London – Royal Holloway, University of London

Reasons people went to this university/place

  • Location: Proximity to London, but the university is located in a charming small town (lots of restaurants and pubs), shops on main street (Tesco’s, Budgens, Sainsbury’s), larger towns like Windsor & Staines nearby Virginia Waters, a huge park set around a giant lake can be reached by foot from university campus
  • Course choice: offers lots of courses from the Romance languages department, film studies, as well as English Literature courses; I got into more courses than I actually needed; all of my courses were incredibly interesting and well prepared, tutors were extremely friendly and always available during office hours
  • Facilities on campus: Facilities on campus are awesome: there are two libraries (soon a third library will be finished), Bedford Library is very modern, many reading rooms, you can borrow laptops there for free for a whole day, it is open 24/7; Founders library looks like it might feature in a Harry Potter film (the beautiful Picture Gallery apparently really did!). There are so many places to eat or grab a coffee on campus, all different, but charming (e.g. Imagine Café, serves Starbucks coffee, sushi, you can sit in giant deckchairs, and the way it is furnished is so creative and stimulating). And lastly, just have a look at Founders Building – it is like living in a castle!

Recommended semester to go there

  • If possible, definitely a whole academic year. Otherwise, I would recommend the autumn term because everyone is new then, and people only start getting to know each other.

Before going there

Accommodation experiences

  • I rented a private room with a young couple because it was rather hard to find accommodation for just one term. If one stays for the whole year, it should be rather easy to find a shared flat. Otherwise, there’s always accommodation on campus, which are (apart from rooms in Kingswood, because they’re located 20 min. away from campus) really nice. Rather expensive (525 pounds/month, bills incl.), very well equipped, no problems whatsoever with my host family, good location (right behind Tesco’s, which is a 15 min. walk from campus)

Special items to pack

  • Adapter for the UK

How people who went there handled their finances

  • Apparently it is cheaper to simply withdraw money at an ATM in England than exchange it back home – I didn’t open a bank account, but actually brought a quite large sum of money with me and then occasionally withdrew money at the ATM – worked perfectly

University Information

Rough semester schedule

  • Autumn term: starts mid-September, ends mid-December
  • Winter term: starts in January, ends in March

Holidays during the semester

  • at the end of October, there’s reading week and no lectures (good for travelling around) students have one whole month off from the last week of March till the last week of April

Number of ECTS the university expected former exchange students to do

  • 18 ECTS

Course restrictions and when the university informed students about those

  • There is no linguistics department

Did the university actually offer the classes students originally planned to do?

  • Yes, every single class was offered

Recommended  courses/modules

  • Creative writing: Structure & Style (aimed at English students, NOT creative writing students) was extremely interesting, especially because RHUL is renowned for its creative writing department
  • Contemporary Britain: Government and Citizenship was also very interesting, as politics, economics and current issues (obviously Brexit when I was there) were reviewed and dealt with

Exam period

  • Mid-December

How exams look like

Important deadlines

  • Yes, university is very strict about deadlines. You can hand in a first draft version of your essay that you get back with feedback.

Other information

Recommended restaurants, cafes, bars, shopping centers, etc.

  • Bar 163, The Crown (very nice pub), The Red Lion (pub), The Happy Man (more down-to-earth pub)

Recommended secret spots in the city/town

  • Virginia Waters, Magna Carta park/walk near the Thames

Recommended day trips

  • University organizes lots of day trips, around 15 pounds, including return bus fare (e.g. Cambridge, Bath); otherwise Reading is close by, obviously London, Christmas market at Winchester

Recommended places or events to meet new people/make new friends

  • RHUL provides so many events to meet new people. There is a Welcome Week before university actually starts (including a petting zoo, jigsaw challenges, movie nights etc.) for free. Also there are more than 100 societies on campus which are mostly run my locals (language societies, Harry Potter society, travel society, fashion society, Lord of the Rings society, creative writing society, comedy society…) and they all present themselves during two consecutive days at freshers fair
  • Another great way of getting to know other people is joining a sports club (there are so many different ones, ranging from rugby, football, horse riding, polo to swimming, yoga, cheerleading and volleyball)
  • There’s a global café one a week, for exchange students (lasts 2h, free biscuits, tea & coffee)

Public transport offered in the city/area of the University

  • There’s a bus going from the local train station of Egham to university campus (ca. 7 mins.); Train station in town – direct train going to London Waterloo, 1 change to Victoria Direct trains & buses to Windsor, Staines
  • You can get a 16-25 rail card that gives you a 30% discount on every single train journey – does pay off if you travel a couple of times to London already
  • Buses are quite expensive. However, if you want to travel to the North (Leeds, Edinburgh, Newcastle, York, Birmingham etc.) there is a bus company called Megabus that offers immensely cheap tickets!

Other recommendations

  • The Students Union organizes lots of events on a regular basis, as well as the societies and sports clubs themselves (it won’t get boring). There are two places to go clubbing on campus (the SU and Medicine).

Is this University the right place for me?

You should spend your semester/year abroad at this university or place

  • If you don’t need to do any linguistic courses
  • If you feel comfortable living in a small town
  • Because there is no linguistics department
  • Because Egham offers everything (except for a bookshop and a cinema, but those are located in Staines, a town next to Egham) – but Egham is a small town. Campus is great, there are lots of facilities, but it is not comparable to cities such as Manchester or Edinburgh. However, it takes only 40 mins. to go to London, so you can benefit from lots of cultural offers there as well!

You should not spend your semester/year abroad at this university or place

(all information provided is based on 1 filled out questionnaire)