The heart of Bristol: living in the city centre

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by Razaan, BSc(Hons) Civil and Environmental Engineering

Hi, I’m Razaan, and I am currently a third year student at UWE Bristol. I’ve been living in the city centre ever since I started studying here, and it has its pros and cons. In this post, I’ll walk you through what it’s actually like living in the centre as a UWE Bristol student.

Continue reading “The heart of Bristol: living in the city centre”

Why choose Bristol?

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by Mercedes, BA(Hons) Drama and Creative Writing

To choose to live in Bristol as a student is to choose to enter into a completely different way of exploring, moving, creating and living. There isn’t a corner of the City that isn’t signed with some form of creativity and individuality, and they’ve left no room to question the authenticity of the people and appreciation of the history.

Bristol has mastered a way of being all-inclusive

Mercedes

Bristol has mastered a way of being all-inclusive — from the party-goers to the theatre-goers, to those who prefer artisan coffee shops and a good page-turner, to those who are desperate to keep the kids entertained for half-term, to the history fanatics, to those who love a good shaded spot on the grass with good company, to those who love a bit of ‘me time’ — there is something here for everybody.

To all of the foodies out there, you won’t be left disappointed. I’m yet to find a cuisine that doesn’t have its own place. They’re dotted all over the City too: Harbourside, Stokes Croft, Gloucester Road, Clifton, Cabot Circus, Cribbs Causeway — thank me later, and “Bon appetit!”

Creatives, whether on your own or with a group, a whole weekend can be planned to get the creative juices flowing. You can go to places such as the Arnolfini or Spike Island, or get lost in the fresh air up at the Clifton Suspension Bridge, or even in the array of quirky cafes to plan your next project.

Bristol has an amazing understanding of community

Mercedes

Bristol has an amazing understanding of community, and it’s almost as if everyone and everything is working in tandem to keep the buzz of the City alive. Every campus has a different atmosphere, but all comfortable in their own right, and you can feel the drive of each student independently yet collectively working together to create two of the best Universities in the UK.

No matter where you’re coming from, Bristol is definitely a home away from home — and the more you put in, the more you’ll get out of it.

Find out more about living and studying in Bristol

Meet Willis

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Master in Research (MRes) Applied Sciences

Before I came to UWE I would have described myself as shy and lacking in confidence. I was also sceptical about going to university as very few of my friends were going and I would have been the first of my family to attend. Despite this however I soon flourished at UWE, finding the more mature education environment the perfect space to grow.

Having focussed on Science as my passion, particularly Chemistry and its application, I knew that if I were to go to university this is what I wanted to study. It wasn’t until an open day at UWE however that I saw my first working laboratory. It was this that sparked my decision to apply to UWE and begin my journey into Higher Education.

It has made me a more confident, disciplined and capable person, ready to push and challenge myself in all aspects of life.

I started with a foundation course in Science as this allowed me to enrol on the university’s Forensic Science course. Once I began my undergraduate course I found the staff extremely passionate and experienced in their field which was reflected in the course modules and content. I decided to focus on the Chemistry pathway and regularly received top marks for my assessments, securing a place on the Dean’s List in Years 1 and 2 and eventually graduating my undergraduate degree with a first class honours.

Because my confidence grew in my academic life I started to find confidence outside of lab as well. In my first year at UWE I wasn’t able to secure halls and keen not to miss out, I soon joined the UWE Archery Club. Here I made new friends and in my second year I became president of the club and Equipment and Safety Officer, something I am extremely proud of.

I am now working towards my Masters in Research in Synthetic Medicinal Chemistry and I could not have predicted how much I would gain from my degree and time at university. It has made me a more confident, disciplined and capable person, ready to push and challenge myself in all aspects of life.

Christmas time at UWE Bristol

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by Meg, BA(Hons) Business Management with Marketing

With Christmas right around the corner, we asked Meg to create a vlog about things you can get involved in on campus and in Bristol to get into the festive mood.

Some of the events that were held by UWE Bristol were:

  • Christmas SUesdy – a Christmas Party held at the Students’ Union.
  • UWE Bristol Christmas Concert – an evening of music, held annually at the Bristol Cathedral, presented by students and members of UWE’s Centre for Music.
  • Winter Warmers – a free end of term celebration where you can build a gingerbread house, watch a festive film, grab some non-alcohol mulled-wine, mince pies and other festive treats.

If you’ve missed out – no need to worry, there are still Christmas events yet to happen at UWE Bristol:

  • Visit the Bristol Christmas market – 21 December – a trip to the city centre as a group to go and explore the Christmas market where you can explore up to 50 unique store and treat yourself to some food and drink.
  • Carols around the tree – 21 December – outside the Business Building and the SU there will be carolling which you are more than welcome to join.
  • Christmas Lunch – 25 December – Get in the festive spirit by joining other students who are staying on campus or in Bristol over the winter break for a delicious Christmas Day lunch followed by festive movies and board games.

For a full list of ongoing events visit here.

What a postgraduate degree can do for you

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By Nicola, MRes Social Science

So, you’re considering doing a postgraduate degree. That’s great! Postgraduate degrees are an awesome opportunity, and I should know – I’m currently doing one! I’m studying for an MRes in Social Science, and am loving it. This blog post will hopefully provide a little insight into what doing an MRes is like, how I got here and what a master’s degree can do for you.

When I decided that I might want to do a master’s degree, I was feeling a little bit stuck. I had graduated with an undergraduate degree almost exactly a year prior, and since then, I had had a string of temporary jobs, followed by a permanent office job which I definitely did not enjoy. I missed university, and the freedom I had as a student; I missed learning every day and actually using my brain. So, I started looking for master’s options, and talking to friends and family to ask for advice. After a few days of searching, I found the MRes in social science and fell in love with the description and the course layout. I knew it was exactly what I was looking for.

As soon as I started the course, all my fears and concerns disappeared: it felt like riding a bike or putting on a favourite cosy jumper.

I realised that I loved education and academia. Even through the intense workdays, or the moments where I feel overwhelmed with all that there is left to do, I know that I am doing something that I love and once that work is done, I truly feel proud of it. I have wonderful supervisors who ensure that I am supported throughout my course and other incredible members of staff who are clearly passionate about the subjects which they teach. Put simply: it feels good to be back.

So, what can a postgraduate degree do for you? Well, in my experience, the biggest benefit has been an increase in confidence. A year ago, if you had told me I had the ability to do a master’s degree, I would never have believed you. Yet, here I am, doing it! I’ve presented my work at conferences, I’ve carried out in-depth interviews with participants, and I’ve got stuck into my project module. Friends and family have noticed my increased confidence too, so it’s not just me.

Postgraduate study also gives you an opportunity to really delve into a topic. I haven’t even finished my final project yet, but I have learned so much, and with such depth. Unlike undergraduate study, where you usually have to do a little bit of everything, postgraduate courses allow you to pick a subject, and then fully immerse yourself in it; digging out the facts and finding new sources.

Every day, I learn something new about my topic, and I feel as though I am becoming more and more of an expert each time I do.

Undertaking postgraduate study is a big decision and commitment, so make sure that you think it over properly. But if you’ve read any of this blog and thought “that sounds like something that would suit me”, or words to that effect, I would definitely recommend a postgraduate course for you. Believe in yourself and give it a go. If I can do it, so can you!

Find out more about postgraduate study at UWE Bristol.

Top tips on how to engage with your course

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by Ethan, LLB(Hons) Law

Engaging with your course is about more than just making sure you attend lectures and complete course work (although it does play a part), its also about interaction with others and having the the right mindset to do it for yourself. In my first year I found that the more you put in, the more you get out, whether that is socially or on an educational basis.

Engaging with your environment is so important when wanting to benefit fully from university, however it isn’t easy for everyone to just throw themselves into, which was definitely something I struggled with at the beginning. Hopefully this will tell you how I did it and show you how you can too.

Engaging with your environment is so important when wanting to benefit fully from university

Firstly, the more groups you form and surround yourself with, the easier you’ll find it. A way that I went about approaching this and that went great for me was connecting to people through societies related to my course. These societies perfectly pair both social and educational engagement in a very fun way. This also goes for other groups you can take part in. For me it has been pro-bono groups in law, that allowed me to do actual legal work, connecting me with people from inside and outside the university whilst having a great focus on my legal degree. Groups will also get you involved in web pages and group chats that can also be a great help. I also applied to be a student ambassador which is a really great way to not only get work but also allowed me to form relationships with people who were like minded.

When I first moved to this university I knew very few students and all my flat mates were on a different course. This made lectures quite daunting as I would attend alone and knew no one and it made me less engaged with my course and the university as a whole. However purely just by attending frequently and sitting in the same place you meet others around you who are also doing the very same, making that daunting environment a comforting one. This also gets you into a mental routine which allows you to be more rigid with yourself, so you don’t begin to fall into the downward spiral of not attending lectures and workshops.

There are many ways that will allow you to engage at university, it’s just down to you to take those opportunities.

I discovered that the more you engage with others around you the more comfortable they will feel talking to you and this is something that you can benefit from. For example, when I was first set coursework I went away and worked without discussion and kept my thoughts to myself. My work came back okay but it turned out it had been similar to the others and did not stand out. However, when the next set of coursework came around, I made use of the social connections I had established with my peers and discussed the topic with them. This allowed us to cover areas through in-depth discussion that we might not have otherwise had and corrected one another when we were wrong. This significantly improved our coursework.

It’s my opinion that commitment is key to engaging as well. Commitment opened the door for me to be able to consistently be in the loop, preventing myself from isolation and becoming unfamiliar with my work and those around me. I find it difficult to be able to learn and work to my full potential when other things are on my mind and so feeling settled and comfortable in lectures has helped me focus more on my studies.

My main message is that there are many ways and opportunities that will allow you to engage with your course, it’s just down to you to take those opportunities. Hopefully this has shown you just how easy such opportunities can come about and how you can make the most from them and how you will benefit as a result.

Find out more about how to engage with your course and why it’s so important.

Why my course was the best thing for me

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by Mercedes, BA(Hons) Drama and Creative Writing

So, University? Well, I can do nothing but congratulate you on your decision, as you’ve decided to take this route and start a new journey filled with adventure, exploration and memories. However long your course is, it flies by so quickly that you sometimes forget to make good use of what’s being offered to you. But UWE Bristol has some of the best facilities I’ve seen, has impressive networking connections that can get you some more experience under your belt, and some of the most supportive and down-to-earth staff I’ve met — it’s very hard to miss out!

There’s a moment in every students life, where you absolutely regret every decision you’ve made to lead you up to this point. Maybe you aren’t adjusting to the pace and weight of everything just yet, or maybe you haven’t made as many friends as you’d anticipated, or you’re just plain old homesick. It happens. Are you even a student if at some point you don’t question everything though? University is an amazing time, but a challenging transition in your life. During my gap year, I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to accept the offer they’d given me anymore due to fear of not giving it my all; Nevertheless, finding the courage to make that jump has changed my life for the better, and I know for a fact that UWE Bristol was the best for me.

The Campus was so full of energy and people just being themselves. What more could I ask for?

I remember coming to the Open Day on my own, really nervous and really vulnerable and it wasn’t like I had to speak to over 200 students to convince them that this course was the best one — my only job that day was to show up! I remember sitting in a room full of strangers who seemed to already know each other and waiting for the presentation to begin. I remember sitting there and thinking “You know what? Maybe this isn’t for me.” But, then I remember the course leader standing centre stage (Being a drama course, they do set the atmosphere for you. You’ll see what I mean), introducing himself and I kid you not, I knew there and then that this was where I was supposed to be. The course structure was genuinely what I needed (No written paper exams and a choice to perform my dissertation? Um, hello?!), all of the module leading staff were so welcoming and their presentations sounded so interesting, and the Campus was so full of energy and people just being themselves. What more could I ask for?

Drama and Acting is such a jam-packed course, and there are very little gaps for anyone to say that there isn’t anything for them! They make their modules so interesting that you don’t even realise that you’re learning half the time, and in such a subtle way they allow you to evaluate not just how the task worked practically, but personally how you connected to it. They’ve found a very intrinsic way of connecting the personal to the practical so you know what works best for you, which helps you in the future with catering study to your needs. Secondly, their connections with theatres all over Bristol give you some awesome venue choices to make and perform your work. It’s like this big, odd but fun family in the City Campus where everyone’s doing their own thing and it’s somehow working together to create this magnetic energy.

UWE Bristol makes you more confident, more determined and more open.

After many conversations with my bedroom wall and ceiling in the late nights, I remembered that my future was just that — mine. There’s something quite freeing with being a student, it’s as if you have this backstage pass to so many opportunities that can cater to your course, and things that have nothing to do with it. You meet so many people from completely different walks of life, and University is the perfect place to allow your mind to open; your way of living isn’t the only way! Honestly, second year in, it can still be quite daunting being around so many new people, in a completely different city, but believe me — it gets so much easier and so much better. Your independence increases each year and with that freedom comes more adventures to take in order to pursue your career. UWE Bristol has this great way of allowing the student to dictate their career choices and the level of excellence they want to get. This place makes you more confident, more determined and more open. If you need stretching without dictating force then this is the perfect place for you.

Explore. Save your money (please). Make friends. Live a little. Laugh. Cry, seriously. Join the societies. Study, most importantly and enjoy yourself. Your future is yours, it’s up to you to get it!

Find out more about our Creative Arts courses

Welcome to Bristol

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by Eden, BSc(Hons) Architecture

Bristol is a diverse, historic, and exciting city that can be enjoyed by everyone, whatever your background or interests.

As someone from the countryside, UWE Bristol appealed to me because of its close connections with businesses as well as its location beyond the city where there is much less ‘hustle-bustle’.

And after only one year at UWE Bristol, I’m hooked!

As a UWE Bristol student you will have plenty of time to explore during your time at university. From discovering the amazing street art completed by Banksy in the 1980s, to shopping at Cabot circus or Cribbs Causeway, there is always something to do.

By day, Bristol is always busy. By night, the city comes to life as there is always an event on at one of the countless nightclubs scattered around the city. Visit Thekla, an old cargo ship turned nightclub, for live music and indie events, Lakota and Motion for jungle, DJ, and drum and bass events, and any of the other clubs such as Pryzm or SWX for everything in-between!

The view from Cabot Tower

If you want to escape the city, parks such as Brandon Hill offer scenic views from the 105ft Cabot tower which was built in 1897. Alternatively, Clifton Suspension Bridge and its surrounding green areas are only a 15-minute walk from the centre and definitely worth walking up the steep hill to get too. Ashton Court Estate and Leigh Woods are also easily accessible from the suspension bridge and make for a lovely afternoon walk.

UWE Bristol has three campuses which all have their own stories to tell – did you know Glenside campus used to be a hospital?!

Frenchay campus is where many of the courses are taught and is essentially a village in its own right with shops, bars, a gym and a library. Not only does this campus boast these onsite features, but it is also extremely close to Abbeywood Retail Park and Bristol Parkway train station. Wherever you are based the efficient and cheap bus service is frequent enough that being a few miles out of the city centre makes barely any difference to your experience within Bristol.

I hope that you have an incredible few years in Bristol. Enjoy the fresher’s week events and work hard!

Explore what it’s like to live and study in Bristol