Hi Georg, as part of the ERASMUS programme you have been studying with us here at POLIS, how have you found it?
Simply, great and reduced to three words: better than home.
Which University in Germany are you currently studying at? What is your BA programme?
I come from the University of Bonn and studied European Politics. Originally, I had no BA programme, as I came from a so called 4,5years Magister studies. This is a complicated system and this is why Germany gets rid of it. Following the Bologna process the only programmes will be BA and MA across Europe.
How is university life there different to here at University of Leeds?
In Bonn, there is no real campus. Hence, you do not meet fellow students all the time. I will miss this! On the other hand, Germany has so called 'academic quarters'. Lectures are 90minutes long and there is time to chat after a seminar, as you have 30 minutes to get to the next room–in Leeds you have to run. Bonn has no fantastic place like the Brotherton Library - a reason why I enjoyed studying way more than home. Many friends from numerous schools could meet for studies and have a break together in Parkinson and Opposite.
What made you decide to do study your particular degree programme?
Actually, I have two full majors: Politics and (macro-)Economics. These programmes are very wide in Germany. Having the opportunity to focus on the EU policy, my choice was clear. POLIS has several young and highly motivated lecturers in this field.
How do lectures at POLIS compare with back home in Germany?
This is a tough one.…I am the 'old generation' before BA. Some aspects might have changed towards the British system. The number of lesson hours at POLIS is quite small. I had to get used to the large amount of reading. Specially well prepared groups are way more fun at POLIS compared to random presentations in Germany.
Which modules did you take here at POLIS?
In the first term I visited as a guest Dr Simon Lightfoot's second level EU-module. It was so good that I changed a bit and swapped to Dr Charlie Burns' and Dr Simon Lightfoot's Environmental Policy classes. Professor Alice Hills helped me in Terrorism and Security improving my writing skills. Finally, the great discussions in Dr Michael Denison's Political Corruption let me forget any doubts about my English. The dissertation was a 'do-it-yourself' programme.
How has Leeds matched your expectations? How does it compare with home?
Leeds is growing and becoming a very modern place with a city wide architectural feature. At the same time there are small parks and green areas everywhere. This is really impressive. However, for me is Leeds not a 'real' city. There is the campus, there is the city and there is the place where the people live. I am used to having all gathered and mixed.
What have you enjoyed most about your time at POLIS?
The intensive communication with most lecturers. I was literally shocked by the openness for drop-in sessions, mails and even suggestions. Combined with the feedback POLIS gave me the feeling that studies are indeed an accomplishment and not the production of paperwork.
What would you say about the facilities in the School and at the University in general?
I love the Brotherton and Parkinson Libraries!! The campus is nice and what I do not get is, why there are dozens of loud 24hour clusters, but not one place you can read and study in a quiet environment.
What would you say to anyone on your course back in Germany thinking of coming to POLIS on the ERASMUS Programme?
POLIS gave me the great opportunity to finish a BA in one year. I had to show that I visited comparable modules back home and I was told that only my marks (120credits) in Leeds will count for the final grade. In some cases it might be worth the consideration. Overall, a great place to study, and in combination with the Skills Centre and more, a great way to learn the English writing style. Furthermore, no worries: the nice ladies in the undergraduate office will take care of you!
What do you hope to be doing once you graduate?
I want to work for the European Union or in a related organization. Obviously, the Commission is a dream and final goal.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
How do you define spare time? I have always many projects aside of the studies-I kind of enjoy it. At this moment I consider to open a page for international students going to Leeds. Otherwise, I try to spent most of the time with friends doing anything. I also enjoy sports and listening to music and generally keeping my thoughts flowing. You know, staring out of the window.
What are your plans for the future?
First, I have to finish my second major in economics on masters level.
Is there anything you would change about your time at POLIS?
Maybe move to the fancy building next door? The POLIS lecturers and the undergraduate-office helped me so much that I quickly understood what I was expected to do. The 'definition' of critical thinking differs, I say the POLIS definition is the right one…