British Academic Calendars

There are so many differences between studying in the UK and studying at home in Germany. Perhaps one of the most striking is the academic calendar and semester structure. The winter semester at Surrey typically begins at the beginning of October and ends at the end of January. During this time, we get three weeks off for Christmas and sit our exams in January. We then have a week-long “reading week”, before the summer semester starts in February. In Germany, the winter semester typically runs from mid-October to the beginning of February. Then there is a long break of 2-3 months called “lecture-free period”. The thing is, while you don’t have any lectures or tutorials during this time, this is when your exams are scheduled.

In the UK, the summer semester begins in February and spans until mid-June. As for the winter semester, this includes a three week period in May and June for exams. However, there is a large spring break that spans nearly the entire month of April, a great opportunity to travel or working a placement of job! The break is a great way to re-energize for a few more weeks of lectures and summer exams. In Germany on the other hand, the summer semester only starts in April and spans until July, and again, this does not include exams. Depending on the university, you could finish summer exams some time between early July and late August or even September.

To conclude, academic calendars in the UK are very different to German ones and take some getting used to. As I go back to Munich in most of my breaks, I really notice the difference as my friends back home need to revise at completely different times than I do! For example, when I have a month off in April, their summer semester just started and when I get back in June ready to enjoy summer, everyone is busy revising for exams. Nevertheless I am so used to the UK academic calendar now and have come to like it quite a lot, I love having my exam period condensed to a few weeks and having the entire summer off without having to worry about exams or coursework!

I hope I could give you a good insight into the British Academic Calendar and what your semesters would look like at Surrey. Have a wonderful day!