Hi, my name is Magda Bereza and I am currently in my final year at Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) where I am studying International Environment and Development Studies.
This past semester I was lucky enough to be able to study in Norwich, England at the University of East Anglia (UEA). What an enriching and inspiring semester it was!
Norwich is a charming little old town with many quirky pubs and cafes.
The city center has lots to offer and is just a short bus ride away from campus.
I was initially inspired to do an exchange at UEA because I read that the university runs a renowned international development program. I was not disappointed, my classes were excellent!
From day one I was inspired by my professors who were engaging and passionate about what they were teaching. I took three courses during my exchange, Communication for Development, People and Place, and a beginner’s Spanish course. Since my degree is in ‘International’ Environment and Development I wanted to incorporate a language course into my studies. Both my grammar and oral teachers were wonderful, and the intimate class size allowed me to learn more Spanish than I thought was possible in the course of three months. The other two courses caught my interest because they offered a new perspective in the field of international development which I was unable to explore at NMBU. It was a delight to be able to add to the foundations I have gained at NMBU, and expand my knowledge even further. I felt more confident in my chosen field of studies when I saw concepts I had learned about at NMBU reappearing in a UK institution.
I really enjoyed exploring new dimensions within international development such as the complexities of health and health inequality, and the role of media in development. I have gained a lot from these courses and I hope to take what I have learned into my final semester at NMBU and beyond. Academically school work at UEA was demanding. I felt as though I was constantly in the library working on a group presentation, paper, studying for an exam, or reading for class. Though demanding, it was also very rewarding. An element which was new and refreshing, and which I really appreciated, was feedback. Despite the classes being quite large, professors gave detailed feedback on coursework and exams in addition to a mark. This way I knew what I did well and what areas I needed to improve in order to get a better grade. In this sense teachers were very supportive of their students. With the positive feedback and encouragement from my professor, the blog I wrote for his class was published online.
I was ecstatic to find out that UEA had superb sports facilities. Thus, in addition to my studies I was very engaged in football during my semester abroad. I was very happy to make it onto the women’s university football team. Playing with the UEA Women’s Football Club (UEAWFC) allowed me to play lots of football, travel around England a little bit, and allowed me to meet some really great friends. It was through playing football that I was able to get a taste of the English culture, and engage in social activities after class.
This semester abroad gave me a breath of fresh air, a new perspective within my studies, and a new perspective of myself.
I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity. For anyone who is studying
international development and who is interested in doing an exchange abroad I highly recommend experiencing what UEA has to offer.