About the university and the location of the campus
The Solent University is medium-sized and very manageable. There is a main campus and three different other buildings, but they are not far from each other. Three of them (including the main campus) are about five minutes from the city center. So dining and shopping opportunities can be reached in a few minutes. The Spark Building (on the main campus) is very modern and you are always amazed by the architecture when you enter the building.
The university is very well equipped. There are many laboratories or studios available to the students that could be used at any time or by appointment (if necessary after an introduction). There are also a lot of editing rooms with the corresponding software and a very large rental of equipment. The library has a large selection of books for creative study programs. There is also a small kitchen in the library where you can warm up your food and make tea. There are also a lot of computers that have installed different software (for example from Adobe). The library offers at the end of the semester from a certain time a free taxi home (SafeSolent) so that you don’t have to worry about how to get home safely after a long study session at night. You can find the areas that the service applies to on the website and on social media.
Solent University also has a newly built gym, which is located next to the main campus.
Course choice, course content, type of examination
The range of courses at Solent University is very large. As a ” Study Abroad Student ” you have the opportunity to take courses from different study programs – as long as there were of course no overlaps in the timetable. Most of my experiences at Solent University relate to the creative master’s programs, as I got more insight into them.
On the one hand, it was good that you get to know more different people and that you can also pick out the subjects that interest you. On the other hand, you have to consider that the semester can be more “ stressful ” than for regular students. For example, I attended two courses from two different degree programs. Both courses each had two submissions that were once in December and once in January. Unfortunately, both of my courses had their deadlines in the same week in December, so it was more exhausting for me than for regular students, but I was ready by mid-December. I think that was one of the isolated cases because the submissions from my Study Abroad friends were much further apart.
I decided on two courses from the master’s degree, each with 30 CATS (15ETCS). In the “ Approaches to Post Production in Film & TV ” course, we mainly got to know Avid and also received workshops on After Effects and Pro Tools. During the introductions to Avid, we received the corresponding software book and used the book to go through the functions. As an exercise, we received editing homework every week. Our teacher always gave us feedback, which we should then incorporate in a new cut version.
In the middle of the semester, our semester assignments were announced. We had to cut an 8-12 minute documentary and write a 3000 word report on it. The weighting was 50% each and we had a month to do it. During the month we also had to show our teacher the interim results and implement her feedback. The course description said that we would also get to know color editing with DaVinci Resolve, but unfortunately we didn’t make it until the end of the semester. Read more experience for studying abroad on Usprivateschoolsfinder.
The Visual Communication Practice course (known as “shape unit”) was very interesting and multifaceted. At the beginning of the semester we were given a shape (circle, square, triangle) and we had to deal with it for the whole semester. Every week we presented our work from the previous week and received feedback. Sometimes there was also a homework assignment. Since the class size was around 10-15 students, the atmosphere was very informal. Dealing with the teachers was also very personal and they were all addressed by their first names.
In addition to the lectures, you could also attend very exciting workshops. I tried screen printing, among other things, and attended several workshops on analog photography and film development. That was really great and I can recommend it to everyone. Thanks to the introductions, I was able to use the studios for my work afterwards. The submission consisted of a 30 DIN A5-page or 60 DIN A4-page portfolio. It included analyzes, research, thoughts, interpretations, reflections and self-made work. You could choose freely which different media you wanted to work with.Digital graphics, animations, working with watercolors or wood or screen printing – everything was possible and you should generally try out a lot and move away from your comfort zone.
Since the task was also very open and you had to do a lot of research and analyze what I didn’t know before in my studies, it was very difficult for me to find myself at first. It took me a while to understand what I had to do and what was expected. It helped a lot that they showed us examples from the previous semester at the end. Nevertheless, it gave me a lot of pleasure and I was able to try out many new media and gain experience. The course took place in the BB building. This is about ten minutes from the main campus. I also had my own desk therewhere I could create my work. Because the university had a lot of creative courses and you are constantly in a creative environment, it encourages your own creativity and you get immensely inspired by each other. I liked that very much.
It consists in the lectures general attendance and you had to always check in with the student card. However, if you couldn’t attend the lecture, you had to let the teachers know and it was fine. In some cases we only had one or two lecture days a week, but the courses were very time-consuming, so that we were generally very busy and the 15 ECTS were fully justified.
In general, I would say that teaching in Great Britain is significantly different than at my university in Germany, and that is why I sometimes struggled at the beginning. However, I think that it has brought me a lot further and that I have taken a lot with me. I will also incorporate the “British” approach in my further studies.
On-site support as well as accommodation and costs
I applied through MicroEDU. The employees were all very nice and helpful. It was a good feeling to know that you always had a contact person to turn to if there were problems, even during the semester abroad. The on-site support was also very good. During the orientation week we got all the relevant information and also got to know the university and a lot of people. If you had any questions during the semester abroad, you could always contact the Student Hub. He was the point of contact for everything from tuition fees and the issuing of certificates to contact persons for mental or personal problems. They also pass you on if they don’t work on certain topics.
I found my shared room through spareroom.co.uk and paid £ 549 a month for my fully furnished room. The shared flat consisted of working people and was about five to ten minutes away from the university. The university also offers student dormitories. I decided against it because I wanted more contact with the locals and also wanted a big bed so that friends and family could stay with me during their visit. The price for a small student room was generally similar, as the student dormitories had to pay rent until mid-January. Since I have learned from other experience reports that the lectures will end in mid-December, I only rented my room up to and including December. Another option would be to look at other student residences (for example www.thestudenthousingcompany.com). My friends have had very good experiences there too.
In Southampton there is an Aldi and a Lidl, where you can buy groceries cheaply. Otherwise you can find everything you need at ASDA. The Tesco is a bit more expensive, but also has longer opening times. In general, however, the shops are open longer than in Germany and you can also go shopping on Sundays. If you still need kitchen utensils, bed linen or the like for moving in, you can get them from ASDA or Ikea. The Ikea is in the center of the city and we had discount campaigns for students at the beginning of the semester. If you intend to buy something, it is definitely worth keeping your eyes open. In general, I paid for almost everything with my Visa card and that went without any problems.
There are many buses in Southampton. Personally, I didn’t really use it because everything was within walking distance. I think if you live within walking distance of the university and / or own a bike, you can get along very well without public transport.
Tips, excursions & other things
The semester abroad was definitely worth it. Personally, I found a semester almost too short again and would have liked to stay longer. Now a few personal tips and ideas for excursions:)
At the beginning of the semester there is the so-called Freshers’ Fayre, which you should take with you on everyone. It is an event where the sports teams and societies introduce themselves. There are also lots of local businesses presenting themselves and lots of freebies. The Solent has a very wide range of sports teams and societies. There is something for everyone (cheerleading, surfing, theater, make-up, etc.). If you are unsure whether and where to join, you can find out more at the Freshers’ Fayre or visit the individual trial days. Sports teams and societies are the perfect opportunity to get to know “locals” and to pursue the same interests together.
There is a football stadium near the university and the university often sells inexpensive tickets (around ten to twenty pounds). This is a great opportunity for everyone who is interested in football or who just wants to experience the stadium feeling. So I would recommend keeping your eyes open. The offers can appear on the homepage under News or in the stories on Instagram.
There’s not that much to do in Southampton, but it’s incredibly well located for great day or weekend trips to the nearest town and / or town. My recommendations: New Forest, Bournemouth, Old Harry Rocks, Brighton, Durdle Door, Isle of Wight, Bath, London, the Christmas market in Winchester. I booked the tickets for the train or bus rides with the “Trainline” app. You can often buy tickets on the bus. If there are three or more people traveling, you can take a group ticket and save yourself a lot of money.
I flew from Munich and recommend the Munich Airport – London Gatwick connection, as you can get to Southampton directly from London Gatwick by train, which is usually cheaper and faster.
In Southampton one is told and told very often that one should watch out for the night and that it is dangerous to be alone in the dark. In particular, you shouldn’t cross the parks at night – not even when you’re out with friends. It’s not a problem during the day. Luckily, my friends and I have n’t had any bad experiences and haven’t really had a queasy feeling. I think if you act with common sense, such as avoiding poorly lit streets and avoiding going home alone at night and maybe taking an Uber after you leave, then there is nothing to worry about.
For creative people who want to gain practical experience and earn a bit of money while studying, there are student jobs at the university’s own creative agency, Solent Creatives. The student jobs can be found on their website.
When you are there, enjoy the time as much as you can and talk to people so that you can quickly connect and make good memories together. Time will go by so quickly. But it is sure to be an incredible journey and adventure that is definitely worth it. Stay safe and have fun.