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Life as a student in Bath

Topic: School of Management

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!

 

Joining Uni of Bath in September? What to expect...

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📥  Matt, School of Management

Congratulations! You made it to this blog post, and so there's a good chance you have been accepted into the University of Bath. We're ranked 5th in the UK according to the Guardian for this academic year so you can sit back and relax - you've made it into a great Uni with brilliant staff and some of the country's brightest  students and you're one of them. No pressure.

Whether you've completed IB, A levels or BTEC, Uni is probably the beginning of your adult life. You know how a caterpillar transforms into a beautiful butterfly? Well university is where you are transformed from an annoying school kid who thinks they know it all into a respectable member of society who pays their taxes, lives in the suburbs and has a Labrador. But first things first:

Arrivals Weekend & Freshers

Arrivals weekend is fast approaching and if you're like me, you're probably super excited to move into your own room and meet all your new friends, and so you should be! I arrived first thing on the Saturday which was great because I got to meet everyone as they arrived. I also got first pick of the cupboards in the kitchen. If you've seen Pitch Perfect, you may remember the scene at the start where the protagonist is arriving on campus and as she walks through there's loads of stands and cool kids and that girl moving in with about 300 teddy bears. Fully expect that to be the case when you arrive.

Don't be nervous or afraid - everyone is in the exact same boat as you.

Saying "Hello"

Chances are you've already been talking to some of your flatmates and course mates on Facebook. I'd already spoken to most of my flat before I got to Bath so it's a good ice-breaker if you can make a bit of conversation, but don't worry if you don't. You won't be able to make a proper impression until you've actually spent some time with your flatmates and impressions often change over time as everyone becomes more comfortable and more like themselves anyway. And you will be closer to some flat mates than others - that's just how it works.

Doing Things

Rule #1 of arrivals and freshers - do things. Do everything. Get involved! There is so much to do and so many free things being given away. There should be an online Freshers' Week timetable provided by the Students' Union but it only includes the main events. You can find loads of info on Freshers week here. If you're at a loose end go and explore the campus with your new friends and you will find loads of things to do. There will be a number of opportunities to attend the Freshers' Fair. This is a great opportunity to explore all the clubs and societies that the University of Bath has to offer from sports societies to the Cheese & Wine society if that's what floats your boat. A full list of societies can be found here.

There will also be a departmental specific timetable for Freshers' Week which will include a lot of introductory sessions which are really useful in terms of getting to know more about university life.  This will be made available to you online from your department. Not everything will be compulsory but everything will be worthwhile.

It's obviously an emotional time for saying goodbye to your parents who you may not see again for another 3 months but it's really important that you do make time to spend with your new friends.

You may also find some romances developing within your flat group. This is strictly prohibited among most flat groups but like all rules, it was made to be broken. It is particularly common during Freshers' Week and if it continues after this, you will often find that people refuse to put a label on it to avoid "complications" if things go wrong. If you find yourself in a flat romance, just try to keep it secret for as long as possible but don't kid yourself - people will eventually find out and they will feed off the drama like drama vampires.

Your First Week of Lectures- what to expect

Much like during school, the first class of any module will generally be an introduction to the course. Your lecturers and seminar tutors will often outline their plan for the semester and discuss the sorts of topics that you will be covering. They will also inform you as to the methods of examination and assessment - this may be written coursework; an individual or group presentation and of course, exams.

It is important to make a note of your coursework deadline in the first week and plan a time in the semester to start it because unlike school, you are not spoon fed. Your lecturer's will rarely advise you to start your coursework at any time and may not mention it again until after the deadline has passed. However, if you have any questions about it you can email them for guidance or talk to them after a lecture. They will rarely tell you what you can write but they can give you general advice to help you understand the question. They may also be able to guide you to useful resources such as library books.

These introduction lectures can be a little tedious. However, even if a lot of the information given may seem of little importance there will be key points on coursework and expectations that it will be important to take note of.

During the second week, you will dive straight into learning. Lectures are completely different from school and they're loads better. You can take your laptop to take notes and if you really want to, you can just sit on Facebook for 2 hours but this will be of no benefit to you in the long run. On one occasion during a statistics lecture, the lesson started off talking about mean, median and mode. Of course, I decided that this was a pointless exercise; opened up my Macbook and started playing that game on Sporcle where you have 15 minutes to name all the countries in the world. Bad idea. After I'd named about 87 countries and couldn't remember how to spell Kazakhstan, I reverted my attention to the board which was now filled with difficult algebraic formula which I did not understand at all.

From this day, I made a personal rule to avoid bringing my laptop to lectures. However, if you have more self discipline than I do then you may find the assistance of technology invaluable in the classroom.

To stay on track, the best thing to do is to plan a time to read through each lecture again shortly after the original. Some lecturers make a great use of a service called Panopto. This software records lectures. It has a video camera which records the lecturer but it also records the lecturer's computer monitor so you can see any powerpoints or videos they may show alongside it. This is an incredibly useful revision tool if you need to refer back to a specific lecture where you don't remember something.

Online Resources

To make the most of your time at university, there are 3 main web resources available to you as a student which you will use on a daily basis.

Moodle

Moodle is an online portal where you can log in with your Bath ID and you will find links to all the modules in your course. Here, lecturers will put up resources for each lecture. This may include powerpoints to accompany the lecture, practice questions and answers and extra reading material that they may want you to read over. My economics lecturer always posted links to funny and interesting podcasts relevant to the lecture.

Most subjects also put online multiple choice quizzes on Moodle. These are a fantastic way to revise as they grade you each time and give you feedback on your answers, often explaining why you may have chosen the wrong answer.

Webmail

Webmail is your university email address. This will become your professional email address for the next 4 years so if you apply for placements or other such things, I'd advise using this. You can view it online, and there are instructions on the University of Bath website on how to access webmail via your phone or computer's email application if you prefer using applications over the web, which is what I chose to do.

It is important to check your emails a few times every day because important information from lecturer's and heads of department will be communicated to you via this method. One girl in my flat never checked her emails and one month later realised that she'd missed meetings with her personal tutor and director of studies; vital information for coursework and also rescheduled seminars!

SAMIS

SAMIS is where you can go online and view a few specific pieces of information and carry out certain tasks such as viewing grades, uploading copies of your passport and also receiving important information about your university application - bursaries, scholarships and registration information.

Other Essential Advice

Last October I wrote a blog post detailing my advice to Freshers. In it I included loads of things that I experienced first hand during my first month at University. It is full of even more advice for anyone joining us at Bath this September! And of course if you have questions that aren't answered by this blog, you can post a comment and I will reply personally.

So it's time to go back to work. I'm writing this blog on A level  results day and today I'm working in the admissions call centre for the university. If you've called us today with questions about your place or application there's a good chance we may have had a chat already! So good luck, and I'll see you in September!

#gotintobath

 

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!

 

Personal Statement... where do you start?

  

📥  Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, Matt, School of Management

If you are starting to think about applying to university in September then you will probably be starting to think about (and hopefully not panic about!) your UCAS personal statement.

Writing a personal statement is somewhat like beginning to write a blog post - you have no idea how to start it and next thing you know, it's your deadline day and you write the first thing that comes into your head. That's what I'm doing right now and yes, it makes a pretty witty start to this blog post but if you do the same thing with your personal statement, it probably won't work. And if it does work, you should probably forget about Uni and just jump straight into being an author, write a good book, make millions and retire at 35.

When it comes to your personal statement, you need to dedicate the time and effort that it deserves because even if you can get 4 A*s the person with the same grades and a cracking personal statement may take your university place from you, so here's some advice!

Introduction

First impressions count, even on paper - your introduction should be short but effective. I know some people who start using quotes, others who suggested ideas that they had relating to the course they wanted to study. I wanted to study French and International Management so I used a bit of both by saying:

"If I asked you to think of the greatest invention of all time, what would you imagine?

I believe that it is language and the ability to communicate with other people."

Writing about your Choice of Course

After this it is good to talk about why you chose the course you're applying for. Things you should think about are:

  • Why you enjoy the subject
  • Is there a particular aspect that you are interested in?
  • Do you look forward to studying the subject in greater depth?
  • Did your work experience confirm your interest?
  • Do you have a particular career in mind and why do you want to follow it?

Writing about your work experience

This is a good opportunity to show the university how your work experience has confirmed your interest in your area of study. It is also an opportunity for you to list any skills that you may have had a chance to develop, such as:

  • Communication
  • Team work
  • Independent work
  • Computer literacy
  • Managing others
  • Working to deadlines
  • Diplomacy
  • Problem solving

If you have had a work experience placement through your school or college that has nothing at all to do with the course you are applying for, don't worry! If you want to, you can talk about how your work experience affirmed that you did not want to work in that area. If this is the case, be sure to state something that affirms the choice of course you are making now!

Writing about your school / college experience

In this section, you should concentrate on your most recent years of study as experiences you gained when you were 13 are not as relevant as your more recent experiences. You should use this section to show the university that you are able to cope with the pressures of studying at university. Things you should show you are:

  • Self-motivated
  • Self-disciplined
  • Sociable
  • Independent
  • Able to strike a balance between work and relaxation

Writing about your extra-curricular activities

For most people, the vast majority of relative experiences will be gained within school and college but if there is something that you have achieved or experienced outside school that you feel is relevant, you should mention it here. This can be anything from hobbies to part time work or maybe a club you are part of outside of school or perhaps a sporting involvement.

Conclusion

You should use this last, short paragraph to sell yourself one last time. Bring the reader back to your choice of degree or your ability to be successful at university. It is important to present yourself as someone who will be able to take care of themselves at university. Do not be tempted to mention why you want to go to a certain university as this may prejudice any other universities that you have selected.

Final Tips

  1. Make sure your spelling and punctuation is perfect. Get someone to proof read it for you.
  2. If you have a reference writer, work with them. Plan it so that you are both saying different things. This way you maximise the amount of content you can include. If you both spend time talking about the same thing, it’s a waste of characters.
  3. Do not have unnecessary repetition
  4. Do not confuse self-confidence with empty boasting - they'll just think you're a spanner.
  5. Avoid negative words like "bad, fault, fail, hate"
  6. At the end of every sentence, ask yourself, "So what?" This will help you to make sure that you haven't wasted any characters. Every single sentence should give the university one more reason to want you.

So go and do it. Don't stress out. You will redraft it about 400 times. You will probably drink 476 cups of coffee. Just try not to miss the January deadline.

Good luck!

What do you with 4 months of summer?

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📥  Matt, School of Management

It's May and that means one thing for any student whether you're doing your A levels or your degree - it's cramming time. It's time to catch up on all the work you didn't do during the year because you had better things to do like watch boxsets and spend all your time on Yik Yak. (If you're an A level student you haven't got Yik Yak yet, download it from your phone's app store. It's probably more essential for university than your student loan). Also, if you're a wannabe University of Bath you should check out "Best of Uni of Bath Yik Yak" on Facebook.

I just finished my Accounting exam which I don't think went awfully. My income statement & balance sheet didn't balance by over £300,000 but when you're dealing in millions, what's a couple of thousand here and there? But no seriously, it should have gone alright. In a week my exams will have finished and so begins university summer which for you non-university students means 4 months of holidays. So what do you do with that much free time?

Summer Ball

On the Saturday after exams end, the Uni hosts a summer ball. This is a black tie event but with loads of things to do. There's loads of bands and DJs (We're getting Hodor from Game of Thrones this year) as well as loads of random events and fairground rides. It spans across the whole campus and is apparently lots of fun! I'll be sure to write a blog on it once I've seen it for myself.

Move out of accommodation 

Exams ended on 29th May and most of my friends left between 1st-3rd June. We took a couple of days to put all our things into storage for summer. This is really straight forward to do and most people rent shared storage with their flat mates for the 4 months.

Get some experience

If you haven't already got something to do, try and organise some work experience! Like a placement, internship or something to add to your CV to show that you're trying to better yourself for outside of Uni. For example, my friend is going to China to teach English to kids. She's doing a marketing degree and it's not really that relevant but it's still much better than sitting at home doing nothing for 2 months! I had a free month in June so I've arranged to go and live with a French family and teach their kids English and improve my French at the same time. Hopefully this will help my when I'm applying to placements in French companies during my second year.

Get some paid work

If you can, try and get a job for July and August. University is expensive and you can save up some money during the summer which you can use to help you remain comfortable during the next year of university. I'm working July - August here in Bath to try and save a bit of money. This works well for me because the contract for the department I'm renting next year begins in July so I have to pay for the accommodation anyway.

Travel 

It's true what people say - you need to travel as much as you can while you're young because when you're older you don't have the same amount of free time to see the world. Not to mention, it's nice to get away from the UK for a while to enjoy yourself. After finding flights to San Francisco for £420 return, my friend and I decided to go on holiday in September before Uni starts again. However, after realising that the trip would cost over £1200 in total, we settled for a trip to Ibiza for which the flights are £90 and where his uncle owns a luxury villa where we can stay for free. Bargain!

On top of this I'm going to spend a week in Germany to visit someone and see what all the fuss is about. So my summer is jam packed. In fact, I will only get to go home for 1 week in the space of 8 months. When you're at uni like Bath, your friends will be from all across the world and you'll all be able to visit each other and stay with each other for free and have a personal tour guide of the place you're visiting. This is the cheapest holiday you'll ever have so make use of it.

So start thinking about what you'd like to do when you have 4 months to do whatever you want!

 

RAG Week: Bath2Paris HitchHike!

📥  Harry, School of Management

A few weeks ago I took part in one of RAG ('Raise and Give') Week's biggest events - the annual Bath2Paris Charity Hitchhike. This is the story of how I, or rather we, (introducing Megan my fellow BBA course mate and hitchhiker extraordinaire) hitched (almost) all the way to Paris and raised over £500 for four local Bath charities.

So as I mentioned, every year 30 or so teams hitch from Bath2Paris for some amazing charities. This year we were raising for:

  • Time2Share which aims to reduce social isolation by recruiting volunteer befrienders to visit service users to build the confidence and self-esteem of young disabled people in a friendly and non-judgemental environment
  • Jamie's Farm who use a unique 'family, farming and therapy' method to transform the lives of vulnerable inner city children, acting as a catalyst for children to make positive changes, and supporting their teachers to make a lasting difference
  • Forever Friends raises funds to support thousands of patients cared for at the Royal United Hospital in Bath, currently supporting the Cancer Care Campaign to build a new cancer centre
  • Unseen who provide emergency 24-hour accommodation at a 8-bed safe-house for female survivors of human trafficking.

I urge you to check these out if you think you can help, they are all brilliant causes.

So on the 17th of April, at exactly 8:20am dressed as Mario and Luigi (because why not of course) we set off from the Students' Union in the hope of getting to Paris in the shortest time possible! They staggered each teams departure time and marked your arrival time to calculate who made it fastest to Paris, and being just a tad competitive we were quite keen to give this a good shot! Oh how young and naive we were…

Looking the part

Looking the part

First port of call was the campus bus stop - with hardly anyone leaving campus at this time we decided to try and blag our way onto the Number 18 bus. Shoutout to the driver who kindly gave us a free ride down to the bottom of Bathwick Hill and then it was a walk to London Road to try and get us a our first lift. Given our optimism we through we’d wave our sign around a bit and see if we could attract a lift on the walk. Lo and behold the first car stopped and took us to the petrol station on London road. In utter disbelief another 5 minutes later we where in the back of a builders van on the way to the motorway. Comments such as “I thought hitching was supposed to be difficult” and “well this isn’t so bad is it…” were thrown around with a lightheartedness that only the blissfully unaware could manage.

On arrival at the lay-by before the motorway that leads from Bath to London we hopped out of our kind builders van and set about flagging down our next ride. 10 minutes passed and a lovely kind women stopped and offered a lift - Megan, not familiar with the local geography, was ready to jump in the car before I had to point out that in fact Bristol was in completely the wrong direction to London. Crisis averted it was only a few more minutes before Lauren, our next driver was to stop and offer us a lift all the way to Surrey! In utter disbelief we climbed aboard the rather lovely Audi and were well into the front runners (being able to track everyone's progress via the hitch’s website). I think it was at this point we began thinking we’d be in Paris by the evening, and were trying to work out how to spend our Saturday in Paris. Oh sweet optimism.

The plan was to get dropped at Cobham Services, a massive station south of London on the M25. From here we were confident we could catch another lift towards Dover and the Ferry. This is where things took a bit of a turn. The service station was closed. Some rather frantic planning ensued as our driver was now late for work. We had to get dropped at the next junction, not ideal. We then became stranded in Surrey for 2 hours of constant waving of signs as optimism dwindled and our emphatic ‘get a hitch dancing’ with it. Having moved around several times we decided we had to try something different. A quick Google Maps search later revealed the closest petrol station was an hours walk - stick or twist moment. We decided to go for it - beginning with a leisurely stroll though the woods followed by walking through the poshest private school in the country (it looked like a village on the map honestly!) and being photographed by what felt like every child in the school as we sheepishly walked through the playground at lunchtime. Much to both their and our amusement.

Exhausted we finally arrived at the promised petrol station, exhausted and deflated after over 3 hours of waiting around and walking. But once again the hitching gods shone down upon us, in the form of Rachel our next lovely driver who pulled over almost immediately as we arrived at the petrol station. The feeling of elation would only rise as Megan managed to secure us all a free dinner and drinks at what must be one of the friendliest pubs in the UK (if you’re ever in Surrey definitely get yourself down to The Feathers). With morale back at maximum we hit the road en route to Maidstone - seemingly within touching distance of Dover and the Ferry.

The delays (and to some extent to the time spent at the pub) meant we’d now fallen into the mid-pack in the race, and this proved to be our downfall. With many teams now saturating service stations on the way to Dover getting lifts was proving ever difficult. A few uneventful rides later we arrived in Dover at about 5pm. With the vision of just being able to get on the Ferry that evening and finding a potential lift to Paris onboard we hitched our hearts out on every lay-by in Dover but alas, it was not to be. At 7pm we decided to concede and pay to get on the ferry (this was within the rules of the competition yes, given how difficult it is to get onto the ferry). To our dismay upon arrival in the port we found that they’d stopped taking foot passengers until the morning. Gutting.

We went back outside with heavy hearts and tried one last time to hitch onto the ferry. With the light fading and seemingly endless hooligans of Dover pouring onto the streets we decided to call it a night. We start walking toward the Premier Inn to get a room when we bump into another team - Enter The Swiss Roles (Chris and Tach). Having offered us cake we instantly become friends and agreed the bar was the only place we should be heading so off we went. The Premier Inn, being the only place to look more favourable to stay in than a cardboard box (sorry if you live in Dover) was unsurprisingly full. So we headed back up the high street to find a rather dubious hotel. Now, words cannot really describe how poor the hotel was so I’ll leave you with the fact that is was £10 per person per night and some reviews I found on Google, and leave you to imagine what staying there was like…

'Mixed' reviews

'Mixed' reviews

Up bright and breezy the next morning (or more like Chris and Tach where) as we hauled ourselves out of bed to try and hitch one last time onto the Ferry. Eventually admitting defeat once more we paid to get on, in the hopes we could talk to all the passengers on the ferry and try and get us a lift to Paris from there. Alas, it was not to be - either the Mario Brothers or The Swiss Roles where able to get a lift off the Ferry at all and a long march into Calais followed. There isn’t a lot to see in Calais, bar their magnificent clock tower (pictured) which we’re fairly sure they spent the entire town's budget on before remembering they needed to build the rest of the town.

A few more hours of desperately trying to get a lift followed, but even when we deployed the Swiss Roles secret weapon - the ability to speak French, we were still unable to get a lift. As the hours wore on, we eventually decided that we’d have to get the 2pm train to Paris or not make it before the deadline. So unfortunately, we didn’t quite make it all the way there hitching, but there was some relief in that while sat on the train we were joined by the smurfs and a plethora of other teams showing how difficult it really is to hitch the whole way there.

Paris!

Paris!

Nevertheless, we raised a huge amount of money between us and that was reason for celebration enough so in Paris we treated ourselves to crepes, wine, good food and explored the city by night which was, needless to say, great fun. So, if you’re reading this and thinking of coming to Bath next year then I can’t recommend enough signing up for the Hitch- it’s a rollercoaster of emotions but this is just one story of so many that were made this year. Don’t miss the chance to find out yours!

 

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!

Laughs after Lectures

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📥  Harry, School of Management

There are so many fantastic things to do in Bath, and if you don’t believe me then you seriously need to check out the Bath Leap list because there are many, many cool things on there. This post is all about my suggestion for a really good evening of entertainment in Bath for those who like a laugh with the option of a bit of a dance afterwards too. I am of course talking about Komedia - the city's comedy/night club!

Komedia Bath

Komedia Bath

The evening kicks off when myself and some course mates head on down to the bus stop at campus to catch the 18 bus down into town for about 7pm in time to grab a drink before the Comedy Club kicks off at 8:00pm. Last night we actually went to a ‘new acts and new material night’ which meant entry was just £2. Yes, a whole £2 for 3 hours of comedy where comedians get to try out their new material on an audience for the first time. However, some thorough research (quick Google) tells me the usual night costs £10 with a student card (which is still fantastic value if you think about it!). Now, a new comedy night you say… I know what you’re thinking… an evening of cringe worthy comedy and mediocre laughs.

Well, to be honest that’s kind of what we where expecting for £2 but oh where we wrong. It was awesome - the venue is really cool down at Komedia, varying in the way the place is set up depending on the event. For the standup the setup was quite intimate and had a distinct comedy club type feel to it. We were lucky enough to have a total of 9 acts performing, and although of course some were better than others on the whole it was a night filled with a lot of laughter. I could try and repeat some of my favourite material from the night here, but that will inevitably go down like a lead balloon so I’ll save you the struggle and just recommend you head down to Komedia and try it for yourself. If you’re a bit of a comedy junky like me then you’ll love it, if not - you don’t know what you’re missing, get involved!

The night doesn’t have to end there though, oh no - because as part of your entry to the comedy club you also get a free ticket to Komedia’s club night ‘Motorcity’. Now, confession time - I haven’t actually done a night where I’ve been to both the comedy club and Motorcity in one night, but I have done them separately. Having said this, judged on their individual merits I can imagine them combined to be seriously good fun! The theme for Motorcity is very much Motown, Soul, Funk and Disco so get ready to get some serious groove on, don't take yourself to seriously and you’ll be sure to continue the comical theme to the evening.

During first year, assuming you live on campus, after you’re done boogying on down its just a short walk to the bus stop, with buses running until the early hours of the morning its never too long (warning: it may feel like years) before a bus comes and takes you back up to campus. So that is my idea of a pretty good Saturday night in Bath - which just leaves Sunday to sleep it all off and perhaps enjoy a walk around Bath’s beautiful countryside (but that’s a story for another blog post!)

Until then,

Harry.