An Experience Raport of doing Erasmus Program with University of the West of Scotland in Paisley Campus for Master Program
(Msc. – Finance and Accounting)
Preparation (Planning, Organisation and Application to the host university)
It was way back in April of 2017 where I started to begin my application for studying with University of the West of Scotland (UWS) which operated its orientation day in the beginning of September. It seemed that I had a plenty of time to prepare. Nevertheless, it was not for me who I am an Indonesian citizen, non-European passport holder, treated different from other students who are European passport holder. Although I already hold an English certificate of level C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, which was issued by Hochschule Bremen, I had to do IELTS-test with minimum score of 6.0.
To be honest, it was stressful for me, because not only I needed to submit my IELTS-test result to UWS, but also I must apply for my UK student visa. In order to obtain the visa, I must first acquire an unconditional offer letter from UWS (or Letter of Acceptance) which was issued when all relevant application documents (e.g.: a reference letter from professor, IELTS-test, signed Learning Agreement, health insurance, flight ticket, accommodation, etc.) are already completed and well-organized.
5 months for preparation felt like a tight time. I was forced to be more active in searching information regarding accommodation, in visiting international office of Hochschule Brandenburg to inform them regarding my application and in communicating cases regarding my application with UWS. Nevertheless, checklist from international office that was given to me was really help for preparation, planning, Organisation and time-management. I recommend for those who decide to choose UWS as their host university to follow all the instruction listed in the checklist. For those who has status like me as a non-European passport holder, you should join its IELTS-test which can be prepared minimum a month before the real exam. This is a recommended link to prepare your IELTS-test for free: https://www.edx.org/course/ielts-academic-test-preparation-uqx-ieltsx-1
After your application documents are completed and you acquired an unconditional offer letter from UWS. The next step to do, you would process your UK-visa application. In general, it would take minimum a month to obtain your UK student visa. Furthermore, you should not forget to have contact with your Erasmus coordinator in UWS, Mr. Nondas Pitticas, here is his website: http://www.pitticas.eu/. He was responsible for all Erasmus students and organized orientation week. It was my fault that I did not know him after I arrived in UWS, so that there was some misunderstanding in the system of UWS. Thus, I recommend you contacting him if you are planning to do your Erasmus program with UWS. In his website, he put all relevant information especially for new student who are coming to UWS.
During your study at UWS, you need to remember your “Banner-id”, shown in your student card, used to login for Moodle and for having access to timetable or to use copy machine at library. Fortunately, first time I am registered as Erasmus-student, I automatically received 10 pounds credit to use printing and copying machine.
Thanks to Moodle, it provides us many access to the email, learning materials, and student timetable which should be frequently opened to check which room your lecture will be held.
During my stay, I lived at student accommodation “Storie Street Residence Paisley” located right at the heart of Paisley Campus, with easy access to teaching facilities, the Students’ Union and Paisley town centre. Each flat is occupied by four to six students in large en-suite bedrooms with a shared kitchen and lounge area. The residence also has a social space with a pool table, two large screen televisions, games console and vending machines. There are coin operated laundry facilities, 24 hour security and CCTV. The Storie Street residence offers comfortable, furnished accommodation at competitive rates. I paid my rent £99 per week for an en-suite study bedroom. Moreover, I felt comfortable living there because when I arrived, I did not need to buy anything for my room or for the kitchen because each flat is equipped with: Oven and hob; fridge and freezer; microwave; kettle Set of pans; cooking utensils; crockery pack with cutlery Iron and Ironing board; vacuum cleaner; Mop and bucket; dustpan, brush and sweeping brush. In addition, each private en-suite bedroom already had Storage bed and mattress; Large workspace with sockets; Wardrobe and storage space; En-suite shower room; Bedding pack including duvet, pillows and bed linen. I would say it was so much helpful for me. Nevertheless, there is a drawback that became my stay less comfortable which is the alarm. Its alarm was quite annoying because it usually rings every Friday afternoon and it was so sensitive with small smoke.
Experience during studying at UWS
During studying at UWS, I had a great experience and met three good lecturers who support my study and answered my questions. I was registered for 3 different courses (Strategic Financial Accounting, Strategic Financial Management and Strategic Management Accounting). Some topics were already covered in my first and second semester with Technische Hochschule Brandenburg (THB) so that it felt not so hard for me to follow all these courses. Nonetheless, I still learnt new topics there which were not taught at THB but taught at UWS so that it enriched my knowledge about finance and accounting.
Regarding the learning process at UWS, we tend to have two liabilities for passing the courses. First, we had to write an academic essay (ca. 1500-2000 words) for each course. Then, in December, we would face our final exam with its duration of 3 hours of each exam. Nevertheless, we would be given a learning phase for about a week to prepare our final exams where there might be no lectures during this exam phase. Nevertheless, lecturers would prepare us to face their final exams. They might provide us some previous exams as learning material to face the final exam.
Unforgettable moment during my study at UWS was my group work which consisted of 4 persons including me where I was grouped with two friendly Scottish students and one student from China so that I could have experience how to discuss some cases or issues with local students and could learn to understand their Scottish accent which is a bit hard to understand. But it was interesting and had a great team work.
Daily Routine and Leisure
Not only learning or studying I spent my time during my Erasmus program. Fortunately, student life in my student accommodation is very active. They organized many events such as shopping at IKEA, Halloween Party, Welcoming Party and Exploring Scotland. When you are arrived, they would organize various event with affordable price for students to make us feeling comfort and enjoying our Erasmus program there. My student accommodation is located actually not far a way to Glasgow city center. I could take McGill Bus from Paisley to Glasgow city center for about 45 minutes and with showing my student card it costed me only 3.50 pounds for multiple journeys. Unfortunately, I never tried its train. It is probably faster than bus. There are a lot to see in Glasgow. They really have good architectures. The buildings look very historic, magnificent, and old. In Glasgow you can visit Necropolis and Glasgow Cathedral which belong to must-visit tourist place. If Glasgow city is not enough for you to enjoy Scotland, you can take Megabus, which usually offers 1-pound ticket in the UK, to Edinburgh, St. Andrew, or you can also travel to Liverpool or London from Glasgow.
To conclude this report, I would say, I am glad to be a part of UWS and I would love to recommend for those who might be curious with Scottish education, Scottish accent, Scottish people, and Scottish nature. Paisley and Glasgow are very interesting city which has beautiful places for their tourists. I really enjoyed with my Erasmus program there and had a great time with my flatmates and my fellow students in UWS who came from various countries. Nevertheless, I had the things that I did not like during my Erasmus program there where your presence is very important in each meeting. You must tap your student card when the lecture begins. In order words, if you cannot attend the lecture, you have to send email to your lecturer.