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University of Bristol Campus Life

Student Life

Located in Bristol, UK the University offers a truly international experience as Bristol is the largest center of culture, employment, and education in South West England. 'The creative hub of the UK,' Bristol is the Arts capital of SW England boasting a large student population and a huge number of festivals, events and exhibitions every year. As the UK's home of street art, (the Famous Banksy comes from Bristol), and a vibrant social scene, the city of Bristol was made for students.

Our students always say how much they love the city of Bristol-from the friendly people and fantastic music scene to its vibrant Harbourside. Bristol is about one thousand years old, but it's right at the cutting edge. It is dynamic yet laid-back, culturally rich but down to earth. Best of all, Bristol is the perfect size, offering all the excitement of a big city packed into an area you can easily explore.

An American Student's Experience!

As an American, I get asked why I've come to Bristol on a daily basis. I'm still searching for a quick answer to toss into conversation because, otherwise, I'm tempted to talk endlessly about everything from the educational quality and style of my course to the general attitude and feel of Bristol; the trust and opportunities with which we are presented; the independence and friendliness; the interest and passion displayed by students and lecturers; the chance to explore another lifestyle.

I'd first chosen the University of Bristol for the course and the ranking. I'm studying Archaeology and Anthropology - subjects that have intrigued me before I even knew what they were called - with the intent of continuing to a postgraduate degree. Whether I continue in palaeoanthropology, ultimately doing field research in human origins, or pursue a legal career in international humanitarian law, I feel that what I am learning here, about humankind, will be of utmost benefit. More importantly - it's absolutely fascinating. Unlike American undergraduate programs which require years of general studies, the British system allows students to focus immediately - and to dive deep into the subject. Along with textbooks, I was asked to bring steel-toed boots and a shovel. During the first week of my Introduction to Archaeology class, we walked the Downs examining earthworks and Roman quarries and went on a field trip to Avebury. My first year, my first term, I'm discussing research opportunities with my Personal Tutor; the possibility wouldn't even exist in the US.

In addition to the intensity, the wealth of opportunities available at the University of Bristol are staggering. Academically, the open units program allows students to study various interests outside of their department and, socially, there are clubs and groups devoted to every possible interest. There are numerous venues for volunteer work and social activism, for arts, and for sport. I'd given up playing violin in high school because I just didn't have enough time; I'm planning on starting again now, with the University orchestral groups-inspired by the students that I live with and the amazing live music available throughout the city any night of the week. I've found more than I can take advantage of - the potential that the University, and the city, offers for students to explore and develop is amazing - as is the balance that it encourages.

I live in Elmgrove Park, a university house where I share a kitchen and toilet with two other students and share gossip and laughter with everyone in the house. I chose to live in a House instead of a Hall because of the higher degree of independence than I would expect in a Hall of Residence and the chance to merge into Bristol and get to know the neighbourhood and city. It's quieter than your typical image of university life and can get a little cut off - but there's still plenty to do, and plenty of people to get to know. I live with about thirty students who study everything from languages, history, physics, maths, medicine, and psychology. Some days I walk up to find students wrestling and fencing in the car park; other days, serious games of chess - and there's someone playing guitar almost every evening. (Today I saw snow for the first time. It's gorgeous!)

I'm incredibly glad that I've come here. I have to admit that I applied to UCAS on a slight whim. Having done the International Baccalaureate program at my high school in the US, I decided to expand my options for university study. I was born and raised in Southern California; my parents worked in the film industry, mostly travel documentary, and so I was lucky to be able to travel very young and get to see a variety of places and people. I grew up in Los Angeles and then moved out to a suburban area before high school, where the artificial segregation bothered me. I enjoy diversity and mixture and I'd begun to consider leaving the states after I finished education. When I received offers from universities here, looked into them in more depth, and realized that the academic quality of my education would be in no way sacrificed by going abroad for university - actually, in my field, significantly improved - I came to visit. When I arrived, met with a professor, had coffee with the lecturers in my department, and wandered the streets of Bristol, I knew that the University of Bristol was the right place for me. I'm greatly enjoying it, and know that it will only continue to get more interesting.

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