University of Sussex
Students may choose to spend a semester or year of study at the University of Sussex, located in Brighton. Students may study in any of ten school divisions within the University depending on their course choices and fields of interest. Covering a vast spectrum of disciplines, the courses offered at US allow students the flexibility to specifically tailor their learning experience. Courses are generally small, relying heavily on student discussion and participation. Students will live either in dormitories or off-campus in privately organized housing, and will find plenty of on-campus options for snacks and sandwiches. There is no meal plan at US, however, so students should expect to make most of their own food. Some campus amenities include a dentist, a health center and pharmacy, a student union, and multiple fitness and sports centers. Over 165 student clubs, societies, and sports teams are available to all students, and provide valuable social networks for international newcomers. Numerous large-scale social events and spectacles are organized throughout each semester as well, in order to give students a break from their studies.
Further info can be found at:http://www.sussex.ac.uk/
I only took 4 classes the whole year, and I had read almost all of the books that I had to read. The only academically challenging aspect of this past year was learning how to take care of all those little things that a small community makes easy (and of course, spelling color with a "u"). The housing was adequate. It was not the Ritz, but it was a warm bed to sleep in and a kitchen to cook in. I took this year as a break, and now it is kicking my ass being back here. I think that it is really easy to go over there and then think that all is good when coming back. So, I would suggest taking classes that are outside of your talent area and really work hard over there. It will make the transition back easier. I had time in England to read for fun, something that is an oddity here at Reed (I barely have time to eat and do the dishes much less pick up a book for fun). I met some really cool people over there who steered me in really different intellectual directions. I don't know if it was the place or the people, or both. but, I think that I was able to expand my horizons of interest a lot more because I had some time on my hands. Buy a bus pass when you get there. It is kinda expensive otherwise and you should leave campus a lot. It is really easy just to stay there, especially being used to the Reed bubble, but getting off campus, to London especially, is a good idea.
For the most part, I really enjoyed the classes that I took. Because Sussex is much larger than Reed, I expected to have large, lecture-oriented classes, but this was not the case. Most of my classes were small seminar classes with 15-20 students. Although less time is spent in class, students were expected to do a lot of work on their own with less guidance than is found at Reed. My academic load was lighter, but that gave me more time to get involved in other activities the school had to offer, as well as time to travel. I lived on campus in a single. There is no board plan, so students share a common kitchen. I thought living on campus was a good way to meet other students, and the rooms were fairly nice (although the mattresses were extremely poor in quality). One really nice aspect of the rooms is that most of them are equipped with their own sinks. The food was excellent, because I made it myself. Be aware that the administration uses its visiting and exchange students as a source of income and will not go out of its way to accommodate them. Even simple things like getting classes can be difficult because most of their permanent students do not take courses in more than one department. The system was not made for North American students and it can often be quite frustrating, but red tape aside, the experience as a whole was truly worthwhile.