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Life as a student in Bath

Topic: International student

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.

 

To my younger self

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📥  Faculty of Science, International student, Postgraduate

I know that you currently have no idea what to do - don’t worry, you’re not alone. To be fair, I admire the people who know exactly what they want to do at your age. But think about it – you’re really enjoying your dissertation project. Why not carry on down this route? I know doing an MSc isn’t what you have in mind, but let me say a few things about that; I think it was definitely worth doing it, and it’s where you will realise that you enjoy research. You know which course you would do, so apply and prepare yourself for the course - it’s going to be very tough! The reward for getting through this tough year will be getting to do a PhD, which you will enjoy despite the ups and downs.

In contrast to the master's, the PhD is more of a marathon, usually when you’re expected to start taking control of your project. The start felt too slow after coming from a master's if I’m honest. There are things that need to be sorted, like who your supervisors and assessors are, what PG Skills courses you intend to do during the first year, doing all the health and safety stuff, other paperwork... And then there’s getting started in the lab; new place, new people, new equipment. You will be given more details of your project and what topics to start reading around; I think I spent most of the first month or so reading. You also have to get used to some sort of 9-to-5-ish schedule which is not what you are used to anymore, so prepare for that when you come to it! Once you get things set up and started, it’s just a matter of keeping things moving; making sure experiments are finished, maybe re-running certain samples, analysing the data…

At one point or another, it will feel like you have hit a wall. I spent months doing Western blots*; as you are only given a basic protocol, sometimes there are loads of things to tweak before things actually work! Then once you get it working, the results may not show what you want to show and so you may need to tweak things further. In the case of the Western, it meant taking samples at different time points. You know, that’s the reality of research – spending months working on one thing over and over again, before managing to get the results. Even then, the results may not be what you expect at all. I don’t know what it is, but despite all these things, I enjoy being a researcher and I believe that’s probably the main reason I keep going, despite not really getting anywhere for months at times.

One of the things that’s nice about a PhD is you have time to really work on a project. There is no rush to try and finish and you will expand from the initial experiments. I like that you are able to see things through! I know that someone will carry on what you have started in your dissertation project, but really, I like being able to carry things on myself.

So, you know what? Don’t panic! You are doing fine as you are. Keep working, keep learning – science being science, new discoveries are made all the time, remember that, eh?! Most importantly, don’t be disheartened when things aren’t going well. That’s the reality, and I can tell you now, I do not regret that I have chosen this path. I get up, and going to the lab doesn’t feel like a chore at all, that’s why I know that this is the right path for us, and that you will enjoy this journey despite all the bumps along the way. I can’t tell you where it will lead us beyond the PhD, but whatever happens, lets make sure we enjoy it, yeah? I think that’s the most important thing.

Although it may not feel like it, you ultimately make the right decisions. So don’t over think your future, it hasn’t happened yet!

All the best for your MSc (which you WILL apply for!)

Your future self.

*Western blotting is a technique for visualising a specific protein within a mix of proteins.

 

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 deal with misbehaving coursework

  

📥  Faculty of Engineering, First year, International student, Yousuf

As I am writing this, I think I have survived what the first year of university could throw at me. I’ve certainly become better at sprinting to catch the bus. Everyone talks about how there’s a big difference between school and university, but no one seemed to have told me what the difference is or what I should expect. The most noticeable difference was the amount of detail that had to go into my reports, which took me a while to get into the groove of doing. Nonetheless, the university does a really good job at throwing tonnes of resources at you so that you can pick up academic skills really quickly.

I am going to be talking about the way I have been writing reports for my Engineering modules, other subjects may do things differently but may have similar aspects, so your mileage may vary.  The first thing I was told is how to structure a report, sounds simple on paper but it really isn’t. It may all look swell when you’ve divided things into neat little categories but you then fall into an existentialist dilemma as to where all your new-fangled data is supposed to go. A simple way of avoiding this is to assume your reader (your lecturer) has no idea what your report is about. That way, you start out slow by introducing the topic of your report, speed up when you start displaying your data, and then ease into the conclusion with a discussion.  Linking paragraphs in your writing gives it nice flow.

The university provides academic writing skills courses which you can do in your own time and whose credits do not go towards your degree. This seems off-putting to many students and it is also the reason why a lot of them apply and don’t go through with the course. However, after enrolling in an academic writing course tailored towards scientific studies, I cannot stress how important this is. Specifically for first years, the course will give you a foundation in writing in an academic context, and once you’ve done it once, you’ll never have to do it again because you’ll be constantly using the skills you have learnt.

The Writing center decorated in a lovely 'Emergency' Red

The Writing center decorated in a lovely 'Emergency' Red

Even down the line if you need help with a specific subject, the writing centre offers 20 minute sessions where you can sit down and get all your full stops and commas in order.

A more obvious resource to your adventures through writing is the Library. It has tonnes (literally) of help to do with referencing and examples of academic writing.

The library's wall-of-wisdom

The library's wall-of-wisdom

Picking a referencing guide and keeping it with you is a very important to do during your time at Uni, and you’ll be referring back to it a lot during your studies. Another tip I would give is to reference while writing, meaning that as soon as you use someone else’s ideas in your report, reference the source you got it from. This saves you a lot of time when it comes down to submission time.

My copy referencing guidelines sheet glaring at me cynically

My copy referencing guidelines sheet glaring at me cynically

Another great way of getting into academic writing is to actually read journals in your specific field. Your professors would be asking you to write your reports in a similar way to what is written in journal articles, albeit somewhat simpler. So finding a journal article that is not too complex and reading it to look at its structure can come in handy.

In the end, this may seem like a cause for panic, but don’t worry. If you pace yourself and take a calculated step in the right direction you’ll be fine.

 

A Hitchhikers guide to choosing a university

  

📥  Faculty of Engineering, First year, International student, Yousuf

Choosing a place to study may seem like a difficult decision due to the many factors that are involved. It may seem overwhelming at times because there are so many good options that entice you into considering a course. However, a reality (and sanity) check must be made here because there is a lot depending on this and maintaining your academic momentum is essential. Here is a concise guide to the thought process I went through while deciding on the big five.

The first thing to do is to reflect. Look at your current grades and the grades that you are predicted, set a threshold of grades ranging from worst to best case scenario and start looking at university courses which are within that range. This is easier said than done because overconfidence may give things a silver lining, so take your time during this step and make a list of universities and courses that suit your aspirations.

When choosing a course look for additional things you can do to enhance your degree like joint degrees, placement years and language options- these can significantly increase your employability and add flavor to your studies.

Make sure you list the courses and their codes as this will make it easier for you in the future, and you can strike out choices as you narrow your decisions down. Another resource might be your teachers or advisers as they will obviously have some experience with higher education, make sure you take advice from a teacher whose class you enjoy because that’s where you’ll find the best advice.

Narrowing down your choices

This is where you will start to narrow down your choices to something more manageable.

One of the most important factors for me when considering my choices was the location of the university and its services. Start off by reading about the universities that you applied to and considering the type of location that they are in. Are they in the middle of a bustling city? Or next to a dairy farm? These are all personal choices that you have to make depending on the kind of lifestyle you’d like. If you have a sport or activity that you enjoy doing you may want to read about the facilities that the university is able to offer- this is critical because after a weekday crammed with study, you’ll be looking forward to unwinding during the weekend.

It might be helpful for you to attend the open days of the universities you are applying to: reading a review of the university online and visiting it in person are two totally different things and can make a world of difference when deciding. Taking a parent or older sibling along is also a great idea so you can get a second opinion and gain insight from their own experiences.

Library with a view anyone?

Library with a view anyone?

Making an insurance choice

Now that you’ve taken all factors into consideration you should have shortlisted your original list to around five universities, give-or-take. This is where I bestow the greatest piece of advice which I personally benefited from greatly. Have a good university that you believe you can get into in the event of a worst case scenario as your insurance choice. This will work as a safety net that will keep you moving forward if things go sour.

You can have any university you want as your other four choices, but a guaranteed insurance choice is a must.

Don't panic

Sometimes things don’t go the way you might expect them to. This is where you have to take life by the reins and start steering yourself through a path that you think will lead you to the long term goals you want to achieve (and enjoy yourself while doing so). There is an entire world for you to discover, and this is an opportunity for you to take a step into the unknown and find something that you really want to do, so don’t worry if you get a little lost along the way. Things can go in any direction and you have to find a way to taking advantage of any situation!

 

Freshers' Week: The story of a small fish in a big pond

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📥  Faculty of Engineering, First year, International student, Yousuf

Here I am, 7000 kilometers away from home. I do not live on university accommodation, I do not understand the bus system and I do not know anyone. I had to rent my own apartment in my first year, because I was late in applying for university accommodation. I miss busses or go on busses that take me into the countryside. I try to approach people but I lose all self-confidence and pull back. To add insult to injury I did not have a Freshers' bracelet so I couldn’t go to any events. Nonetheless, Freshers' Week was looming in, and the best I could do would be to find a way to participate somehow.

Going into university for the first day of Freshers' Week did not feel special for me, being a practicing Muslim, I thought that Freshers' Week would just glide past my calendar. I don’t drink, I don’t go to parties and I am a vegetarian- life of the party right? In spite of my shortcomings, I managed to find a group of friends who were open minded and accepted me for who I am. I felt comfortable going out with them and having fun doing things in groups that I would not really enjoy doing alone. They understood my religious obligations and did not pressure me into doing anything I am not comfortable doing.

One of the many friends I met during Freshers' Week

One of the many friends I met during Freshers' Week

One of the first things I tried during Freshers' Week was the free movie night hosted by the film society where I managed to stumble upon some people with similar interests to mine.  More notably I met a selfie collector; who goes around taking selfies of all the people he meets during Freshers' Week. After a conversation on everything sci-fi and the love-and-let-go movie night I became number 86 on his list of selfie pictures, we parted ways after that, but we still manage to bump into each other now and then. During my next induction, I managed to find someone I sat next to in a previous presentation who introduced me to a circle of friends, which was all that was necessary for me to get the ball rolling for Freshers' Week.

The idea of Freshers' Week, in my mind at least, is for the university to show what it’s capable of providing to its new undergraduates, both from a recreational and academic point of view. Walking into the parade for the first time, you will be amazed at how varied the sports on campus are; sports are not limited by the universities state-of-the-art sports village, but go beyond it. Sports like riding, mountaineering and gliding offer the opportunity to students to go off the beaten track for a nominal yearly fee, (if you are brave enough). Freshers' Week also takes time to show off the university's varied societies, if you couldn’t find your place during the sports fair, you will surely find a society that suits your interests, guaranteed. Period.

Some of the most memorable experiences during Freshers' Week, to name a few, would be the very self-explanatory pizza and board game night at the SU (Students Union) and the inflatables rides. Going to pizza and board games might seem silly during the first week of university where everyone is partying as hard as they can, nonetheless, playing an intense game of monopoly and finding our inner tycoons was a great opportunity to break the ice and meet new people. Inflatables on the other hand, actually caught me off guard. If you think about it, a bunch of undergraduate students jumping around on a bouncy-castle and nearly flying off into the grass field may turn you off the event, but just drag yourself there and you will be thanking me later.

A celebrity interview on campus

A celebrity interview on campus

All that I have been able to mention above has been my personal experience of Freshers' Week, I haven’t mentioned any of the parties, yoga sessions, campus challenges or the open mic nights because I did not have time to try any of them, but thinking of that now I should have made time. As Freshers' Week came to a close, it was time to go back to getting into the rhythm of going to bed early, organizing my weeks on my planner, setting reminders and deadlines. I look back at myself leaving home for the first time and not knowing what lay ahead of me. Throwing all sense of comfort out of the window and going out to do something I have never done before. Having to deal with things I didn’t understand and people I didn’t know. I look back at all of this with a grin on my face and the unquestionable beat in my heart saying, ‘More, more, more’.

 

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!