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Medical student praises her YUFE experience at Essex

  • Date

    Wed 19 May 21

Klaudyna Grzelakowska

Medical student Klaudyna Grzelakowska is one of the many students who have taken the opportunity of studying at another university thanks to the Young Universities for the Future of Europe (YUFE) alliance.

As part of YUFE’s Introductory Offer, students took up to two modules at another university in the alliance. Klaudyna, who is studying at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland, took the University of Essex module ‘Pandemics: Lessons from History’.

Essex Lecturer Professor Jeremy Krikler described Klaudyna as an “outstanding student”, adding: “Klaudyna made a wonderful contribution to the module, not merely because she was such a talented and engaged student, but also because - with her medical background - she brought a scientific expertise to our historical study of pandemics.”

We caught up with Klaudyna to find out how she enjoyed the YUFE experience.

Why did you want to be part of the YUFE programme?

I was interested because it allows participants to study in several universities, even a few at a time, while still pursuing their own studies at their home university.

Thanks to YUFE I could go to the hospital in Poland in the morning and then take classes in the UK in the afternoon. The programme seemed like a perfect opportunity to do this especially with the current pandemic. In addition, it allows you to experience different cultures from an academic standpoint without leaving your own home. YUFE also provides opportunities to practice your English in a professional setting.

What module did you choose and why?

As part of YUFE’s Introductory Offer, I chose the module ‘Pandemics: Lessons from History’ offered by the University of Essex because it related to my studies in a new and exciting way.

I hoped to broaden my horizons, yet still within my interests. Learning about infectious diseases in a historical context seemed like a perfect fit for what I was looking for and the ongoing pandemic piqued my interest even more.

Why did you want to study at Essex?

As I wanted to practice my English in an academic setting Essex seemed like the perfect choice as my language skills would need to be on par with native speakers. I viewed taking a UK based course to challenge myself. Also, the module I chose seemed very interesting to me and I was happy to choose Essex to be my first YUFE destination.

Did you enjoy the module at Essex?

The module I did at Essex exceeded my expectations and was one of the most interesting subjects I have had this year. Professor Krikler’s approach to the subject and his method of conducting the seminars were a particular highlight of the course and made me look forward to the classes every week. Engaging class discussions and challenging assignments encouraged me to continue digging deeper into topics through supplementary readings and my own research. Reading about the Black Death was always a nice change of pace from studying neurosurgery or gynecology.

What made my time at the University even better were all the additional perks that come with being an Essex student. Library services, individual counselling for when you are struggling with referencing (which is the worst!), workshops and events, as well as academic English classes were all especially helpful.

Have you enjoyed the YUFE experience?

I have definitely enjoyed my YUFE experience so far. Taking a module at Essex allowed me to take a sneak peek into the YUFE initiative and witness for myself what it has to offer. Being able to take part in the module as if I was studying with the class made the experience more personal than most online courses. I believe my Introductory Offer experience was a stepping-stone into a broader YUFE adventure that I’m now pursuing through the Student Journey.

COVID-19 meant you were not able to travel to Essex, but did that spoil your experience?

In my case the possibility to do the module virtually and not physically was actually an advantage. It allowed me to keep studying at my university and attend the Essex classes simultaneously, so it didn’t spoil my experience but rather altered it.