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Life as a student in Bath

Posts By: Mirella

Ich bin ein Berliner

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📥  International student, Mirella, School of Management, Second year

After two horrendous weeks of exams, it was time for the long-awaited and deserved Inter-semester break. Different university societies plan different trips during this week-long break before Semester 2 starts. The most well know trip is probably the Ski Trip to Val Thornes, which I have heard is quite awesome and you can read Hannah's blog post about it here.

As the Chair of the German Society it was my responsibility to plan the trip to Germany’s capital Berlin. The planning had already started in October, so I was really glad when exams finished and my little German society group was able to finally board a bus to Gatwick Airport. After a little detour on the motorway as our bus driver missed the exit to Gatwick and a lot of panic from my side, we arrived at the airport at 11 am and landed in Berlin in the afternoon.

Our hostel was literally in the middle of Berlin – the former East Berlin - just right next to the famous Alexanderplatz with its TV Tower. At the check-in it felt like we had never left Bath as it was a Belushis pub and hostel, which we also have in Bath and most of the staff only spoke English and hardly knew any German. However, once we left the little hostel bubble behind us it hit me hard that we are in Berlin, one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in Europe. You will find a typical East German building called Plattenbau in one street and just around the corner you will find a modern skyscraper.

It was crazy to see how the division of Germany and especially Berlin still has an impact on the city itself. The city itself remembers its famous division wall- the Berliner Mauer – with two brick rows on the street to mark where the wall stood. For me it was unbelievable to imagine that this city was divided into a Communist and a Democratic part for such a long time and that this ended just a few years before I was born.

As this was more or less a study trip to experience German culture and get a sense of living in a German city, we planned a lot of activities. It included a lot of German food – Currywurst, Schweinsbraten and Bread – and of course good German beer and Radler, a mixture between beer and lemonade. Considering I ate meat twice a day you would think that German cuisine only consist of meat dishes, but the vegetarian in our group always found something to eat as well. Even the non-drinkers were able to survive without drinking beer.

Embracing German food and beer

Embracing German food and beer

For me, the most interesting part of our trip was to visit the German Reichstag, the house of the German parliament. In this house you can actually feel the drastic political changes Germany underwent in the 20th and 21st century before it became this European superpower. The outside of the building was built in the monarchy, whereas inside you will find a modern glass cubicle designed by Norman Foster to house the united German government. However, the parliament only started its work in the new building ten years after the reunification. In the inside you will also find Russian graffiti left by the Russian soldiers at the end of the Second World War and you will still see some marks left by bombs.

Russian Graffiti in the Reichstag

Russian Graffiti in the Reichstag

The most impressive part about the building is probably the glass dome. The idea behind it is that members of the parliament should look up to see members of the public walking around to be remembered why they are in parliament in the first place. The public on the other side can look down on the elected members to have an eye on them so that something like the Nazi regime cannot happen again.

All in all, I can only recommend going away in the inter-semester break with a society. You will see a new city, you will meet new people and you are predicted to have some fun and might even make some friends.

 

Second year counts

  

📥  International student, Mirella, School of Management

In first year everything is fun and giggles. You find everything exciting, as it is your first year at university. Of course, not everything is so fun (see my other post “Rollercoaster” for more information on this). However, second year is a completely different experience.

You have already made friends, you know your way around town and university and you already know you like to do with your free time. This should of course not discourage you to try out new things in second year or make no new friendships. In fact I have made some new and strengthened some loose friendships. The main difference is though that “Second year counts”.

Second year counts

What does this actually mean? First year is there to make it easier for us students to get into the vibe of university. You get to know your course, you learn how to write essays and you learn about plagiarism and more importantly how to avoid it. This is why your grades in first year do not count towards your final grade. It is one of the wonderful things university has to offer. It allows students to live a little bit. However, students should not forget that grades are still important if you want to secure a placement. Most employers are looking for a minimum of a 2:1, which means you have to get over 60%. If you attend regularly lectures and revise before the exams, chances are high of attaining a 2:1, even with experiencing Freshers' life to the full.

Second year counts 32% towards your final grade. What an odd number to be honest. As this grade might decide about your future, if you think about your employability after university, it is important what grades you achieve in second year. This puts a little bit of pressure on.

However, not only do you have to worry about your grades but you also have to secure a placement for your third year. Personally, this stresses me a little. While I am writing this, I am on my Christmas break at home. Unfortunately, it is not a real break like the summer holidays. I regard it more as three weeks at home, which I have to devote to studying. Obviously, I don’t revise all the time.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Merry Christmas everyone!

After all, I still have holidays and I want to celebrate Christmas and New Years Eve.  As a student you also have to relax after the deadline horror of courseworks before the end of the semester. However, I do spend at least an hour or two every day revising. Obviously, I will increase this devoted time in revision week because as you already know “Second year counts” and five exams are quite a lot to write within two weeks.

How to spend the holidays in second year

How to spend the holidays in second year

The rest of the time of my Christmas holiday I spent worrying about my placement. I am not too anxious about not securing a placement. The placement team is trying to be really helpful and there are a lot of opportunities to apply for placements but I would rather have one sooner than later. Furthermore, you still have to apply for these placements and it takes quite a lot of time to write a good cover letter. It does not help though if your grandmother is constantly asking you if you have finally found work or if your family just talks about you finding a placement during the Christmas dinner. So if anybody is reading this and wants to offer me a placement, just leave a comment. I would be really grateful, it just has to be 12-months long, be in the field of marketing and hopefully the paycheck at the end of the month can cover my rent!

Optimistic outlook

I hope I haven’t frightened anybody about university. I still think it was the best decision of my life to study at the University of Bath. However, second year and especially semester one of second year is not easy at all. Hopefully, second semester will be better. To be honest, I already know second semester will be better. I will have secured a placement and I will know where I will live. Most importantly though: I will only write two exams in May. This takes a lot of pressure from me as I prefer coursework over exams. Wish me luck!

 

How to run a society

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📥  International student, Mirella, School of Management, Second year

During Freshers' Week people tend to put their name down for at least 10 societies. Obviously a normal human being cannot be involved with 10 societies and pass university as well. However, I would encourage getting involved with 1-2 societies and 1-2 sport clubs. I tried Lacrosse and joined German Society and the Baking Society. After the first semester I only stuck to German Society and when election time for next years committee came up I decided to nominate myself. Eventually I was voted as the Chair of the German Society. Back then I did not have a clear understanding of what the role would involve but I was prepared to spend some hours each week dedicated for the German Society and it seemed a fun activity to meet new people.

In the German Society we have 4 committee members – bigger societies tend to have more positions – Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and Social Secretary. My role is basically to be the CEO of the society and do different things, a lot of them involve administrative stuff. The secretary is responsible for the communication with the Societies members. The Treasurer handles everything involved with money but as we do not have a big budget, this is not too complicated. The Social Secretary is there to organize the fun stuff – the socials!

Before the end of my first year, the handover from last year's committee to us happened. Basically, you have to fill out a lot of forms and just think about what you want to do with the society in the next year. For us this was a little bit complicated as our Treasurer and Social Secretary were on placement in Germany and Austria. However, we eventually did it and handed in all the forms (does not mean we will now stick to everything we wrote!)

During the summer I was only responsible for filling out forms for Freshers' Week. However, as I realised later, I only filled one out of two forms out. That is why German Society was only at Freshers' Activities Fair and not at the Societies Activities Day on Parade. We only realized that on the day of the Societies Activities Day as our society did not have a stall. I was quite depressed after I realized it was my fault. I thought we would not be able to get anybody to join us. However, it was also a chance for us. We were not prepared at all for the Societies Activities Day,  so it might have looked quite unprofessional if we had a stall. As we now had some days left to actually think about how we should decorate our stall for the Activities Fair we put a lot of thought in it. We baked cakes, made German bread, had sweets, and printed out flyers. It was quite a success and as a result we now have 58 official members.

Our German stall at the Freshers' activity fair

Our German stall at the Freshers' activity fair

The main thing societies do is to host socials. Our first social happened in the second week as we wanted to get involved with the new Freshers' as soon as possible. We wanted to start with a bang and organised two barrels of beer and German food.  Unfortunately, or should I say luckily, so many people showed up that we ran out of wine after half an hour. We clearly miscalculated how many people would actually show up, but the whole committee was relieved that so many people attended.

Promoting German beer!

Promoting German beer!

For the next few weeks my society has planned some socials, film nights and the Christmas meal. The biggest event we have though is the annual Berlin Trip- Wish me luck that everything goes well with the planning of it. *fingers crossed*

Here is my top 10 list of what I have learned so far about running a society:

1)   You should read EVERY e-mail the SU Society team sends you REALLY carefully
2)   Running a society involves filling out a ton of forms
3)   You meet a lot of people and by the end of the year you will have made new friends
4)   Being part of a society takes up a lot of time – do not only do it because it looks good on your CV, although....
5)   It does look good on your CV!
6)   Finding a date when every committee member can attend a meeting takes sooo long
7)   You have to be the n°1 fan of your society – if you are not passionate about your society then nobody will want to join it
8)   You talk about your society all the time and might even dream about it (mostly nightmares about filling out forms)
9)   You will get addicted on checking how many people have joined the society & how many people actually came to socials
10) It is a lot of fun and I would recommend it to anybody who is willing to spend some hours a week dedicated to your society

 

International Friendships

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📥  International student, Mirella, School of Management

As we all know University is not only about studying. It’s also about making friends for a lifetime. Fresher’s Year is probably the easiest year when it comes to making friends. Everybody is new and probably doesn’t know a lot of people at university, so everybody is looking for new friends.

In Freshers' Week you will probably meet and talk to a dozen people you will never ever see again, even though the University of Bath is not too big.  You might meet them during Fresher’s Week. You might live with them. You might study the same course as them. You might join the same society. You might even meet them in the library. Who knows? I just want to assure you that you should not be worried about making friends. Just be yourself and be friendly!

The University of Bath has a student body of 30% of international students. This makes the chances high that you will make at least one international friend or if you are a foreigner like me you will probably have some more as you can relate to each other. The good thing about international friends is that you can visit them in their countries, which is very exciting.  You should not forget you have nearly 4 months off in the summertime, and I used my summertime for working and meeting friends.

My first trip was to Poland. I have never ever been to Poland or had Polish friends, but however at University I have made quite a few Polish friends. One of my Polish friends lives near Gdansk, which you might know as Danzig. Her town is called Gdyna and hosts one of the biggest and best musical festivals in Poland – Open’eer. I have never been to a festival as I don’t enjoy sleeping in tents, but as my friend lives quite near to the festival me and another friend decided to sleep at hers and go to the festival in the evening. I can tell you it was pretty awesome. Even though it was in Poland they had such major acts as “Mumford&Sons”, “Major Lazor”, “Alt-J” and even “Years&Years”, who were the main act at the University’s Summer Ball. Apart from the music I quite fell in love with pirogues. If you have never tried them you should definitely do so.

My next meeting with a University friend happened in my hometown in Vienna. My former flatmate was interrailing with some friends through Europe and they had a day stop in Vienna. After 12h in Vienna  my friend said: “I would have never seen Vienna like this without you as a local”. So listen up future Fresher’s: Make some friends in really nice cities so that they can show you around.

Another friend of mine is the driver for the University of Bath’s racing team. During the summer time they travel to different Formula Student events where they compete with their self-made car against other universities. One of their stops was in Spielberg in Austria. As Spielberg is only a 2h drive away from me, I decided to visit them in Spielberg. To be honest, I am not a big fan of cars and I have never seen a Formula 1 event. However, I quite enjoyed Formula Student. You see all these university students who spent a year designing and building a racing car and then competing against each other. So if you like this kind of stuff you should definitely have a look at them during Fresher’s Fair in September and think about joining in.

The Formula Student event

The Formula Student event at Spielberg

Just a day after I came back from Spielberg I had a flight to Düsseldorf. Unfortunately, it rained the whole three days while I was there. It was horrible, but it was still great to see my future flatmate Linda again. She showed me Wuppertal, Düsseldorf, Cologne and some other small German towns. If I hadn’t known her, I would have never thought about even travelling to Düsseldorf.

Kolner (Cologne) Dom (Cathedral)

Kolner (Cologne) Dom (Cathedral)

My last visit to see one University friend was in Munich. I made this friend at the last day of Fresher’s Week in the toilet queue. So as I have said you never know where you will make friends at the University of Bath. However, this guy is also part of German Society, so it was easy for me not to loose him out of sight. I was only there for two days but it was really good to catch up with him and hear about his placement.

Great view of Munich's sykline

Great view of Munich's sykline

Seeing so many of my University friends during the summer made me realize that I can’t wait to get back to Bath. I love my friends from home, but I also enjoy the international community at Bath. Fortunately, I am only a handful of days away from seeing them all in Bath again.

 

Freshers' Week 2015

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📥  International student, Mirella, School of Management

Two months to go until Freshers' Week 2015. I can’t believe it. It feels like yesterday when I was a frightened Fresher, who was looking forward to Freshers' Week 2014 and now I am part of Freshers' Crew 2015.

I bet all of you are really excited for your first week as a university student, and I am excited to be part of this year's Freshers' Week Freshers' Crew! If you were wondering- 800 people applied to be part of this year's Freshers' Crew, but unfortunately there are only 350 places available. I think this gives you a good insight into the community we have here at the University of Bath.

Right now the Freshers' Week Event Team is working day and night to put together an amazing first week. We Crew Members already had a pre information talk in May, just to get an insight into what will happen in Freshers' Week. I can' tell you much, but can tell you that it is going to be bigger than last year's Freshers' Week. If you are curious about the main events and the themes for every day: check out their Facebook page.

Don't forget, Freshers' Week is not only about partying with your new flatmates and friends: it’s also about meeting people from your course, getting to know the campus and the city, and socialising. The Freshers' Crew we are here to help you with all of this, but the best advice I can offer is to get involved with as many activities and events as possible. Don’t worry it’s easier than you might think, as everybody is eager to make friends. Before I came to university, my friend threw a big birthday party and I didn’t know that many people, so I made it my goal to say at least hello to every person at this birthday party. This really helped me when I arrived at university. Though it is still difficult (and even more difficult if your first language isn’t English like me), it can be really hard to understand people with different accents!

Before I arrived at University, I had never been to the Campus , so I looked at all the pictures of the campus and from my accommodation. Unfortunately, there are not that many and the pictures just showed the rooms. It didn’t look like somebody actually lives in them, so I couldn’t imagine myself living there. I was still curious to get as much information as I could before starting at university. So I joined my accommodation page on FB and looked at the profiles of the people I would live with. Here are all the links to the accommodations pages:

City
Eastwood A
Eastwood B
Marlborough
Norwood
Quads 1: Acer
Quads 2: Bay
Quads 3: Chestnut
Quads 4: Damson & Ebony
Solsbury
Westwood A
Westwood B
Westwood C
Woodland

These Facebook pages are a great way to start communicating with your flatmates, ask questions and just to get a feeling about living on campus. As part of being a Freshers' Crewmember my job is it to look after a flat with another Crew Member. Fortunately, I got allocated to my former flat on campus, so if anybody has an offer for Mendip 5, I am going to be your designated team member. I can’t wait to meet my Freshers!

You may be disappointed with your accommodation allocation, as not everyone gets their first choice, but I can tell you, it does not really matter. All the accommodation options are great and if you are really disappointed, just keep in mind, that you are only living there for a year (which will go really quickly).

Furthermore, not only are the Freshers' Week Event Team busy, but so also are all the members of Society committees. As the Chair of German Society, my committee members and I had to fill in a ton load of forms and to start planning what we are going to do next year. For example we are planning Stammtische, movie nights and our annual trip to Berlin. So if you are already interested in joining the German Society next year, have a look at our Facebook page.

Of course, the German Society is not the only Society at the University of Bath. We have so many, I cant even list them all, but here is the link so you can check them out.

I can tell you, it was one of the best decisions of my life to go to the University of Bath and I can’t wait to share the experiences I had with the new Freshers. You have an exiting year in front of you!

 

Final Moments as a Fresher

  

📥  International student, Mirella, School of Management

My life as a Fresher is over.

At the beginning of May I never thought this moment would actually happen. May is exam season at the University of Bath, so I spent the whole month behind my desk or in the library studying. It was horrible. However, it is over now. I don’t have to revise again until January or so (probably earlier thanks to midterm tests, but I don’t want to think about these yet). Not only did I take - and hopefully pass - four exams, more importantly I mastered the art of sticky buns. Every student copes differently with exam stress. For me the best way of relaxing is baking and exercising.  That’s what I did. I baked in the afternoon when my concentration level was at it lowest and went to the gym or swimming after dinner.  My tip for next years Freshers is to do the same. Find something you like and do it in between studying. It will help you to relax.

A sticky raspberry bun

A sticky raspberry bun

My last exam was followed by an amazing last week which was also sad. Finally, I was able to socialize with all my friends again and enjoy everything the city has to offer. Throughout the week my friends started to pack their things  and move out from university accommodation, and I started to think about packing all of my stuff. But first let me explain the difference between a British student and an International student moving with regards to moving out of university accommodation.

Date of leaving

The British student will most likely ask his or her family when they are able to pick them up from university with all their belongings. This will likely be at a convenient time (i.e. midday or in the afternoon!)

The International student will pick a date according to a cheap flight. This might even mean leaving university at 3am to get a bus to London (that’s a true story!)

Packing

The British student will start packing the day before they go home and might even wait until their parents arrive so they can help (or do the washing up!) Their parents will take everything with them in the car, and it doesn’t matter when they leave- there might even be the chance to go for lunch in town with their parents.

The International student actually starts packing a month before leaving. As an international student you realise that you can’t possible fit all of your belongings into two suitcases. So first, you might check your house contract to see if you are allowed to move your stuff into your new house before the summer (unfortunately, most students are only allowed to do this in July). You might ask some friends to store your stuff for them over the summer, although this could be a problem if they realise that you own too much weird stuff (like a bread making machine!) or if you will be arriving back at Uni earlier than them afte rthe summer break.

Luckily there are actually companies which will store stuff for you and pick it up and even bring it back (there are some great ones out there, many of which offer student discounts). Often it can be almost as cheap to store a lot of stuff compared to just one box. It is a good idea to look for other International students who might want also want to store their stuff and split the cost. As you will probably be focusing on revision rather than packing your stuff (any your flatmates' stuff) here are some tips from my experience:

  • Unless it is going to be very expensive, it is better to have too many boxes than too few!  Otherwsie you may end up throwing away non essential items!
  • You will almost certainly have more stuff than you imagine
  • If you will be be packing on behalf of friends, make sure their stuff is packed into boxes before they leave

Once you have packed your belongings into storage you will of course need to pack some luggage to take home.  It is not easy to limit yourself to two suitcases! In fact, I needed the help of a flatmate to sit on my suitcase so that I could finally close it.

Saying goodbye to my view

Saying goodbye to my view

After realizing that you are finally ready to move out of university accommodation, you may well be hit by nostalgia. Living on campus is a great experience, but eventually you will need to catch a bus/train/taxi to the airport. After landing hopefully your patents/friends/family will pick you up and drive you home (otherwise it is more travelling with luggage on public transport, which is not always fun!).

I just want to say that the life as an International student can be difficult, but it is definitely worth it. Just start thinking about and planning moving your stuff early! I know that I will miss the University of Bath during the summer, not least just seeing the ducks around campus!

 

Time to celebrate- Bath top for student experience

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📥  Mirella, School of Management

You might have heard about it already, but just to confirm it: The Times Higher Education Survey 2015 has ranked the University of Bath first in student experience. Congrats!

Apparently, we have good sports facilities, good industry connections, a good community atmosphere, a great campus, a high variety of extra curriculum activities, and the University tailors its service to meet the individual needs of students. We perform particularly strongly on the quality of our academic staff, degree courses and teaching facilities.

This all sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Could it be possible that the Vice-Chancellor bribed students to say all this nice stuff about the university?
I have to be honest with you. There is no need for bribing. Everything is true.

  • We have great sports facilities. I would even say you couldn’t wish for better. We have a modern big gym, a 50m Olympic sized indoor swimming pool, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, squash courts, a fencing salle, a dojo, shooting ranges, indoor running tracks, an athletics track and even a Skeleton and bobsleigh push-start track.
  • We have strong industry connections. I am just a first year student, but I can tell you I am not worried about finding a placement or a job after graduation. The University has these connections and nearly every other day another company is on campus.  Furthermore, we have a dedicated placement and careers team, which is here to help us.
  • We have a good community atmosphere. I had a friend staying over for some days and before she left she told me that it seems like we are all on a big summer camp. I can totally agree with that. Of course, we still study (probably sometimes like mad, if you look at the library in the revision week) but I think for most students here, studying is just one part of university life. It is great that there is always somebody here for you to cheer you up if you had a hard day or a stressful midterm. Sometimes this somebody is just someone you have met briefly but waves at you when they sees you on campus.
  • We have a great campus, which is still constantly improving.  Just look at the Edge, the new Art Centre, which opened just some months ago. It is a really cool building and gives us University of Bath students the chance to live out our more creative side. You can check it out for yourself here. They even offer ballet classes.
  • We have a high variety of extra curriculum activities. There are more than a 100 clubs and societies to get involved in, so everybody is guaranteed to find a place in one of the societies and clubs. I couldn’t even list all of them here, but just to highlight five societies, which I think show the high variety: Welsh Society, Engineers without Borders, Bath University Curry Appreciation Society and Lacrosse!

I know I haven’t talked about the excellence of the courses the University of Bath offers, but most courses are in the top in the country and most people probably researched this before they applied to the University of Bath anyway.

Therefore, I want to conclude this post with a picture of my weekend. The Hall Representation student’s organized a Spring Fete for First Year students. There was a BBQ, an arm wrestling tournament and most important zorbing. Basically, we got put into these white big balls and just bumped into each other! This might sound really Neadertaleresque, but it was great to relieve some stress before revision period starts. Unfortunately, I can’t move anymore. Who would have guessed that running into each other in big fluffy balls can be exhausting.

Zorbing!

Zorbing!

 

School of Management Spring Ball

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📥  International student, Mirella, School of Management

WOW. It is already spring. I cannot believe it. Time flew by while I was making memories, which will hopefully last me a lifetime. Just read my other blog posts, if you are curious what I was up to.

To be honest, the past three weeks before the Easter holiday were horrible. I had a midterm test, had to hand in an essay and I had to start some group works. Therefore, I could not wait till the Thursday before the Easter Holiday and the Easter Holiday itself.  The Thursday was the day I was looking forward to the most, as it was the day of the School of Management Spring Ball. As you might know the University of Bath has different Faculties (School of Management, Engineering& Design, Humanities & Social Science, Science) and in each Faculty different departments as well. Every Faculty and Department organises socials. Obviously, I am biased and I am going to tell you that the School of Management Spring Ball is the best of all the socials compared to the other departments (this is obviously not true- Pharmacists have their own amazing ball, Economists went to a social at a restaurant where they got free food and so on…)

The School of Management Spring Ball took place in the famous Pump Room above the Roman Baths. You might know the Pump Room from the Jane Austen movie 'Northanger Abbey'. It is an absolutely fabulous place and the best choice to host a social for the School of Management. You can even go there during the day. They offer Afternoon Tea and also have a restaurant. That is the place to take your parents to if they visit because as a student, you are probably not able to afford Afternoon Tea there. I am still determined to persuade some friends to go with me. If I succeed at it, I will definitely write about it.

The Roman Baths

The Roman Baths

The theme for this year's Spring Ball was the roaring twenties. Even though, I am not a big fan of dressing up, I got my mom to buy me a feather boa and some long black gloves. Unfortunately on the Thursday I had a lecture till 6 o’clock, which I did not want to miss for anything in the world. If you are wondering why: It is Operations Management, which might sound really boring but I can guarantee you, all my course mates agree it is a fabulous lecture where you learn a lot and even if you are not interested in the topic itself, you will leave the lecture hall with a smile on your face because the lecturer is really funny.

This is the reason I was not able to arrive at the Spring Ball at 7:30 because you know as a girl it takes me time to get ready and look pretty and so on. So I arrived there with my friends about 8:15. This was a mistake I will definitely not make again, and I am warning you don’t do it yourself. There was a drink reception at the Roman Bath, itself. So people were standing right next to the hot water and drinking their glass of wine or coke. There was even a professional photographer who took pictures but as we were too late we missed that part. We were just able to have a peek at the Roman Baths. After the drinks reception closed at 8:30, everyone moved upstairs to the Pump Room. There was music playing and finger food was served. The food was nothing fancy  (Fish&Chips, Risotto with Mushrooms, Beef with mashed potatoes,..) but it tasted sooo good. Especially after a week of just eating pasta and rice, because I could not be bothered to buy some real food the week before I go home.

Dressed up for the Spring Ball

Dressed up for the Spring Ball

After the dessert was served, a live band started playing. Moreover, there was also a professional photographer, who took pictures. Apart from all the food and drinking, the Spring Ball gave me the chance to talk to people I hardly ever talk to. First of all, as it is for everyone who studies for an undergraduate degree in the School of Management, you see a lot of people you kind of know, but have hardly ever spoken to. The same applies for my course mates. After a semester at being at university, I already have a circle of friends which whom I sit at lectures, so there is no point anymore in sitting next to a person you have never spoken to. Yet, at the Spring Ball you get this chance. Your friends might know some of these people you have hardly or never talked to and so you just join their conversation. The Spring Ball ends at midnight but we decided to go a little bit earlier to celebrate with our course mates the near end of term. We went to 'Be at One', which is just next to the train station. It is a really nice cocktail bar and just the right place to go when you are dressed up in 1920s style. All in all, I can recommend every School of Management undergraduate to attend the Spring Ball. You will definitely not be disappointed.

I am really glad to say that the Easter holidays have finally started. Even though I will miss all my university friends and all the fun I have here at the University of Bath, it will be so good to go home again. When I come back from my holidays I only have six (!) weeks left till my first year at the University of Bath is over. It is ridiculous how fast time went by. I hope you are all enjoying your well deserved break and for all the prospective University of Bath students: Good luck with all your exams!

 

Afternoon Tea with Mr. Darcy

  

📥  International student, Mirella, School of Management

The most famous citizen of Bath is not a living one but a dead one. It’s none other than the famous Jane Austen herself.  As a young girl she was quite in love with Bath as you might have guessed from her first novel “Northanger Abbey”, which is set in Bath. However, in later years, when she had to live here in Bath with her family she quite detested the city, which is also shown in her last novel “Persuasion”. Nonetheless, Bath still celebrates its most famous resident not only with a Jane Austen Festival in September but also with a Jane Austen Centre.

When my friends visited me last week I quite knew that I had to go there with them, as they are big Jane Austen fans. I have only read Pride and Prejudice for school so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the Jane Austen Centre.  I thought it would be one of these museums where you just stroll around and look at some pictures, but it was completely different.

First of all, there is a presentation about Jane Austen. One of the museum guides, who looks like a character from a BBC film adaption of one of Jane Austen's novels, talks about her life and her connection to Bath. After that, you are led to the real museum.  You can see some pictures of her and her family members and read about life in Bath during Jane Austen's lifetime.

It’s quite interesting that Bath used to be a town where everybody wanted to go to in the summer season to be seen and to see people, and maybe even to find a future spouse.  At the end of the museum you even have the chance to dress up and look like you just stepped out of a Jane Austen novel!

Dressing up!

Dressing up!

The best way to end this museum tour is with afternoon tea, and you don’t even have to leave the building. You just walk up the stairs and step into a lovely little tearoom called the Regency Tea Room. Unfortunately, all the tables were occupied, but I am definitely going there at some point, as you can just go there without going to the museum.  If you are planning a visit I definitely recommend booking ahead as it looks like they offer a really good afternoon tea!

As I still wanted to show my friends what an afternoon tea is, as they have never experienced it, we walked to the Boston Tea Party, which is just a little walk away from the Jane Austen Centre. The Boston Tea Party is also featured in the Bath Leap List. I can highly recommend going there at any time of the day as they not only offer a good afternoon tea but also a good breakfast and lunch (try the pancakes or the warm croissants there, as they are delicious ).

My friends were quite surprised that scones with jam and clotted cream can be so filling, while also being so delicious.

Coffee at the Boston Tea Party (afternoon tea optional!)

Coffee at the Boston Tea Party (afternoon tea optional!)

You probably really want to come to Bath now to experience afternoon tea with Jane Austen and you should definitely should do! However,  if you can't come right now, you should definitely do the following:

1. Get yourself a copy of the BBC adaption of Persuasion and/or Northanger Abbey

2. Buy strawberry jam and clotted cream

3. Make some scones yourself (http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/paul_hollywoods_scones_70005)

4. Watch the DVDs while having  afternoon tea

Enjoy!

Enjoy the ride - the emotional roller coaster

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📥  International student, Mirella, School of Management

During Fresher’s week people will tell you two things constantly:

  1. You will definitely marry someone who you met at university
  2. University life is an emotional roller-coaster

I can't tell you if the first sentence is true but I can verify the second sentence. University life is definitely an emotional roller coaster!  I didn't believe it back then but now I want to share my personal experience with you. If you are ready, take a seat and fasten your seatbelt. Let the fun begin!

The rollercoaster!

The rollercoaster!

The summer holidays
That's the part where you enter the roller coaster. You have already paid for your ticket and look for a seat. You don't know if this roller coaster is worth the money or not, and whether you will have fun. Your feelings probably change by the minute. From joy to anxiousness. You just can't wait for it to start, while being afraid at the same time.

Fresher's week
Finally! The ride begins. University hasn't really started yet and you spend most of your time trying to get to know as many people as possible and finding your way around campus. In the first lectures the professors won't mind if you are a little bit late as you are still trying to find all your lecture rooms, and it's not a drama if you haven't started reading your coursework yet. After all, university life is also about making friends and trying out new things.

Assignments and presentations
Real university life kicks in. You will get your first assignments to do and professors might tell you something about mid term tests. You probably didn't even know that mid term tests exist. You start to panic! You might start to actually open your textbooks and have a read in them. You might start to look for study friends. This one kid who always answers questions in lectures - it might be a good idea to ask him/her for help if you need it. Oh, and you thought it would be wonderful to cook for yourself all the time or that food on campus will be marvelous. Now you realise that your dads steak wasn't even that bad and that it would be nice to have it for dinner tonight. Too bad that you are skint as well. Oh glorious university life - we thought you were better.

Autumn/Winter
It starts to get cold in Bath and at least if you live in Westwood you will be woken every day by the ticking noise of the heating. But while the temperature goes down your mood goes up. You don't get lost on campus anymore, you have found some people who you can call friends, you know what to do with your free time,  and you might even enjoy your lectures again. Bath feels like a home away from home. This is the fun part, but as we all know good roller coasters don't only go up and down once!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Christmas season at Bath is wonderful. The Christmas market opens early in November and is the biggest in the whole country, and you shouldn't forget about the lights. There is nothing better than strolling through Bath in the night and just looking at the beautiful lights.

Although it's just before Christmas and the winter holidays, you can't wait to get time off. After all, getting up for an 11:15 lecture is hard! We don't even want to think about the 9:15's and let's pity all the poor ones who have these rare 8:15 lectures or seminars. You might be tempted to just skip your lectures as there are only three weeks left till your holidays but I can tell you - don't listen to that evil voice.

Thanks to WhatsApp/Snapchat/Facebook you always know what your friends do and they decide to send you pictures of the fun times they have without you - thank you, modern technology. You might even think life can't even get worse - but it can. You still haven't reached the lowest point on the roller-coaster. My lowest point was when I was so fed up with washing up my dishes and how the kitchen looked in general, that I decided not to cook at all anymore. This last week before I went home, I just had breakfast at my flat - that's it.  I couldn't take it anymore - I just hate dirty kitchens. But then it was over. University closed for the winter holidays. Time to go home or even if you stay on campus - time to relax.

The holidays
Finally you are home again. You might not have seen your family or friends for 3 months but now it's time to catch up with them again and sleep. The roller coaster is going up again. Hooray! How much did you miss it to just watch TV all day and not having to cook for yourself? I loved my holidays but just till the point I realized I should start revising soon.

Revision week and exams
I had four exams and they were quite spread out so I wasn't that stressed, but still. There were days when I was actually looking forward to the library and to read more about this topic the professor mentioned in the lecture, but then there were other days when I couldn't take it anymore. I thought I wouldn't be able to study everything, and there were times when I just gave up and left the library to watch another episode of Grey's Anatomy in my bed. But I did it, or at least I think I did, because haven't got our grades yet!

So this was my experience so far, and while I think I won't be able to leave this roller coaster till the end of my university career I think the ride next year won't be quite as scary.  I want to share some tips for international students on what they can do to reduce homesickness, as I think homesickness hits us sometimes a little bit harder than our English friends. After all, we don't have our family in the UK and we come from a different culture. This can make it even harder sometimes.

1)    Join societies - The University of Bath has a range of societies and I bet there is one you  are interested in. It will give you the chance to make friends who will help you cope with the homesickness and the society meetings will give you something to look forward to.

2)    Meet people from your home country - sometimes it's just nice to talk to somebody in your own language and have a chat about what you miss from home.

3)    Bring your culture to your flat - as I love baking I decided to make some traditional cookies from my hometown to share with my flatmates. It made me happy and my flat was thankful for the delicious, free cookies.

4)    Talk  -  there is nothing wrong to admit that you are homesick and that you might need help to cope with it and everybody is homesick from time to time. I haven't meet one person who wasn't at one point. Just talk with your friends about it.

5)    Skype - there will be this one weekend where your whole flat is empty because everybody goes home. It's just you and this one kid from up north whom it takes to long to go home for a weekend. You don't know what to do know, but thankfully Skype exists. Now is the time to catch up with everybody from home. Nobody will mind if you Skype for hours and hours and nobody will interrupt your conversation because nobody is there and you will just feel better. You might not be able to go home but Skyping is as near as you can get. I know it's still not the same but I have heard some parents even put the laptop on dining table so their children can be part of the dinner conversation. It might sound a little bit crazy but who cares if it makes you happy.

Me Skyping with my friends

Me Skyping with my friends

And don't be put off from studying abroad at the University of Bath just because you are afraid of becoming homesick from time to time. At least I can say all the happy times I have had so far made up for it.