Greetings from Leeds, United Kingdom! My boyfriend Sami and I came to Leeds together in September and have really enjoyed our time here. We both study media, but different courses, so you will hear a different kind of experience from Sami on his blog post.
I studied Graphic Design in Leeds Beckett University and I have to say that I was very happy with my course choices. I studied on Level 5, with second year students.
The biggest difference compared to TAMK was the structure of the courses. We had 3 courses during the Autumn semester and one course lasted approx. for one month. In TAMK I was used to having many courses at the same time, but in Leeds Beckett we only concentrated on one course at the time.
Inside these courses we had different lectures, workshops, school trips, feedback sessions and tutoring. It got some time for me to get used to the schedule and structure of the courses, but in the end I actually preferred this way of studying.
The courses were also much more creative than in TAMK. In TAMK we sit on computers a lot, but I barely used any computers during my exchange studies. I still felt that I learned a lot more by doing things by hand, painting, attending lectures, exhibitions and school trips.
The teachers/tutors were all very nice and talented in the Graphic Arts and Design courses. I really enjoyed the fact that they really cared about the students’ needs and gave a lot of feedback during the courses.
Leeds is a great city for studying. It is a big university city and there are many things to do after school. We really enjoyed the vibrant pub culture, amazing restaurants and different kind of events that Leeds had to offer.
Leeds is also really good for shopping. The city centre is full of shopping centres with all the biggest mainstream brands, but also some cute independent shops for vintage clothing, vinyl records, comics, cosmetics etc…
I will definitely miss some the Leeds’ restaurants once I get back to Finland. If you ever visit Leeds, you need to check out these places:
Bundobust, for delicious modern Indian food and amazing beer selection. Try their own Bombay Dazzler beer, just amazing!
Tapped, for the best craft beers in town and Italian pizza (picture above)
Belgrave Music Hall, for meeting friends and seeing live gigs. Selling burgers, pizza and beer, of course!
Headrow House, for chilled night out. 4 floors of cool people and good music. Beer garden on the rooftop, a cocktail bar and a beer hall.
I also recommend traveling a lot. Leeds has great location in the middle of the UK. Beautiful little towns like York (a must visit!) and Whitby are only 1-2 hours away by bus. Also bigger cities like Manchester and Liverpool, only 1-2 hours by train. If you wish to travel further like Edinburgh or London, remember to book tickets early so you will get the much cheaper.
We travelled a lot with a company called Don’t Be a Tourist. Great option for those who want to meet other exchange students and don’t enjoy booking hostels and trains themselves. We travelled to York, Whitby, Lake District, Bath/Stonehenge and Edinburgh with them and would highly recommend!
If you want to read more about Leeds, I will soon add more blog posts about our exchange experiences on my own blog Ida’s Cozy Corner (only in Finnish, sorry!). If you have any questions about studying in Leeds, feel free to contact me.