Jenny is currently studying abroad with us from the University of Augsburg in Germany and reflects on her journey to get to us!
As I filled in my application for my semester abroad in Autumn 2020, my home country Germany was about to go into lockdown again. To be honest, the chances that I would actually make it to London seemed slimmer than winning the lottery (and I don’t even play the lottery). But here I am, at Queen Mary in London, unfortunately without having won the Jackpot, but equally happy.
When I arrived at Queen Mary, everyone welcomed me with open arms. Thanks to the Global Opportunities Team and their welcome events, I made some amazing friends from the very beginning. If you feel like you have the time, I also highly recommend getting involved in a student society. I decided to join the sustainability group Green Mary and enjoyed taking part in their canal clean-ups and other volunteering opportunities. As a linguistics student, I was also over the moon to hear about the Speaking Practice Project and immediately signed up as a German volunteer. It has been lovely to chat to German learners at Queen Mary during those 30-minute speaking sessions and the project is also a great way to get to know British people! Of course, those are just some examples of extra-curricular activities at Queen Mary – the list of activities and student groups is endless (although there is only so much that you can do in 24h).
I’ve been going on and on about how great Queen Mary is, but I think it’s equally important to consider the many advantages of living in London. Having lived here before, I might be a little bit biased, but I’ve been talking to a lot of friends about this, and everyone seems to agree: London is fantastic! While you’re here, try and catch some of the countless plays and musicals (most surprisingly affordable!) in the West End, go to Victoria Park near campus on a sunny day or escape the British rain at one of the many free world-renowned museums.
Even when you are busy with assignments, you can always go to the British Library or Senate House Library for a change of study space. There hasn’t been a day where I didn’t find something exciting to do in London. And if you ever feel like you want to get out of London, there are so many great places you could visit in as little as a day: Oxford, Cambridge, Dover, Brighton or Windsor – just to name a few.
In the end, my semester abroad has been an incredibly enriching experience for me, both academically and personally. I am so thankful that I was given the opportunity to study at Queen Mary and highly recommend the university to anyone who considers embarking on their own study abroad adventure.