Why did I choose this university?
"From over a hundred universities in the UK, the University of Nottingham (UoN) seems to offer the widest global perspectives to students by providing a multicultural environment. It caters for all needs for students with different religious, cultural and language backgrounds. As a media and communications studies applicant, I thought it would be most valuable to experience how all different cultures come into contact. I also believed that a door to the global market would be opened for me by building contacts with students and seizing exchange opportunities, and UoN does offer many opportunities to international students.
Jobs prospects and employability of UoN students are particularly impressive. Many news and league tables indicate that Nottingham students are the most targeted by employers. I was motivated to come here, where the most promising job prospects are offered as I reckoned this is the place where excellent academic quality is available as well as plenty of career-led opportunities to be obtained. Especially communications is a broad subject and I thought being in the most employable university would give me an advantage.
I also like the short distance from town to uni as we’ve our own study environment and a great town for leisure."
My first week
"I joined the International Students Welcome Programme where we were given a few days to familiarise ourselves with the country and sort out some practical procedures such as opening a back account prior to fresher’s week. Since I had studied my A- levels in the UK, I already had a sense of British culture and how things worked. The first week still surprised me though; especially when I asked a student assistant where Boots [a popular pharmacist chain] in town is then I was told ‘there is one inside the campus.’ The University Park campus is huge and pretty. With many talks scheduled for us to prepare us as uni students, I realised that it was the right choice I had made to come here.
I have been told that we need to be really independent at uni since this is a place where we need to be proactive in any situations that we come across. The uni does offer support to help us, but you can’t expect anyone to come to check on you for everything. That was the time when I realised the importance of self-management and after the busy fresher’s week, I was attentive to things surrounding us."
"I always remind my friends to wear trainers for a campus tour when they come visit me. University campus is renowned for the combo of the lake and Trent Building, plus the lakeside as a ‘must-go tourist place’. Our campus is very hilly though; there are academic buildings located across the lake at the bottom and The Downs on top. I usually start the tour from the north entrance to quickly show them the academic buildings, then go up to The Downs for a lunch picnic; a quick glance at on-campus halls which look rather old-school; and then head to Trent Building followed by checking out Highfield Park where the best view of the Trent Building would be captured whatever angle you look from.
Jubilee Campus – another main campus of UoN – is different from University Park and the architecture is very innovative and modern. I would rather say every exterior of the buildings are worth visiting. My first impression of this campus was ‘oh, it reminds me of the Teletubbies setting!’ Sutton Bonington campus is another type of beauty too as it is in the middle of the fields; it looks like the school where Harry Potter went to."
"Among all the columns on the UCAS university choices form, I filled in Nottingham with a little fear since the city was portrayed by the media as a dangerous city with a daunting crime record. It held back my determination to come here. Since then I’ve spoken to a few British people and they helped me get rid of my fear; indeed it was just a rumour and a matter of prejudice. Rather, I found it quite safe being in Nottingham.
I wouldn’t say Nottingham is a metropolitan city but it indeed has a lot to offer as a town. The typical landmarks: Castle, Robin Hood and Wollaton Park are great places to visit when you fancy a break from studies. There are over 1000 caves underneath your feet and they do mean something. Then I realised Nottingham has many hidden gems. You could check out the famous landmarks in a weekend but it does take a while to explore if you want to know them well. The town centre is lively and vibrant, both at day or night, since we can shop and eat during the day or enjoy the nightlife. I particularly like checking out small cafes and restaurants and boutiques in Nottingham."
My study space
"As an Arts student, we learn by burying our heads into the pile of books wherever you want to spend the time. Personally I study in the library as we gain easy access to books and I got less distracted there. All libraries are well-equipped to be user-friendly; laptops and IPads are available for loans. I have around 7 hours for lectures and 5 hours for seminars per week, and of course numerous independent study hours. Usually I go to Hallward Library after my classes to catch up the weekly reading, and spend quite a lot of time in the Jubilee Library at night before deadlines for coursework and during exam period. They are open 24/7 so I literally do all-nighters there until I get the work done. I also study Spanish and there is a Language Learning Centre in Trent Building where some specific facilities and materials for language learning can be found. There are dictionaries and audio software on the computers which I use for my listening and speaking practice."
My social life
"I lived most of my life in the bustling city so I was actually used to the types of leisure activities which a typical city offers. Since I came to Nottingham, I do everything that I rarely did in my hometown. I started to enjoy the time being with friends to hang out together in the parks, picnicking on a sunny day and I’ve picked up cycling as a hobby. I really enjoy being in the countryside to relax and appreciate the wonders of nature. In fact, I decided to become a vegetarian since I see animals more often and I’ve joined the Vegetarian and Vegan Society; we gather from time to time to eat in town and make food together – everyone is so friendly! I was able to make friends with like-minded people in societies and we became good friends. We usually visit each other’s accommodation, cook together and spend a night watching chick flicks together. Every now and then we go for a night out with a bigger group of friends too; we usually have loads of fun.
My life is made diverse by various activities available here in Notts."
"I moved to an off-campus private hall accommodation after staying on campus for a week. They were actually very different. I could still remember the king-sized bed on campus I jumped on once I checked in. There was a range of room sizes you could choose from. I reckon that’s more sociable since you have your meals three times a day in a communal dining hall; you share a block with so many students whereas in private-halls you share a kitchen and bathrooms with a few others. Those accommodations on campus are more spacious and old-school. The dining hall was very posh. It’s hassle-free to live on campus as it’s catered.
Personally I preferred the off- campus accommodations though. They look more modern and I like the flexibility of cooking my own food whenever I want. You might also build closer friendships with flatmates, and we got along like a family. I’ve also realised that we learnt to be more considerate by sharing a flat, especially the hidden rules in the kitchen such as clean after ourselves for the next person using the washbasin. This is something catered-halls wouldn’t offer since they don’t really share many facilities."