Tessa Divendal visited York St John in 2018. In this blog post, Tessa talks about her experience of the city and the University.
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My name is Tessa and I was a Dutch exchange student at York St. John’s for the first semester in 2018. Before this, I was already stoked to go, since I had visited York with some friends during summer vacation and couldn’t believe my eyes at how beautiful this city was. I highly recommend taking a day or an afternoon to just walk around the city centre and doing one of the ghost tours. Especially with people you know are afraid of ghosts, it’s hilarious. One of my fondest memories is walking down towards the city centre to get to the university from Limes Court, where I was staying, and watch the early morning mist around the cathedral in the distance. I consider this a personal surprise, since I’m a night owl.
Since I studied English Literature and Society at my home, I chose three subjects that both coincided with that, as well as my own interests and career aspirations. At first, I figured there wouldn’t be too much of a difference in teaching between my host university and my home university, but instead, there were still quite a number of surprises. The teachers and discussions held in my classes in the Netherlands tend to have a very direct nature and , sometimes even making some students quite uncomfortable. In contrast, the classes in my host university, always tried to make sure everyone felt included and the teachers went out of their way to create a friendly, open environment. This attitude can also be attributed to York St. John University as a whole. Within the introduction days, it was made clear to us where to go if we had a problem of any kind and that there would always be someone willing to listen to what we had to say. It created the feeling of a very safe environment.
Like I said before, I resided in Limes Court for the duration of my semester. This is one of the established courts where students of the university can be accommodated. It looks very cosy, with brick houses and patches of green, and has its own resident cat. The cat passed the houses every once in a while and would sit by the window until you gave him food before moving onto the next one. It seemed to have taken a liking to the house I was staying in, or the people, because he would often sit on the fence by the kitchen window and call out when I walked by. It made my day. My room was also on the ground floor, so I could often see squirrels jump around on the grass patch behind the house. However, the best thing was probably the people I ended up living with. They were wonderful, sweet people and we grew extremely close. The four of them even have their own place now I believe, so they could continue living together, and I was pretty mournful when I had to leave them.
All in all, it was a great experience and hope I can soon return to both the city and the people I left there!