Magnus, an undergraduate student from Norway, is a final year student on the BA Interior Architecture course at Middlesex University. Here, Magnus tells us about his experience of applying to, studying and living in London.
Why I decided to study in London?
It took some while before I discovered what it was that I wanted to study. I first tried International Finance and Marketing – on suggestion from my parents – at the Business Institution in Norway. When I realised it was not for me, I had a conversation with one of my closest friends, and he made me realise that what I wanted to study was more related to Design.
I looked into a variety of design fields, and found courses in everything from Fine Arts to Interior Architecture. It was the latter that really gave me the drive and inspiration to quit my current course and give design a try. It did not take long before I realised I wanted to do this abroad in a more multicultural city.
For me, design is a living organism which is in constant need of change. It needs to be fed culture and diversity to not only survive, but to thrive. London seemed to be the natural choice for me for several reasons; I had already been many times, it is an easy 2.5-hour flight away from home, and London is considered the “capital” of Europe. London has for centuries been the hotspot for culture, technology and diversity, and of course Design. I was now super excited, and couldn’t wait to start with the next step… where would I go and how would I get there?
Across the Pond, and how Middlesex stood out in the crowd.
Knowing what and where I wanted to study, the research began. Not long after, I contacted an organisation I found on the internet called “Study Across the Pond”. They specialise in getting international students, from countries such as Norway, America, Canada and Latin America to England in order to study, and they do it all for free.
They will help you find the right course and make a list of items you need to apply for that programme. They will also help with the application process, student loans, and a place to live during your studies.
“Study Across the Pond” host an event in Oslo every year where universities around the UK get their own area to promote their courses.
Talking to several university representatives, one school and one man stood out for me. When I sat down to talk about the university, and the process to apply with the Director of Programme for Interior Architecture and Design at Middlesex, he spoke about the school with such passion, openness and brought up words like diversity, creative workshops, and practical work, exactly the words I was looking to hear. I decided on the spot that that was where I wanted to go.
How did I find the transition to London?
After the application process, and receiving a formal offer of acceptance, it was time to move to London. I had been to London many times before, but this time I was more excited, this was not just for a week or a weekend. Everything seemed different than before, even though that was not necessarily the case.
Luckily, having a family home in London, I had a lot of time to enjoy the summer, and I was able to explore and familiarize myself with the city, what was where and how to get around.
My experience at Middlesex University, and how I have adapted to living in London.
My first day at Middlesex was very exciting. I am a very sociable person, and being in this big city connecting with people from all over the world with different views and experiences, was not only great, it was amazing.
I have had more than just a student role at Middlesex. I have been a Student Learning Assistant, which means I am helping students from the previous year to find a strategy on how to study effectively and to help them reflect on their own work, but also helping on a social level.
I have also represented Middlesex and the students from Design at a strategy launch at City Hall where the Deputy Mayor was amongst the guests.
I think over the years I have been very well integrated, almost like I melted in to the society. I have never had a problem with English, but it has noticeably improved over the years I have spent here. I connect well with my classmates and I can proudly call some of them my best friends today. I also have friends outside the university through my neighbours, people I meet in the local pub, and other dog-owners. I also take part in cultural and political events.
My experience at Middlesex has played a huge role helping me to adapt to the London culture. It has opened my eyes and broadened my experiences, not only on a professional level, but also on a personal level. Sometimes I even almost forget that I am not British. I enjoy going back to Norway, but England is now my home, it is where I belong, and when I picture the future, I picture myself here.
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