What it’s like to be a student at Buckinghamshire New University’s School of Art, Design & Performance
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What it’s like to be a student at Buckinghamshire New University’s School of Art, Design & Performance

What it’s like to be a student at Buckinghamshire New University’s School of Art, Design & Performance

A study abroad adventure at a UK art school will be one to remember. When planned right, it could be an unforgettable experience. Where else than London, Europe’s most multicultural city for a sensory overload and creativity in every corner; a metropolis that inspired everyone from Van Gogh to Paul Smith, to excite the artist and designer within you? Where else but the English countryside, the muse of great poets and creators, to knuckle down and earn your degree?

At Buckinghamshire New University’s School of Art, Design and Performance (Bucks Art & Design), you can be at the centre of all this action and more.

The school is not one short of credentials. It has over 110 years of history in delivering craft, art and design education. This tradition of quality teaching remains today. In The Guardian University Guide 2020, its Design Studies programmes are ranked 8thin the UK. Meanwhile, its BA Fashion Design and BA Textile Design courses are ranked in first position in London & the Southeast, and 5th in the UK.

But what the rankings don’t capture is why Bucks Art & Design offers the must-have university experience every international student dreams of.

Based in Buckinghamshire, Bucks Art & Design is located just a short train ride away from the bustling capital of London, with links to the rest of the UK and beyond. Studying in Greater London means students get the best of both worlds, feeling the buzz of London minus the stress of its high costs.

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Bucks New University workshop and studio space

On campus is the Bucks’ Student Union. Run by students for students, this is where you’ll have fun, express yourself and get involved with like-minded people in societies, sports, volunteering and workshops at one of the top 10 Student Unions in the UK. There’s also The Big Deal, a unique package for free participation in entertainment, sports, societies and all kinds of recreational and developmental activities – for free!

More coveted than all these goodies, however, is the opportunity to build relationships that last a lifetime. At Bucks Art & Design, fresh graduate Lucas Robin discovered this first-hand.

Originally from France, Robin truly enjoyed his time at Bucks Art & Design. It’s where he met his creative partner who both now work together in a renowned advertising agency in London.

“After my studying in Paris, I was looking for a more specialised course on advertising. I found my fit here in High Wycombe (Bucks’ main campus), where all the classes were dedicated to helping us become professionals,” explained Robin.

“Creative advertising at Bucks is also like a small family. It was a completely different way of studying than what I was used to in France. The classes are small groups and we’re close to our teachers.”

In a 2017 report, the Institute of International Education found links between international educational experience and the critical skills needed for employment in today’s workforce. Studying abroad for longer periods of time, the study found, makes a high impact on subsequent job offers and career advancement as well as the development of foreign language and communication skills.

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BA Interior and Spatial Design visit to Alvar Aalto’s studio in Helsinki during study trip

Aleksandra Slubowska, a BA Interior and Spatial Design graduate from Bucks, would agree.

She described her time there as one that gave her “a broad spectrum of different skills” that not only helped her in her academic career, but “in all aspects of her life”.

The countless hours spent in Bucks’ studios – part of the school’s emphasis on the hands-on experience –  learning AutoCAD, Photoshop, InDesign, and 3D programmes like Rhino or 3D S Max, as well as partaking in overseas professional practice trips to New York and Helsinki, all paid off for Slubowska, who is currently pursuing an MA in Landscape Design at the University of Sheffield. The sum of all these experiences helped her grow her practice invaluably.

Making all the difference, her knowledgeable and supportive tutors at Bucks Art & Design really helped her on her way. When the stress was too much, Slubowska could always seek one of her tutors for help. It’s this “close connection that makes Bucks stand out among other universities.

“No one there is just a number in the register, and no one there will pass unnoticed. I have always felt listened to and taken seriously.”

Before, Slubowska believed she was just an average student, but “at Bucks it turned out that a qualified tutor and an appropriate course works wonders.

“Although I had never been a risk-taker, going to a foreign country to pursue my dreams and ambitions has made me realise that sometimes it is really worth it even if it seems scary and impossible.”

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