What have been your impressions of Cardiff University so far – starting from the application process, enrolment, induction and the start of your studies?
My first impressions of Cardiff University have been fantastic. The application process was clear and communications between myself and the University were excellent with a fast response rate. Any queries I had were answered almost immediately.
The induction week for my course (MA International Public Relations and Global Communications Management) was daunting for all of ten minutes. The course leader and tutors were extremely welcoming, fostering a friendly atmosphere that helped me to get to know my peers.
Whilst I was expecting to be in a diverse class, I was astounded at the range of backgrounds, nationalities and experience people bring to the course. I think I have heard a tutor mentioning we are comprised of around 20 different nationalities! This diversity has created a fantastic dynamic that will allow for the active exchange of knowledge and ideas.
During your postgraduate studies in Cardiff are you living on campus or in private accommodation?
I chose to rent privately largely due to personal preference. I managed to find a nice two bed apartment near Roath Park and a walking distance from the University. My partner isn’t a student and given we had agreed to live together, private accommodation was the right choice for us.
Tell us about the process you went through to secure your accommodation and also any advice you would give to prospective students when they are choosing accommodation for their postgraduate studies.
I began simply searching online and speaking to friends who had rented privately in Cardiff as Undergraduates. I found this blog from the Cardiff University website was a good place to start: http://blogs.cardiff.ac.uk/studentlifecu/5-steps-to-house-hunting-success/.
Having found some suitable properties and letting agencies, I had to find an appropriate day over the summer months to come and visit. This was a challenge because I was in full time employment. But I would advise anyone seeking private accommodation not to worry if they are nearing their course start date and they still haven’t found a property. From my personal experience there was plenty of private accommodation available leading up to my course start date.
I would advise any students coming to Cardiff to make the most of the advice posted on Cardiff University’s website. Student support will always be willing to assist with the process. Beyond the University’s services, my personal experience with letting agents (so far!) in terms of house hunting was very positive. They were not too pushy and offered helpful advice in general terms about the areas surrounding the University.
How are you funding your studies?
The only financial assistance I currently have is the Masters Excellence Scholarship provided by Cardiff University.
I am personally funding my studies at Cardiff University. Having racked up undergraduate student debt, I made the conscious effort to try not to borrow anymore money to fund my postgraduate studies.
I did browse the Alternative Guide to Postgraduate funding, but only once I had arrived in Cardiff. It has great information and ideas for sourcing funding. I wasn’t aware of the potential sponsors and funding opportunities until I had visited the website
The advice I would give to prospective students is to be proactive. There are fantastic funding opportunities out there, from charities to government bodies. In terms of applying for funding, be honest and proud of your achievements. There will be ongoing opportunities for financial support, so do not assume you have missed the opportunity for some form of support.
My final advice to people applying for postgraduate study would be to consider the costs of the year in advance and prepare appropriately. Set a concrete budget for housing, tuition and living costs etc. Budgeting has helped me to use my resources well, and is a good exercise to practise in general! It is no secret that going to university isn’t cheap, but it is a good investment in yourself that will pay off in the long run.
Why did you choose Cardiff University and Postgraduate study?
I chose to study at postgraduate level for two main reasons. Firstly, I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience of tertiary education to this point. I enjoy being intellectually challenged by my peers. The opportunity for further teaching and conducting independent research was very appealing. Secondly, it offered a good chance to broaden my career prospects. The MA programme I am enrolled on (International Public Relations and Global Communications Management) is both reputable and vocational.
I chose to study in Cardiff because of the School of Journalism and it’s teaching staff’s reputations. It is also cited as the best course of its kind in Europe. Additionally, the school and teaching staff have close links with potential employers and offer a vast range of work experience opportunities.
Selecting my course was a result of my desire to work in communications for an international organisation. The degree course here at Cardiff provided the best opportunity to do this.
What are the differences between UG and PG study?
My experience of postgraduate study thus far has differed greatly from my undergraduate experience. I am granted even more independence in conducting my studies. This is most pronounced in preparation for undertaking my research-based dissertation. We are referred to as ‘researchers’ rather than ‘students’ when we discuss this work. My research project (due in August) is 20,000 words. While this seems frighteningly big to me now, we are building up nicely to the project
My workload has increased exponentially. It is not unbearable by any means, but it has been a challenge to manage my time effectively. The deadlines for these assignments tend to be tightly bunched together. This means that prioritising tasks has been central to getting the best out of my work thus far. It is interesting that my assignments up until now have prioritised group work. This is probably more a representation of my course (MA International Public Relations and Global Communications Management) than it is of postgraduate study more generally.
What also stands out when I compare my experience with my undergraduate experience is the level of support the teaching staff offer, and the level of support my fellow course mates off. We have a close-knit network, with a community feel, ready to support one another, bounce ideas around and discuss employment opportunities.