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.

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

My UWE Bristol room tour

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by Dan, BA(Hons) Business (Team Entrepreneurship)

During my first year at university I lived in Quantock Court in the Student Village on Frenchay Campus. Before I moved to UWE however I remember having quite a few questions about what my accommodation would look like so hopefully my blog and vlog will help give you the answers you need if you’re deciding or have already got accommodation confirmed!

Your room

In your room you have a bed, closet space, desk and en-suite (some accommodation options have shared bathrooms). The desk is a good enough size to fit all the essentials and if you are like me you can also fit your printer and two monitor screens as well as the normal space for writing. You also have shelves above your desk for books or personal belongings. Overall it’s a nice little room which is big enough for one person.

Communal space

If you’re living in the Student Village you will be living with 6 other people and sharing the communal area. This area includes a kitchen and living/ socialising area. The kitchen has an oven, kettle, toaster and sink. Each person has a cupboard for their own thing as well as there being enough room for pots and pans. Some accommodation options have sofas in the social area and others have individual chairs, but either way it’s a nice space to socialise in and there’s plenty of room for everyone.

I hope this gives you a good idea of what to expect if you’ve chosen the Student Village as your accommodation or if you are still making your minds up.

Find out more information on accommodation options.

How a degree can enhance your career prospects

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by Prisilla, MEng(Hons) Aerospace Engineering and Pilot Studies

The countdown begins. For some of you that might be when you start A-Levels or when you hear the ominous word ‘university’ or when you press submit on your UCAS application. Whatever it may be, going to university is a tough but rewarding decision to make. As someone who is on her fourth year of study (placement year) and has one final of year of Masters left to do, I have seen quite a bit of university life and the degree – the good and the bad times. So even though I am getting eager to leave university, I thought it might be good to tell you about what a degree can do for you through this blog.

A glimpse into your future career

To begin with, your chosen degree is your first glimpse into your future career. Through the lectures, the practicals and workshops, you will begin to know whether you want to continue in the chosen field/industry or if there is something else you enjoy. Most of the lecturers on campus are ex-industry employees, which means they have experienced the industry. So, you can quiz your lecturers about the good and the bad of the industry and maybe even open a chance to network with your future employer (if they have come from a company you are interested in). As you attend lectures and grow on your theoretical knowledge, your degree is helping you to understand the basics and core information. The practicals and workshops really get you stuck-in to the course, showing how theory works in reality. Depending on the module, the course and the coursework, the hands-on experience can vary with projects.

However, a degree is not just all work and no play. Most of the degrees have a dedicated society affiliated to it, which means you can take part in social activities and projects. It does not matter if you are a 1st year or in your final year; all societies love to have the extra help with their projects which means you get to have fun while learning a new skill. As a Student Ambassador, you can represent UWE at various events, gain extra interpersonal skills and showcase your knowledge – the great thing is you are paid to do it!

Get those career enhancing opportunities

Because you study at UWE, your entrance to the annual Employers’ fair is guaranteed. This fair, which takes place around October, brings you in direct contact with about 180 employers from all different industries. They bring with them opportunities of placements, graduate schemes and free goody-bags. If you are successful in applying and securing a placement, I would consider that as a great achievement. Going out on placement is a rewarding experience as not only do you put into practice what you have learnt in your lectures, but you get to see how a company interacts with political, social and economic changes. But it is fine if you don’t get a placement, as you can still get a job with what you’ve learnt in your degree, as 96% of UWE Bristol graduates are in work or further study six months after graduating.

If you are willing to take hold of everything UWE has to offer, you will not notice the time fly by!

The university listens to its students through student rep forums and makes sure their facilities are up to standard. Over the past years, I have seen the Frenchay campus grow in size due to new buildings for the faculties, which means more spaces to work in, more computers and more classrooms. With the added benefit of being able to download subject specific software and Microsoft Windows onto your personal computers, there really is no worry about not getting your work done on time.

Making connections with industry

Finally, in my personal opinion, it is through your degree that you make some great connections which last a lifetime. You not only meet students from all around the world and from all walks of life but you meet with industry professionals who will give you an insight into the working world and help you make the starting step into the field.

Want to see what a day at my placement looks like? Watch my Instagram takeover below!

Find out how to get those career enhancing opportunities at UWE Bristol.

How to manage your money at university

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by Eden, BSc(Hons) Architecture  

Top tips to make your loan last

As a student, one of the most daunting aspects of moving to university is money. For most people, the maintenance loan given by the government leaves little room for extra expenditures such as going out for food or buying new clothes. One way to improve this is to budget and spend wisely. I began studying at UWE in September 2018 and quickly realised that I needed to budget in order to make my maintenance loan last for the entire year! This blog will give a few top tips which will hopefully have a huge effect on the amount of money that you will spend, and save, throughout your studies whilst also enjoying the student life!

1. Choose accommodation with shared bathrooms

At UWE, there are many different accommodation options depending on how much you wish to spend and whether or not you would prefer an ensuite or a shared bathroom. For my first year at University, I lived in UWE’s Wallscourt park on Frenchay Campus in a flat with shared bathrooms. In my flat, I shared 3 bathrooms with 8 people. Although many people do not want to share a bathroom, it really isn’t as bad as you might think.  Because there were 3 different bathrooms to use, even if your usual bathroom is being used, you can just use a different one! By staying in Wallscourt Park with shared bathrooms, I saved approximately £1000 when compared to my friends who stayed in rooms with an ensuite bathroom. This is a serious amount of money when you are trying to budget!

2. Shop wisely

When starting out at university, I had never really gone for a weekly food shop before. With many different shops around Frenchay Campus such as the University shops, Asda, Lidl, and Sainsbury’s, it took me a while to figure out how to save money on food and which shops to use. After shopping at each of the shops mentioned, I would 100% recommend Lidl. Lidl is the closest non university-owned shop to Frenchay campus and is by far the cheapest. On a weekly food shop, I would save around £10-15 when shopping at Lidl when compared to Asda or Sainsbury’s.

3. Choose a good student bank account

Another useful tip is to choose a student bank account which gives you a large interest free overdraft. When I began studying at University, I set up an account with Santander which gave me a 4-year free railcard, saving 1/3 on all rail travel, and an overdraft of up to £1500 interest free. This was incredibly useful when I was required to pay my rent before my termly loan instalments had entered my bank account. The overdraft is essentially the bank giving you money for free whilst you are studying. Though I chose Santander, I would recommend looking at some comparison websites before as different banks offer different overdraft limits and extras each year.

4. Take the bus or coach

Although this tip may seem obvious, I know so many people who travel home using the train or get an Uber/Taxi back home after a night in the city centre. The cheapest way to get to/from Bristol city centre is using the metrobus services. These run 24/7 and a night ticket only costs £2 which lasts from 7:00pm until 4:30am. That’s only £1 each way! The metrobus services are regular and stop at Frenchay Campus, it takes around 20 minutes each way from the campus to the city centre. By using these buses, you will save at least £10 when compared to if you take an Uber or a Taxi home. When travelling further, I would recommend looking into coach travel. This option does take longer, however, you will save money. I bought a coach card for £12 which allows me to save 1/3 off national express coaches for a year. As I travel from Bristol to Plymouth once a fortnight, this definitely saved me money. A return coach trip was around £20+ cheaper than if I took the train!

5. Get a job

Another obvious way to save money is to work. The university and shopping areas always have jobs available! There are direct bus services from Frenchay campus to both Cabot Circus and Cribbs Causeway. The University hires students to work in the campus bars, shops and cafes. Also, UWE hires student ambassadors which involves casual work to help the university at events such as open days and UCAS fairs. The university jobs all offer hours which may work around your studies, whilst also paying respectable wages! Vacancies from UWE may be viewed online on the Students union ‘Jobshop’ page.

Read more about your fees and funding options at UWE Bristol

Living at UWE Bristol

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by Lucia, BA(Hons) English Language and Linguistics  

Hi my name is Lucia and I am here to tell you all about the accommodation, facilities, and things to do at and around UWE Bristol. I hope this gives you an insight into life at university from a student perspective.

What’s it like living on campus?

Frenchay Campus is the largest campus at UWE, where most courses are based. Here, around 3,000 students live on campus in the various types of accommodation. The student village and Carroll Court contains flats/houses of 6, and Wallscourt Park have a selection of flats of 8 and houses of 12. Living away from home for the first time and having your own freedom to do what you want is a great feeling. However, things sometimes aren’t always going to be how you expect them to be.

Overcoming challenges 

I spent my first year in a flat of 8 people in Wallscourt Park. I loved my room and my flat in general, the kitchen was a perfect size and the rooms felt very cosy but modern – the double bed was of course a huge bonus! However, I know I would have liked to hear people’s stories before I came to university and would like to tell anyone moving into student accommodation this year hopefully it all goes well, but it’s okay not to get along with everyone.

There were quite a few different personalities in my flat which at times was a challenge and caused some tension . We were luckily able to carry on and enjoy the company of others. At the time it felt like the end of the world but in reality, it was a matter of dealing with it appropriately and surrounding ourselves with other flatmates and friends.

You have to remember you are put together with people you might not otherwise socialise with. There may also be disagreements within your flat/house but you’re not the only ones. This is the first time for the majority of people living away from home and with lots of people of the same age. Do what makes you happy, but make sure it is not at the expense of everyone else – be respectful and accept that everyone has different hobbies/interests.

What facilities are available?

Campus is a great place to be even when you don’t feel like venturing into the city centre. The new student’s union is a great place to socialise and grab a drink, play pool with your friends, or watch the football! There are also lots of events that happen on an evening, including the SU-esday club nights. If you fancy a place to work the new business block has amazing views and modern study spaces, alongside the library with 4 different floors depending on the type of study you’re looking for. Next to the library there is a café/restaurant called onezone, and a Starbucks to keep you going on those late nights!

If you ever need to make an appointment or sign up for a prescription, there is a doctor’s surgery on site next to Carroll Court. You can call or pop in to arrange an appointment, though it can get quite busy sometimes due to the number of students on campus! They also offer free STI tests, so if you are ever worried you can put your mind at ease. If you ever want to seek any support for mental health there are councillors that you can book appointments with and 24 hour online services that cater to all needs, so no one has to feel like they’re alone.

Each accommodation facility has the option to use laundry. There is a washer and a dryer, and they are located at various points within the accommodation blocks. They are extremely useful, and long enough to put a wash on, watch a Netflix episode and come back to collect it!

Near to the Student Village you will find the main centre for sport. This building contains a gym, sports halls, squash courts, private rooms and a climbing wall. Outside there is a huge astro-pitch, used for sports like hockey and football. Off campus, there is a new development of multi-sport pitches, where you will find sports like American Football. There is also another gym situated in the farmhouse near to Wallscourt Park. I would definitely suggest here if you like to work out in a quieter space, but both gyms are equally as good.

Is there anything near to campus?

Yes! The nearest shopping park is called Abbeywood and it has an Asda, B&M, a gym, McDonalds and collection of other restaurants. On the other side of the road, there is a Sainsbury’s and a Lidl, along with another gym and The Range. If you fancy going shopping or for a walk, there are bus stops on campus that take you into central Bristol and even all the way to Bath.

The bus into Bristol takes around 15 minutes, and is perfect for finding new places to eat, doing activities such as mini golf with friends or walking alongside the river. If you fancy a walk somewhere greener, Stoke Park is a 5-10-minute walk away from campus and has views overlooking Bristol. It runs alongside the motorway that takes you into Bristol so it is hard to miss. Campus also has lots of green space, there is a field behind Wallscourt that you can sit on and there are little ponds that house the infamous UWE geese.

I hope that this has given a brief insight into what is available at UWE Bristol. There are so many opportunities that cater to so many different people. University life is a very different experience but there is so much to do and lots of support available.

Find out more about living at UWE Bristol

Experience UWE Bristol through the eyes of our students

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Welcome to our student views blog

Choosing where you want to spend the next three years of your life – or longer – isn’t easy. So you need an opinion you can trust. You’ll want to hear from the students who actually study here.

Our eager team of students have joined together to tell you about their experiences of living and studying at UWE Bristol.

Through a series of podcast, blogs and short films they’ll tell you about the whole university experience in their own words. From the clubs and societies they’ve joined, to living in Bristol and the accommodation and facilities on offer here. Find out how they felt about coming to university at the start, the challenges they may have faced and the advice they have to offer.

Keep an eye out for regular posts and articles designed to help you experience UWE Bristol through the eyes of our students and give you an insight into what it’s really like to study here.