostels can be booked across Europe via www.hostelbookers.com for a small down payment. My best city trips were London, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Dublin. There is a very good bus and metro system in Newcastle itself. Driving the bus takes a bit of getting used to at first because you have to find out which line goes where. We therefore recommend an intensive study of the overview maps that can be viewed online). The buses have to be stopped with a show of hands, otherwise they just drive past. The large number of bus providers is also confusing. The largest provider on site is Stagecoach North East, so if you rely on the bus, you should get the “Unirider Ticket” (student rate) from Stagecoach. It should be noted that the bus tickets of one provider are not automatically valid for other providers. For the issue of Railcards, Unirider, etc. you should bring a set of passport photos with you to England.
4. Leisure time
Newcastle has a lot to offer, boredom is actually impossible . In addition to the university’s sports facilities already mentioned, there are numerous attractions here. The centrally located St. James’ Park stadium is home to the Premier League club Newcastle United FC. In addition to attending a game, a guided tour of the stadium is also extremely interesting. Art lovers will also get their money in Newcastle , as the city has committed to the closure of shipyards and coal mines of art. The Theater Royal offers musicals from all over the world in a great atmosphere, for cinema fans a visit to the Tyneside Cinema is recommended.
Nice day trips are for example Alnwick Castle (known from the Harry Potter films as “Hogwarts”), the beach and lighthouse in Whitley Bay (a good spot for surfing) or the picturesque Lake District in the northwest in spring / summer. Newcastle is also famous for its attractive nightlife . Especially on Fridays and Saturdays, the city center is jam-packed with partying people who have fun in the numerous pubs, bars and clubs. Digital, for example, is one of the best nightclubs in Europe where well-known DJs meet. Not least because of this, young people from all over England come to Newcastle every weekend to celebrate! In addition, the English are very fashion-conscious, excellent shopping opportunities make every shopper’s heart beat faster. There are two large shopping malls: Eldon Square in the city center (150 shops) and the Metrocentre in Gateshead (over 340 shops, largest mall in the EU). There are many great things here that are not available in Germany, so you should leave some space in your suitcase!
Even those who like to eat will not miss out: Close to the campus you will find the world’s best sandwich bar “Frankie’s and Tony’s”, where you have to wait in line for the pavement during the lunch break. Another hot tip is the Turkish restaurant “Red Mezze”, where you can get excellent food for relatively little money. Most pubs offer a Sunday roast (classic British food) for lunch on Sundays, which is also not to be sniffed at.
Some good pubs:
- Crown Posada (one of the oldest pubs in town)
- Wetherspoon’s (pub chain, very tasty food and cozy living room atmosphere)
- Crow’s Nest
Some good bars:
- Tokyo Newcastle
- Spy bar
- Bar 42
- Madame Koo’s
- Quilted camel
Some good clubs:
- The digital
- Tiger tiger
- Cosmic Ballroom
- World Head Quarters
5. Statement of costs
During my year, I had the following monthly costs on average :
- Rent £ 260
- Additional costs
- Water £ 8
- Gas £ 13.50
- Electricity £ 14
- DSL £ 5.50
- Household (food, drink, cosmetics, etc.) £ 130
- Cell phone £ 12
- Bus £ 25
- Sports Centre £ 13
- Pocket money £ 160
- TV License £ 12
- TOTAL £ 653
In addition, there were one-off expenses for home furnishings, flights, city trips, gifts and clothing. Additional costs are understood as one third of the total additional costs (3-person flat share).