Sabrina Witzlau

Germany, Modules in Architecture whilst on exchange

“Brookes has a very open approach to Architecture. Architecture has a technical and artistic side which are supposed to go hand in hand. Whereas here if you really want to go artistic with it, then the technical side can take a back seat, so you can kind of guide your own project along.”

Why did you choose to do an exchange in the UK at Oxford Brookes?

I wanted to improve my English in regards to Architecture and architectural terms. I was studying a Bachelor of Science back home, so I found the challenge quite interesting to see how an Art based course works. In Germany Architecture is a Bachelor of Science, whereas here it’s a Bachelor of Art.  It is very different, the approach is much more artistic and it is interesting to see how the technical side of it takes a back seat here.  Not in a necessarily negative way - but it’s just interesting to have both sides, especially since Architecture is so diverse.  

What do you enjoy the most about your course here at Brookes with the exchange?  

Definitely the study of culture and architecture.  Because you’re on two floors and all the Architecture students are together, you can see what everyone’s doing and it is really interesting to work together. There are different design units but you still get to exchange ideas and ask the person sitting next to you ‘Oh what are you doing?’. There aren’t spaces for everyone so you switch desks every now and again, which is interesting allowing you to meet new people.

How different are German and English teaching styles?

It’s definitely a lot more tutored here. In Germany you’re often left on your own.  You get a task, then they give you the deadline and you’re expected to do it on your own.  You can send emails and ask your tutor, but replies are often very delayed.  Whereas here it’s very tutored, it’s a lot closer to school, or how I remember school being.  Which has helped me a lot in the beginning to just get into it and see how everything’s going here. In Germany you’re left more on your own and you have to handle stuff yourself, whereas here you have more people to talk to and help you through everything. 

Out of the university facilities what have you found most useful?

I’ve been to the library a couple of times for research, it’s very useful especially since it’s so close - you just go over the bridge and you’re in the library. The sports centre is good too as you can have a good balance between intense study hours, then going there and doing a gym or sports class.

Would you recommend doing an exchange at Oxford Brookes?

Definitely, it’s a great way to get abroad and see a different perspective on your course. It was half mandatory for me, we had the choice at my university to go on an exchange or do a placement. I knew that I wanted to do an exchange because I wanted to experience a different university culture.  Whereas a placement is something I can do anytime. It’s been great to learn in an English environment for a couple of months. Maybe depending on where my studies are going, I could do a masters in the UK or an English speaking country later on.  

What is Oxford like to study in?

I really like it, I think it’s really nice, because it’s quite small and compact. So you can be everywhere quite quickly, by bus or if you walk. I really like South Park, because I like to have runs and there is a beautiful view over the city.