Student bloggers

Life as a student in Bath

Topic: School of Management

Enjoy the ride - the emotional roller coaster

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📥  International student, Mirella, School of Management

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

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

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

The rollercoaster!

The rollercoaster!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me Skyping with my friends

Me Skyping with my friends

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

 

International Management and Modern Languages - French

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

International Management & Modern Languages - French. I'm going to start off by abbreviating it to "FIMML", for obvious reasons.

This is the course I chose two years ago when I firmed my UCAS choices and so far, I definitely have no regrets. It's a cross faculty course in that whilst I may be in the School of Management, this semester, for example, over half of my classes are actually in PoLIS dept, which stands for "Politics, Languages and International Studies and is part of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences."

The reason I love this course is because it allows me to combine my love of studying a language along with business management which was what I wanted to study. It's hard to find a good degree for language and business - you'll often find that it will be 25% French and 75% business. With Bath it's much closer to 50/50 which means that you get properly immersed into the French language and you pick it up much faster.

Year 1 Modules

  1. French language (written, aural and oral)
  2. French Economy since 1945
  3. French Law
  4. French History 1930-81

As you can see here, it isn't just French business or French language. It's a lot more interesting. The course is designed to bring you up to speed with the French economy, government and it's legal system so that you fully understand the environment that businesses have to work in. Not only are these modules really interesting but you learn loads of specialised vocabulary which really boosts your French ability. Terms like "le dirigisme" which describes government intervention in business don't really have direct English translations.

  1. Microeconomics & Macroeconomics
  2. Statistics and Data Analysis
  3. UK Law
  4. Accounting for Managers

This is the English side of the course and each module seems to be designed to give you an understanding of different areas in order to make decisions - after all it is a management degree, and managers are decision makers.

I feel like everyone at university has a module that they don't enjoy. For me, this was Stats. So much Math. So many annoyingly uneven decimals. However, it's necessary as it helps you to understand how to interpret and process important data, transform it into meaningful information and present it.

Law was great - you learn about the English legal system and it's so interesting case law is full of examples which are usually quite humorous. The most interesting thing was what I learnt on day 1 when I found out that we enter legally binding contracts every single time we buy something at our local shop, whether that's a can of coke or a cell phone. Accounting is good as well, it's all about making things balance so you have a great sense of satisfaction when you finish a practice question and everything is equal and it's great. (Nerd moment)

Lectures & Seminars 

All IMML courses have a reasonably small intake, the largest is usually around 46. This means that unlike other courses where over a hundred other people are taking the same course as you, you actually get to know your course mates. We do share some modules with other courses but a lot of the french classes are usually much small which makes the learning a lot easier.

Some lecturers have started to adopt a system called Panopto. This records the lecture on video but it is also connected to the computer system in the lecture theatre so it also records the slideshow. This means that whenever you're revising and need to see part of a lecture again, it's really easy to go online and find the lecture you need and replay the part you need. You'll have 2 windows on your computer screen, one of the lecturer's computer so you can see everything he showed you in the lecture and another with an actual video of the lecture itself. This was a lifesaver for my Stats revision.

How much free time will I have?

Not going to lie, I have a lot of free time. Unlike the science students, I don't have lab hours so this semester I only have 14 hours per week. Of course I'm meant to do a lot of independent study on top of this but if you time manage properly and make the most of your time during the day by getting up early and starting at 9, you can pretty much have every evening and most of the weekend free.

Placement

This is the second reason that I knew I wanted to study at Bath. They have some amazing placement opportunities in your third year and these days, employers value experience above all else so the year will be invaluable. Some of their partners include big international names like BP and Zurich and they also have great connections with top French business schools.

You have one year of placement which you can choose to spend at a French business school, in a placement or 6 months in each which is what most people go for. This is probably why the employment rates for the course are so high (around 94%).

This has been a really brief overview of the course because there is so much I could write on every little detail. If you have any questions or about the course or university in general, I'm always happy to answer them in the comments section.

So if you're looking for a language & business degree, remember to check the percentage of each half of the course. Remember to check if they have a guaranteed placement and check the employment stats. You will struggle to find a degree as competitive as the Uni of Bath's.

Matt

 

Open Days

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📥  International student, Mirella, School of Management

I spent my past few Wednesday afternoons helping out at the Department Open Day events for the School of Management. These Open Days are for applicants who have already received a conditional offer from the University of Bath. As I know some of you might not be able to attend these Open Days, I want to tell you a little bit about what happens because I think if I had attended one of these Open Days last year, when I received my offer, I wouldn’t have been as scared as I was at the beginning of the university year.  So if you have an offer from the University of Bath, try and come to your Department Open Day – you won’t regret it and it will definitely help you to make up your mind if you actually want to study here.

First you will attend a talk by a professor and alumnae. They will talk about what you do in your course and what to expect and so on. Then current students show you around campus and answer your questions. So that’s where I am stepping in. I will show you, and maybe your parents or siblings, around campus and tell you how great our university is (I am not saying our university is great because I get paid for it – I actually mean it!) I know I can’t really do a virtual tour but I can just tell you some main parts, which might be interesting about the university, which you might not have known before.

  • We have two banks on Campus (Santander and Barclays)
  • We have our own supermarket  - So don’t worry, you don’t have to go to town to buy food, but most of the students order their food online anyways as it can be a pain to carry your shopping from the bus stop to your accommodation
  • We have a medical centre – If you are ill, you don’t have to leave campus to see a doctor or a nurse and we even have our own dental practice
  • We have a superb gym where world class athletes train – that’s why you are not allowed to take any pictures inside it
  •  We have a library which is open 24/7 – so you can get a book at 2 am if you want!
  • We have a security office on campus inside the library, which is there for you 24/7.
Watch out for the blue tops on a Wednesday!

Watch out for the blue tops on a Wednesday!

While I guide the prospective students and sometimes their parents, siblings or carers around campus, I try to engage them in conversations and encourage them to ask questions. So here are some questions I have recently been asked:

Do you have to be sporty to study here?
No, definitely not. We might have a superb gym and have a lot of sport clubs and societies, but if you are not into sports, don’t worry. We are not all sports mad here. Though, I have to say there might be a little bit of peer pressure to do some sports as so many people are part of sports societies, but some people just join sport societies for the fun socials and I have to say it is a great way to make friends.

What is the nightlife like in Bath?
We are a student city. So obliviously we have some clubs, bars and pubs, which host great students nights, nearly every day of the week. However, Bath is not a big city, as you might know, so you tend to go to the same places, but you can easily take the train to Bristol for a night out or some people even go to London for the weekend and stay with their friends.

Do you make friends easily here?
Yes, you do. In my opinion, everybody at the University of Bath is really friendly and open-minded and in the first few weeks everybody is new at the university and in most cases, they don’t have any friends here, so everybody is looking for friends.

Do you have a lot of free time?
This obviously varies from course to course, but I would say, everybody has leisure time and it just depends how you manage your time. Some people even fit part-time work in, while studying here.

Do you ever get bored on campus?
Of course! You can’t have action all the time, but if you get bored here, you can just visit some of your friends here on campus and hang out with them. 

Do you ever feel unsafe in Bath?
No, never. Bath is a really safe city and on campus we have got our own security people looking after us. The taxi drivers in Bath are even obliged to take you back to Campus even though you might not have any money on you, as Campus Security will pay for it and you just repay them the next day.

Do you ever go home on the weekends?
I don't but that's just because I am from Austria and it's not that easy to go to Vienna for just two or three days, but my flatmates do. They jump on a train with their dirty laundry in the luggage and spend a nice quite weekend at home away from all the university stress. Sometimes, I am really jealous of them, but then I Skype with my family and friends at home and I feel a little bit better. 

I can’t think of any more questions, but if you have the chance, come and see for yourself.  They are a great way to get to know the campus and to talk to current students and if you have any more questions now, just leave a comment below this post.

 

Business Administration at Bath

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📥  Harry, School of Management

With my first post of this semester I would like to take a look at my course, Business Administration, and show you what its actually like to be studying on the course at Bath. So if you’re considering studying a BSc in Business Administration (or BBA as it's so commonly called on campus) you’re reading the right blog post - and lets be honest, with so many great aspects of the course who wouldn’t want to study business, especially here at Bath.

So, firstly lets consider some key facts - the school of management (SoM) has been around a long time, since 1966 apparently, which means they’ve had a fair old time to work out how this business malarkey works. That is good news for students because it means that what you’re being taught, you know is going to be good, relevant and interesting stuff because it’s coming from leaders in industry and academia. The SoM offers a whole range of business and finance related degrees, but I am ever so slightly biased towards BBA so that’s what I’ll be talking about here, but if I can’t sell it to you don’t hesitate to check out the others, they’re all awesome.

The most notable thing  about the course (which you will have probably noted as well if you’ve made it this far) is the two mandatory 6 month placements. It is without doubt the most awesome feature of the course and can’t be emphasised enough. I’m currently going through the process of applying for my first placement and have just completed my mock interview. It’s a very exciting time because everyone is picking out places that they would like to go and work! The mock interview itself has also proved invaluable preparation as the placements office here get a multitude of real employers to come in, and over two days everyone gets to do a mock interview and receive feedback from the people who really do the hiring.

Interviews- practice makes perfect!

Interviews- practice makes perfect!

You’re randomly assigned an employer and I drew AS Watson, who are the holding company of healthcare chain Superdrug. It’s definitely an advantage of studying at Bath to be able to get exposure to such big names at such an early stage in your career. For me the interview consisted of a group exercise in which we had to build paper towers as tall as we could with the smallest amount of resources possible which was a challenging team working exercise followed by a one on one interview. Its a great experience, and a really valuable opportunity to learn about interview technique in a relaxed environment and perfect preparation for my real applications which is the next step!

Superdrug

The School of Management organises mock interviews with real employers, including Superdrug

Another great thing I’ve found particularly on BBA is the diverse range of both modules and skills you get to learn. This has two fold advantages because although in itself its great to have a diverse skill set and  knowledge of lots of different areas of business it also means the course draws a very diverse range of people which is a far greater asset to any aspiring business people! It’s truly amazing to be on a course with some many different types of people with so many different backgrounds and so many different aspirations. Creating a network of contacts in so many fields of business is invaluable no matter what area of business you think you might want to work in because you never know when those contacts might come in useful!

In the first semester we studied a range of introductory modules, all of which are compulsory. This is great because it gives you a grounding in all the key functions of business. For instance we took modules this year in Business Economics (my fav) because it looks at the microeconomic environment around businesses (and you get to use long words that make sure you sound smart). We have also studied other more maths focussed modules like Business Data Analysis and Accounting and Finance (although I should probably point out if you're not maths orientated like me, these really aren't as bad as they sound!). There's also modules in Law, People and Organisations as well as Business in Society which covers everything from contact law to how people interact in businesses.

All in all, its a fantastic course and I am really enjoying it. If you’d like to continue with a conversation about the course then drop me a comment.

Until then, over and out.

Harry.

Budgeting as a first year

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📥  Matt, School of Management

I often want to spend my money. All of it. Including the £1500 interest free overdraft which isn't actually my money. This is a poor life choice, don't do it.

Let's put things in perspective. I have £10.00 in my wallet.

To you, the average  teen, this may not seem like a lot and you're right, it's not really that much. However, let me show you £10 in terms of a student.

£10 is the equivalent of:

  • 5 all day tickets for the Bath bus service
  • 4 doubles and a mix at your favourite club
  • 1/2 of a weeks shopping if you shop at Asda
  • 1/3 of a weeks shopping if you shop at Sainsbury's or Waitrose (that's me)
  • 2 months Spotify Premium
  • Almost 2 months of Netflix
  • £682 if my premier league accumulator comes through this week

Before you come to university it's a really good idea to sit down and try and work out how much you expect to spend per week and compare this with your student loan and any other income you may be receiving from a part time job or parents.

I rely completely on my job and parents due to the fact that my student loan is £1500 less than my rent so believe me when I say, I understand budgeting.

Entertainment 

Entertainment is a necessary investment for most students.

For music, I started to use Spotify this year because if you use your NUS card, it's only £4.99 per month for Spotify Premium which allows you to download music to your phone, tablet and computer. It's a lot cheaper than buying music and you don't have to download every song as you can stream songs you only listen to once or occasionally.

For TV and movies, I use Netflix and the catch up sites such as iPlayer. For some shows that are harder to get, I use Now TV which is powered by Sky so I can watch some of the premium shows such as Game of Thrones for £7.99 a month. This is a non-contract service so you pay for one month at a time and there are no ties.

Entertainment total: £19/month

Food & Drink

How much you spend on groceries will depend entirely on what you buy and where you buy it from. I shop at Sainsbury's and I find that generally it costs me around £35/week to buy my groceries. I don't buy fizzy drinks and I don't buy frozen food and I don't buy a lot of snacks except those overpriced activia yoghurts that you tip the granola into but they're amazing so it's justifiable. I buy Sainsbury's branded products for all my basic stuff and then branded things for the foods that I specifically like.

I tend to avoid using the mini supermarket on campus. Whilst it is convenient if I run out of milk of something specific, it is generally considerably more expensive than supermarkets.

Try to buy in bulk when you see an offer on something that doesn't have an imminent use by date, this will allow you to save money in future. I bulk purchased baked beans in October and it saved me £10 and I'm still using them.

Also watch out for promotions for online shopping in September. Most supermarkets offer £25 off your first shop to gain your custom so just use them all for the first month and a half to save a lot of money.

Socialising

Whether it's going to a club or the cinema, socialising is often the most expensive part of your week. In Bath, a cinema ticket will cost you just under £10.

Entry to a club will be £5+ whatever you spend on drinks + transport (£2 for a bus and £10 for a taxi).

Other Costs 

Laundry costs me about £6 per week for 2 washes and 1 tumble dry. I could save money by using my drying rack but I'm too lazy.

Transport will cost you £2 for a day ticket in Bath when you travel with First. Taxis are quite expensive so avoid them when you can.

Textbooks are usually a very expensive part of university with most costing an average of £60. You will find that you will not need all of them. Talk to a second year on your course and they will tell you exactly which ones are important. Other ones you can get from the library or not use at all. I know that there are a few textbooks I bought for semester 1 and haven't opened yet. I also bought a textbook that I need off my flatmate for £20 that would usually cost £50.

My advice to any student is to save money wherever you can and use your NUS student discount no matter how little it is for. All of this will add up and it will mean that next time you're in the city and see something you want but don't need like a Nespresso machine, you can buy it with a little bit less guilt... Well a little less financial guilt!

Nespresso machine

This is Tom's Nespresso machine, because normal coffee is too mainstream

If you have any questions about any costs I haven't mentioned, leave a comment and I'll reply to you!

Until next time.

Matt

Management - A Review

  

📥  International student, Mirella, School of Management

Happy New Year! My first term studying Management with Marketing at the University of Bath is over and I think that I am therefore qualified to write a little review about my subject. It's probably the only review you will find online as I am one of the selected few who is in the first year of this new course. So if you are thinking about applying for one of the business degrees at the University of Bath or if you are just wondering how I am doing studying a brand new course here you should definitely continue to read!

8West - home of the School of Management

8 West - home of the School of Management

Management with Marketing, Business Administration,  International Management with French, Accounting and Finance etc.
The University of Bath might be known for their many science and engineering degrees and their world class sporting facilities, but it's also home to a School of Management. The Times ranked Bath in the top 5 for  Accounting and Finance and the Guardian ranked Bath 3rd for degrees in Business, Management and Marketing. If you want to find out more have a look here.

You can choose from a range of business courses like Management with Marketing, Business Administration, Management with French/Spanish/German or Accounting and Finance. Just have a look here if you want to read a little bit about the different degrees.  I considered applying for Management with Marketing, Management with French/Spanish or International Management, but decided to go for the one with Marketing as I thought it's the most "creative", and to me Management with French or Spanish sounded too much of work as you have half your classes in the language.  The university offers language courses anyway, and so I am taking an Italian class which counts for 3 credits and is once a week for two hours.

Management Suite
As I have stated Management with Marketing is a brand new course.  It's part of the so-called "Management Suite" which consists of the courses Management, International Management and Management with Marketing. Together we are about 120 students who study in their first year together and go to exactly the same lectures. So if you want to change course due to whatever reasons there are chances  you can actually do it in the first year (after you had a talk with the director of studies).  I don't want to promise that everybody can change easily but I know that the University will try to help you if you are unhappy.

On this note I just want to say that I think that our director of studies, Jens Röhrich, seems to be a nice guy who is there for you if you need some help academic wise. I haven't  spoken to him yet, but I know he is German (so German speaking just like me) and he recently gave a talk about the exams and what we can expect from them.

Lectures and Seminars
In the first year students from the Management Suite aren't allowed to choose subjects, so you just have to get along with the fact that you get introductions to the most vital areas of a business degree. So far I had the following subjects: Economics, Accounting for Managers, Business Context, Organizational Behavior, International Business Environment and Business Analytics. Most lectures are accompanied by seminars where you discuss and revise the topics of the lectures in small groups, which are quite helpful if you have any questions regarding the topics. As you know very well from school there will be some lectures you enjoy more than others, but most lectures change in the second semester.

The other future managers
We all know going to university is not only about the lectures you go to and the intellectual things you learn, but also about finding friends and having a good time while studying. As we are only  120 students you recognise most of the people by their face and probably know a quarter of them by name, and some of them you will even call you friends and that's only after 3 months at university.

The School of Management really wants you to get to know your colleagues, so in the first two weeks they organise some socials where you are able to talk to the other students in an informal gathering over beer and fizzy wine! After all, networking is really important if you want to be a manager in the future.

I am really glad that the School of Management organised them as I know it gave me the chance to become friends with people on my course and it's way more fun to be friends with the people you study with. At least I can say that I am always looking forward to lectures and seminars because I know there will be at least one person I am happy to sit next to and enjoy myself. And if you have a really boring lecture (yes, they exist) you can still be bored together with your friends!  On this note I just want to share a phenomenon I have experienced in my course. In all the lectures I have, most of the international students sit in the first rows while most of the British students sit in the back rows. You might get the hint that our course is quite international. I would guess about half of the students don't own a British passport and I love it.

Exams
I haven't had my exams yet, so please wish me luck  - hopefully I won't need it as I will have studied enough - but I know that our professors try to prepare us as well as they can and all of them have offered us to answer questions via Moodle - the university's study platform - or to utilise their office hours.

My rating
All in all, I would give the Management Suite 4.5 out of 5 and I am really happy that I chose it. It would have gotten 5 stars if they had us assigned a peer mentor -an older student who is studying the same subject and is able to answer some questions - but unfortunately as it's a new course there are no older students.

Why England? Doesn't it rain all the time?

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📥  International student, Mirella, School of Management

For us lucky university students it is already the Christmas break and I can write this in silence (!) in a big room. I don’t hear anybody shouting outside and when I open the fridge I see more than just a pack of cheese. So why did I want to trade this comfy life at my parents home for living in university halls in a country where they don’t speak the same first language as I do?

I have asked myself this question at one point or another in the last 12 weeks at the University of Bath. Mostly this question came to my mind when I tried to sleep but then I heard somebody just coming back from a night-out or when I wanted to have a nice dinner but then I remembered I only have cheese and pasta in my cupboard. But then I always think back. I think about why I wanted to study in England in the first place.

Quality of universities
England is known worldwide that they have some of the best universities of the world and that universities have world-class facilities like at the University of Bath where you can go to the Library 24 hours a day (not that I have ever been to the library after midnight but I could if I want to) or where we have a 50m Olympic size pool.

Language
My mother language is German and apart from Austria, Germany and Switzerland nobody speaks German, so for me going to England is the chance to improve my English and to be able to work anywhere in the world. English is the language nearly everybody learns and understands and I always wanted to be fluent in more than one language.

Employability
Everybody talks about how it is getting more and more difficult for university students to find a job after graduation.  At the University of Bath the employability rate of graduates after 6 months is 86%.  Furthermore, if I go back to Austria after graduation, my CV will stand out because I have studied in another country.

Sense of independence
Before I came to university I was certain that I would gain more independence from my parents and my family, but now I can say this is only true to a certain amount. I live more or less on my own and I don’t have to tell my parents what I do or where I go and I am responsible for my own washing, cleaning and cooking. But I do depend on their money. I know my parents are happy to pay for my living and I am grateful for that because as an EU or International student you don’t get a loan for accommodation and living, but to be honest I don’t like to live on my parents expenses. So maybe for the next semester I will look for a job to earn some money!

Internationality
England is a melting pot where many different nationalities and cultures live together and learn from each other and I always wanted to get more international friends, and now I have got them. On my course (Management with Marketing) we have students who are from Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Germany, Russia, Dubai, France, Lebanon, Poland and Belgium, and I think it is wonderful to have all these different cultures in a lecture hall.

History
I have never been to the University of Bath before I applied and even though I knew the University of Bath is a relatively new university (next year we are celebrating 50 years  of the University of Bath), I always hoped the University would have some old historic buildings, but I was fooled. The only old thing about the University of Bath is the logo. Everything else is new. I am still not sure if I like that but if I want to see some old buildings I just pop down to Bath because sometimes you even feel like you are in a Jane Austen book as nearly all the buildings are old and are from the 18th or 19th century. So even though the University of Bath unfortunately does not look like Hogwarts at all, you can still walk through the city and imagine that you are part of Northanger Abbey (a book from Jane Austen, which is based in Bath).

Roman Baths... and Bath Uni's logo

Roman Baths... and Bath Uni's logo

Now that I am home again I can tell you what I really miss about Bath.

The Bus Service
Most University of Bath students moan about the bus service as there are times when you have to queue a ridiculous long time to get a bus to the city centre but actually I think they are awesome. Bath is such a small city compared to my home town Vienna, but at least you can catch the bus till 3am to go back to campus during the week(!). In Vienna you have to take a taxi after midnight and only on Friday and Saturday you can take the underground 24hours.  Also something that is quite unique about Bath is that you always know somebody on the bus- I think there was only one time when I wasn’t able to greet anybody on the bus and that was on a Sunday evening when I was the only passenger!

The Campus
As I am an only child and live in the outskirts of Vienna I never had my friends around me all the time. In Vienna it takes me about 30 min to meet my friends and people never want to visit me because I live too far away. Bath it is different. You are with your friends all the time and sometimes it feels like a really long summer camp, and you are hardly ever alone if you don’t want to be alone and that is wonderful.

P.S. I don't think it rains all the time, because actually  I think the weather is quite nice most of the time but my friends always moan about the weather and my flatmate said in 11 weeks it has rained 9 times on a Monday.

 

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

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

Welcome to Bath Christmas market

Mulled wine, Bailey's hot chocolates, chestnuts roasting on an open fire (or in the microwave if you're a student). Yes, it can only mean one thing - it's almost Christmas and there are definitely many worse places to spend Christmas than Bath.

If you have ever visited Bath or if you ever plan to visit Bath, I can guarantee that you will love it. However, in the run up to Christmas, an already beautiful city becomes the Disney-type festive fairytale that, if taken with a glass of mulled wine, is a winter wonderland that everyone will love all thanks to the Bath Christmas Market.

Bath Christmas Market

Bath Christmas Market

It would be criminal to be a student in Bath and not visit the market at least once. Every day, bus loads of tourists come to Bath from across England and Wales - for University of Bath students it's a 10 minute bus journey. The market is also a fantastic opportunity for you to get some cheap clutter to give to your parents for Christmas. Buy your father a pointless wooden tie and get your mother a ceramic circle that doesn't seem to serve any purpose whatsoever. You can even get a personalised pillow for your dog. Yes, it may be stupid but it's cheap and it looks like you've put effort into your shopping.

The Christmas Market starts around 27th of November and runs for around 3 weeks until around 14th December. 170 wooden chalets line the city centre beside Bath Abbey - around every corner you are confronted with intriguing tastes and smells from candle makers to German hot dog stalls (which I would highly recommend investigating). To be honest, I only really go for the food. The streets are always packed full of shoppers doing their shopping. Bath is a fantastic city for doing your Christmas shopping because it's a small city with everything you could need within a 10-15 minute walk and because it's a student city, most shops offer up to 20% student discount! So don't worry, when it comes to the end of term and you realise that you haven't even begun to look for your friends' Christmas presents; an evening spent in the city will give you more than enough time to buy more than you actually need and more than they actually deserve.

You can see a comprehensive list of the market stalls here.

Whilst the market is a brilliant attraction in itself, there are loads of other Christmassy things to do in Bath at this time of year:

Climb Bath Abbey - £6 

The Abbey enjoys a position of being the flagstone of Bath at the heart of the city centre. The building itself is magnificent but if you think the pictures of the market so far are nice, imagine looking down on that from the tallest building in the city. Not to mention that this £6 includes a complementary glass of mulled wine or hot chocolate.

Bath Abbey overlooking the market

Bath Abbey overlooking the market

Ice-Skating 

You can do this in Victoria Park whenever you like but your hall reps will usually organise a group activity which you can sign up to. What better way is there to make it feel like christmas?

Flat Christmas

When living in halls, one of the best events of term is "Flat Christmas". This is where you celebrate Christmas early and do secret santa and have Christmas dinner with your flat in the middle of December. This year, a new eatery was opened on campus which is called The Limetree. For some reason unknown to us students, the Limetree decided that this year, they would give away free Christmas dinners for a weekend. It was of course a first come, first serve basis and you had to book tickets for sittings in advance online but my whole flat managed to get a really nice Christmas dinner for FREE. Yes, FREE. There's a good chance that they will be doing the same thing next year so keep watch on your emails if you decide to come here.

We then came back to our flat and put a video of a fire on our lounge TV, put up some fairy lights and distributed the secret santa presents. I received a hip flask which seemed like it had been wrapped by a 3 year old or a drunken 20 year old but I guess it's the thought that counts, right?

Our 'Flat' Christmas

Our 'Flat' Christmas

Now I need to change my flight home because I'm getting to go home 3 days early! Whoop whoop.

Matt

 

There’s an app for that… [Enterprise at Bath]

  

📥  Harry, School of Management

I’m a big technology fan, and certainly like to think of myself as a bit of an entrepreneur (I am a business student after all) so when I joined Banter, the society for Bath Entrepreneurs, and learned about their competition to design an app and win a trip to Silicon Valley in California you can be sure I was going to enter. The competition, called Apps Crunch is run by Enterprise Bath which is an alumni funded initiative run by the university which provides fantastic opportunities for entrepreneurs at the University of Bath.

Apps Crunch then, requires you to join together in teams or 2 or 3 (enter my cofounder Cecilia) to come up with an app idea (Back to Business - more on this in a bit!) to write a business plan, produce a wireframe for the app and then potentially present your idea at the finals for a chance to win the trip.

The level of competition was fantastic; having done a few business competitions back at school you really could see this was the next level. There were so many ideas that were genuinely innovative and original - something that is not easy to do in a world where there seems to be an ‘app for everything’.

So what was our idea I hear you ask! Well, without giving too much away we came up with Back to Business, an app that feeds information to small business owners. The rationale being that micro-business owners (businesses with 0-9 employees) spend far too much time searching out information that they need to know but simply don’t have to time to find. A prime example of this would be a change in health and safety regulations. Business owners need to know this, but unless they’re told when do they find out… usually when they’re in trouble for breaching the rules is the answer!

Back to Business

Our 'Back to Business' app

Our app aims to make sure business owners no longer find out these things when it’s too late. This is just a snap shot of what the app will do, but until it’s up and running you’ll just have to wait and see, I’m afraid!

So how did the competition go!? Well, the short answer would be to tell you that we didn’t win. Although the real answer would be to say we learnt a huge amount about writing a business plan, making a wireframe - digitally sketching out all the screens in our app (which neither of us have done before) and how to develop an idea from a simple concept to a realistic business plan. We’re already working on developing the idea into a proper feasible business plan through another of Bath Enterprises competitions and are now working with a mentor to add more direction to our work. It just goes to show that if you’re in the slightest bit entrepreneurial the support and encouragement from both the University and students around you can really inspire you to make cool ideas a reality.

I hope to be able to update you on our progress next semester. For more info on Bath Enterprise just check out their Facebook page!

Cheers, Harry.

 

Being dyslexic at Bath

  

📥  Harry, School of Management

I have always found it ironic that dyslexia is such a difficult word to spell - even now (being dyslexic myself) I had to use the spell check to make sure it was right.

In this post I’m hoping to share my experiences of what it’s like to be dyslexic at university, what support the university and the government can give you and what you need to do now in order to make sure all that support is available when you finally make it to Bath because if you’re thinking about revision for your A2’s now - blink and you’ll be here at uni in a flash!

Firstly, if when you filled out and submitted your UCAS application you declared yourself to have a disability (be that dyslexia or something else) then the universities that you declare as your first and second choice will most likely contact you with some (to be honest quite boring) but really important forms which you should definitely take time to fill out, as this is how the Uni will assess how they can best help you.

An alternative to typing!

An alternative to typing!

Secondly, and most importantly, check to see whether you’re eligible for the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) because this is an absolutely awesome initiative by the government that helps disabled students access the technology they need to be able to perform at their best at university. If you’re eligible then I believe you can already begin the application process by downloading an application form from the DSA website. I would recommend doing this as soon as you can because as with most government processes, it’s quite long. You may have to get an assessment of your disability completed before you can apply as well, and all these things take time to organise although hopefully your school can help you out with this!

So you’ve applied early, got all the necessary assessments done and the DSA people (whoever they are) have decided that you do indeed have a disability (of course you’ve know this all along but now they officially agree!), so what are the benefits. Well you start by going to another assessment, yes another one, called a needs assessment. Fear not though because this one is different! The assessment takes place at a local assessment centre so you won’t have to travel far. It takes place with an experienced professional who will first start by asking you questions about things like how you work, what technology you currently use and whether you think certain types of technology might be useful for you. The whole process isn’t rushed so you have plenty of time to talk about all your needs and even try out some of the dyslexia busting gadgets. In all I was there for about 2 hours but it varies depending on what you need.

It’s important to remember that this assessment is no longer about proving your disability but finding out how technology, strategies and learning support can help you at Uni. This is awesome because (even as a self confessed tech fan) I was so surprised at the software and support that could help me out. For instance as a result of the DSA I can now use a piece of software called Dragon that to dictate my essays. It may not sound much but for my specific needs it makes a world of difference. In fact, I’m even speaking out this blog post right now… creepy huh! “Hellooooooo”. Of course my flatmates think I’m a bit weird because I like to talk to myself in my room about how a rise in inflation could seriously affect small businesses but there are pros and cons to everything!

This really is just the start though, there is mind mapping software, read aloud software, advanced spelling software the list is endless. They can also help you out with providing new laptops, printers and personalised 1-1 support where you can get specific help with your learning disabilities, all which as I’m sure you know can make a massive difference. So yes, if you're like me (awesome and have dyslexia etc) then I can’t stress enough the benefits of applying for DSA, there is masses to be gained and nothing to lose!

If you would like any advice on applying or on dyslexia in general talk to either the Students Disability Advice Team or drop me a comment below!

Until the next post!

Harry.