Arabella – Bath Spa University
Semester 1, 2019
Bachelor of Creative Industries
I did my exchange at Bath Spa University in England (you can bet someone had a lot of fun naming the university) and my time there was the happiest few months of my life.
I’ve always wanted to live in England and spent the year prior to my exchange frantically working and saving so I could finance a full glorious semester living overseas and squeeze in some travelling along the way. Bath is quite an expensive place to live with food and accommodation costing more than I expected but the expenses were completely worth it to experience life in England for a few months.
One of the first things I noticed on exchange is how easy it is to get lost when you are in a new city and despite the best efforts of google maps, have no clue where you are going or how to get there. Fortunately, English people really are ridiculously kind and helpful. Whenever I was lost someone would pop up and help me find my way, other students and the university administration would even offer a lift, both always puzzlingly accompanied by a cup of tea.
While I was studying, Bath had three campuses;
- Newton Park – the very beautiful main campus of the school that had on-campus accommodation (where I stayed!), a lake with gorgeous walking trails and beautiful farmland and fields complete with cows, sheep and horses. My favourite campus.
- Dartmouth Avenue –It held a few student art spaces and facilities but even though this is where I had the majority of my classes, I still don’t quite know what this campus was for. It was a few classrooms plonked in the middle of no where, but it was where I had my own artist’s studio, so I have a certain amount of affection for it. (ps. This campus has now been replaced by a beautiful state of the art design facility on the river in Bath)
- Sion Hill – the art and design campus. Tutorial and workshop spaces for everything from paint-making to screen printing, there was a workshop space for everyone, each with at least one tutor who knew everything about that subject. Complete with a library only containing art books!
The classes offered were significantly harder and had higher expectations than those at QUT. But with their higher demands, they also offered wonderful learning opportunities and worked to remind you how much you loved what you studied. If you study art or literature this is the university, you want to visit.
I chose to live on the Newton Park campus in the cheapest accommodation, Lakeside. I had my own room but shared a bathroom with 4 others and a kitchen with 8 people. Once we had sorted out that everyone was responsible for cleaning the kitchen, the shared accommodation was a wonderful place to meet people, especially other international students. Despite there being other, nicer accommodations, choosing the cheapest accommodation available on campus allowed me to travel more throughout the semester and was extremely convenient!
The university also ran a number of mixers for international and exchange students throughout the semester that were a great opportunity for networking, where you should travel next and trade information with promises of a place to stay if you ever get the chance to visit.
If you go on exchange, make sure to join a club! Universities have so many different clubs on offer, there is one for everyone and they are a wonderful way to meet people from the country you are studying in. While I studied, I joined many clubs; The Harry potter society, the illustration society and the hiking club that ran weekly events. I attended movie screenings, coffee and drawing meets ups and days hiking and exploring cute nearby towns.
Among studying I managed to travel to London, Scotland, Paris and many other countries sometimes solo and sometimes with friends I studied with in Bath – everyone I met was always interested in going on an adventure.