Monday, 27 September 2010

Back home, now getting ready my application

So finally this week is over. It's actually been quite a rushed week, with lots of public transport (various planes, various trains, some buses and a couple of taxis at least), with lots of movement (see the map at the end of my last post), and also lots of new experiences.
I've been to Scotland, tried Irn Bru, been to the North of England, tried haggis, etc.
But, most importantly, I've visited the four universities I liked the most: Bristol, Durham, St Andrews and Edinburgh (in that order).
I will upload some pictures later this week, with better explanations. But in case somebody doubts, yes, I have made a ranking of them. In my order of preference:
1. Durham: I've fallen in love with Durham, I'm afraid, so everything I'll say about it from now on will be hugely biased.
2. Bristol: The city was a tad big and rather hilly, but the uni was okay and the department of Politics seemed brilliant.
3. St Andrews: The town's okay, the uni is quite good, the IR dept is one of the bests in the UK, but it's very windy and cold, not really big, far from kind of everywhere, a bit expensive and rather posh.
4. Edinburgh: The city is beautiful to do tourism, but I'd never, ever live in Edinburgh, not even if I was paid for it, it's huge, cold, and I found it rather... poor - plus the uni was a really huge one, most buildings not being especially nice, a weak department in Politics and way too expensive to be Scotland, knowing it's a year more than in England.

Even if I don't get free tuition fees, I believe, now more firmly than ever, that England is my place. Scotland has kinda disappointed me. It's beautiful, but I don't think I'd like to live there. It feels "abroad", while England doesn't (if that makes sense at all). Irn Bru and haggis are good, though.
Durham (and I guess all the North East) is rather cheap, believe it or not, a wee cheaper than Barcelona (yes, I have also learned some Scottish words :D). It's not really far away from the South of England (45-minutes-and-£30 flight), it's very near from Scotland (an hour by train), plus you are 20 miles away from one of the biggest cities in England, Newcastle upon Tyne.
I know I may sound a tad crazy wanting so firmly to move up North, but I just liked it so much.
Bristol was really nice, but it's more like a really big city (which I've found out I don't want to live in when at uni). I might manage to live there, but if I can make it, I still prefer a smaller city.
St Andrews felt right, but I'm still not sure.
Edinburgh... I don't even want to speak about it. Seriously, no offence for Edinbourgeois(es), but I didn't feel comfortable enough in the city to live in. Plus I didn't like the uni, and the admission ratio is like 1:40 for my course, so I won't waste one of my choices in a place I know so clearly I don't want to go. 'Edinbra' (yes, I have baptised it that way in my head) will not be my home for the next few years.

So now I have to choose my fifth choice. Bath, Sheffield or York? I'm basically doubting amongst those, though I accept any suggestions (I will send my application on the 8th of October so you may imagine this is quite urgent). My four choices so far are Bristol, Cambridge, Durham and St Andrews (in alphabetical order).

11 comments:

  1. Did you go to Glasgow? you might like it (despite all I hated it) It is scottish, it feels scottish, it is cheap to live, you dont see many tourist, it is less cold than edim (it is not windy, but it rains more)...and it is well connected with all UK

    I didnt like st Andrews, it is windy, cold, wet and it is not well connected with the rest of UK

    ReplyDelete
  2. No, I didn't actually go to Glasgow. Initially I was going, but later changed my mind and chose to go to Durham instead. One of the best decisions I've ever taken.
    I prefer England over Scotland, overall, as a place to live, I found myself not being as comfortable in Scotland as I was in England, despite my dad saying they both look the same most of the time (and I guess it's true, but even so...).
    How cheap are we talking about? I was unpleasantly surprised by Edinburgh, I found it really expensive, and found Durham even a tad cheaper than Barcelona (taking into account the exchange rate, not just doing £1-€1, which is what I normally do). There's not much difference, and some things may be a bit more expensive, but overall I didn't find it as expensive as some other places I've been to (Cambridge or the out-of-this-world prices of London, which aren't that much higher than those of Barcelona for families but really different for students, sometimes).
    Glasgow may be connected with the whole of the UK, but I still think it wouldn't fit me. For what I saw when we took off Edinburgh (we saw Glasgow at the very end through the windows on the right), or watching a satellite image of the Lothians and Glasgow area, it seems even larger than Edinburgh, and the one thing I didn't like of Edinburgh was its hugeness.

    St Andrews was cold and windy, but we had a weirdly sunny sky, with almost no clouds (which is really strange in the British Isles), and it didn't rain. I've heard it's the sunniest city in Scotland. It's cold and windy, though. And you have to pay £20 for a cattle train ride to Edinburgh Waverley, plus £4 for the return bus ticket from St Andrews to Leuchars Station. It felt isolated. Furthermore, degrees in Scotland are four years, which means the degree is more expensive in the end (four years of living expenses instead of three), plus in St Andrews I'd be needing some extra £180 per month to support myself than in Durham or York (and besides, it's an extra year). Oh, and the fact that coming from the A-levels system, as I do, the requirements are usually higher than for those taking Highers.
    I'll be applying to St Andrews anyway, the structure of the course was rather appealing, but if I get good offers elsewhere, I'm not sure I'll be accepting my St Andrews offer (and I prefer York over Glasgow any time of the day, it looks smaller, and it's a collegiate uni, etc.).

    Why don't you tell me the good points of Scotland, with respect to England/Spain/elsewhere? I'd really like to know!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Gosh you've got excellent taste boy :) I absolutely adore Durham, it is the most gorgeous city in England imho. Btw one of my best friends (Charlotte) took both her degree & MA (in History) there so if you need someone to answer specific questions about accommodation, students' union etc I would be happy to give you her email address and she would be glad to reply to any queries.

    Did you actually visit Sheffield? It is quite an ugly place and not cheap at all despite its northern location. York is so much nicer and the Politics department has a much better reputation. Ditto for Bath.

    A mi Edimburgo (los 8 a�os que viv� all� siempre me pareci� un pueblucho sin personalidad. Suele gustar mucho a la gente de sitios peque�os as� que me imagino que es �so, como yo soy urbanita. Glasgow vale mucho m�s como ciudad, ni punto de comparaci�n porque es �so, una ciudad con todas las letras.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sergio no me queda claro por tu blog si eres de Barcelona o Tarragona pero comentas que te gust� York por su tama�o peque�o (realmente es diminuto, son cuatro calles y poco m�s) A mi es una ciudad que me parece preciosa pero tambi�n te comento que Lucy y unas 7-8 chicas m�s que conozco de York se mudaron a Edimburgo a estudiar en la uni y cuando las empec� a conocer y les preguntaba por qu� me dec�an que su ciudad era aburrid�sima y que la uni es muy elitista. Si ellas que son de all� lo dicen...
    Sopesa todos los pros y contras de todas las opciones que tienes, no s�lo la calidad del departamento sino piensa c�mo te sentir�s en un sitio 3 a�os seguidos.
    ��Suerte rellenando los papeles!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Y mi �ltimo comentario jaja :) como sabes yo estudi� Ciencias Pol�ticas en una universidad del Norte de Inglaterra (pero una malilla �eh? bueno, lo era en mis tiempos... lleva tres a�os seguidos siendo nombrada la mejor universidad brit�nicas de las nuevas) y vivir en el Norte es una pa-sa-da. Precios baratos, buenas conexiones de trenes/buses (y nosotros ten�amos ferries directos a Amsterdam y Noruega todos los findes con oferta de estudiantes a precios de risa) , comida interesante y gente m�s amistosa (aunque no es de sabios generalizar) que en el Sur por lo que hay muchas oportunidades diarias de practicar el ingl�s.
    S�per recomiendo esa zona.

    Yo tuve oferta para hacer un m�ster en St Andrews hace como 5 a�os y al final pas� me encanta el condado de Fife pero es que St Andrews parece que est� apartado del mundo y el transporte para ''salir'' de all� es car�simo :S

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you. I would really appreciate it if you could do that. I actually have lots of questions, though it can be summarised in one: 'How's life at Durham?'. Life, uni, etc.
    I haven't been to Sheffield, York or Bath. But I won't do a third uni-visiting trip after two days the last one ended, and I am sending my application on the 8th, so...

    ¿Edimburgo un pueblucho? Yo la vi una ciudad exageradamente enorme.
    Soy, hasta cierto punto, urbanita, y me gusta estar al lado de una gran ciudad. Lo que no me gusta es estar dentro de esa gran ciudad, si no en un sitio más pequeño, cerquita.

    Soy de Barcelona. Bueno, lo de siempre, de un pueblo de 30000 habitantes algo al norte de Barcelona (aunque he cogido la bici alguna vez para ir hasta Glòries, ya en Barcelona, y está relativamente cerca). No sé qué puede hacer pensar que soy de Tarragona... en Tarragona ciudad sólo he estado una vez en mi vida, hace tiempo, y aunque a otros sitios por allí abajo he ido algo más usualmente, tampoco es nada como para decir que soy de allí. No, no, yo nací en Barcelona ciudad.

    Sobre el elitismo, lo mismo se dice de Durham, y de Cambridge. No percibí un ambiente demasiado elitista (son elitistas a nivel intelectual, pero a nivel económico no). St Andrews tiene una fama algo mejor, pero ahí sí que vi mucha gente con, como la llamo yo, la pátina del dinero. Es el pueblo adonde se inventó el golf, así que allí va mucha gente a jugar. Es un pueblo caro, y algunos de los estudiantes que van también se les ve algo... 'pijos'. Pero bueno, no me preocupa, en la universidad la gente tiene ya la personalidad formada, y hay gente buena en todas partes. Mis mejores amigos se dividen en todos esos grupos, y muchos de ellos se conocen entre ellos incluso y se llevan bien.

    Creo que llevas razón, el norte me fascinó. Me esperaba una zona hundida, pobre, por lo que había leído, y eso me lo encontré más en Escocia, la verdad. Me encantó esa zona. Habrá que mirar lo de los ferries, suena interesante.

    Es lo que te decía, St Andrews es caro, y apartado, con lo que salir de allí, te roban lo que quieran y más. Un single ticket son £2.45 (del pueblo a la estación o v.v.). Un robo, vamos. Yo lo voy a intetar, pero no es mi opción preferida, también te lo digo.

    Muchas gracias. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ei Sergio, molta sort amb els teus plans; esperem que puguis trobar la universitat que més t'interessi, i que t'hi sentis bé.

    M'ha cridat l'atenció aquesta frase: "It feels "abroad", while England doesn't" (referint-te a Scotland). En quin sentit ho dius? Perquè "abroad"?

    Records,

    ReplyDelete
  8. Moltíssimes gràcies. A veure què, enviaré la sol·licitud la setmana que ve, i serà un procès llarg, que culminarà a l'agost de l'any que ve quan rebi les notes dels últims exàmens que he de fer.

    El que volia dir és que a Anglaterra em sentia "a casa". Estava còmode, i em visualitzava perfectament vivint allà, i em feia sentir bé el fet de pensar-ho.
    A Escòcia em vaig sentir de visita, que està bé, i tot, però em sentia de visita, no sentia la comoditat que he sentit a Anglaterra sempre.
    Entenc que pot resultar molt estrany el que estic dient, però potser tu, que has viscut a tants llocs, entens el que vull dir.

    Com va la vida a la Haupstadt?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Comprenc. De vegades, sense saber perquè, hi ha llocs on ens sentim bé, que ens captiven per alguna raó potser, segurament, inconscient. Si England és el teu lloc, al teu lloc te n'has d'anar, no ho dubtis.

    A la Hauptstadt tot en ordre, danke :) Avui es celebra el vintè aniversari de la reunificació; cap al Reichstag que me'n vaig en una estona, a treure-hi el nas!

    Sort amb els teus processos, Sergio; ja ens aniràs explicant.

    ReplyDelete

You may post a comment, but be polite. And no spam, please.
Puedes comentar, pero sé educado. Por favor, nada de spam.