April 29, 2016, by International students
Meet our Student Callers: Alberto from Spain
If you hold an offer to study at The University of Nottingham, you might be lucky enough to receive a call from one of our international students. Alberto has been speaking to students in Latin America and his native Spain about life at Nottingham.
Why did you choose to study at Nottingham?
After studying a BSc in Archaeology here in the UK, I decided that I wanted to do my PhD on the Cuban War for Independence. As it happens, The University of Nottingham has one of the best research groups on Cuba that one can find across Europe: the Centre for Research on Cuba. I came for a quick visit in the autumn of 2011 and immediately fell in love with the place, the department, and (figuratively speaking) with my future supervisor, Prof. Antoni Kapcia. He helped me all the way through the process of preparing a strong research proposal and, after a few months, I got an offer and, more importantly, one of the grants from the International Office, the Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship for Research Excellence. I am now in the writing-up period, about to submit my thesis. Time flies when you enjoy it!
What is your favourite thing about living in Nottingham?
I live in Beeston, one of the villages around University Park. It is one of the favourite areas for staff and postgraduate students, given its proximity to the University and the amount of facilities and services you can find within walking distance. One of the best things about living in Nottingham is the range of options you have for doing different activities in your spare time. It offers a lot of options for people who enjoy a urban environment: a vibrant music scene, art exhibitions, international food, second-hand bookshops, great pubs, historic sites, and much more. For those who prefer the countryside, there are multiple alternatives around the city, such as the Attenborough Nature Reserve, the Trent Valley Way, Sherwood Forest (obviously), or the impressive Peak District. It is only a matter of picking one at a time.
Where is your favourite place in Nottingham, and why?
There are many lovely places in Nottingham, but I think my favourite spot is Beeston Marina. I really like the relaxed atmosphere in this small community, one of the many that have emerged along the rivers and canals in England. People dock their narrowboats there and stay for several days, or sometimes even for months! In some way, they are a kind of floating caravan parks, with small stores, workshops and, of course, amazing pubs and cafés.
Where is your favourite place to eat out in Nottingham, and why?
There is a great offer in Nottingham in terms of food. My favourite places are Habesha (Ethiopian), The Pelican Club (Italian), Yamas (Greek and Spanish tapas), Crocus Café (vegan and vegetarian) and Korea House, but there are many others. Still, if I had to pick one of them, combining good food and an incredible setting, I think I would choose Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem and its rooms built into the rocks, a must-visit place for anyone coming to Nottingham.
Are you part of any societies?
I am part of RAMSOC, the Rambling and Hillwalking Club, which regularly organises day trips and excursions to places such as the Peak District.
What’s the most frequently asked question students ask you, and what advice do you give them?
Students coming to Nottingham tend to have questions about accommodation, which is, quite understandably, one of the main concerns for international students. Having been a tutor in one of the residence halls, I always recommend to spend at least the first year living on campus. It is a safe, comfortable and practical environment, where you will have plenty of time to adapt to the University, meet new people, and enjoy the activities and events organised by the Students’ Union and the Junior Common Room (including the formal dinners!). After that year, you can choose to stay in halls or move to a shared house with some friends in areas such as Lenton or Beeston, where there is a large community of students.
What’s your number one tip for international/EU students coming to Nottingham?
Moving to a different country is exciting but can also be quite challenging sometimes. In the end, however, the pros always surpass the cons. It is an experience that will definitely make you grow up and will open up a vast amount of opportunities for you in the future. But do not forget that you cannot do all this alone. Never miss a chance to meet people, make some friends, or discover something new. With tens of clubs and societies, and all kinds of events going on during the year, you will very soon meet someone with your own interests. University is not only about learning, but also about sharing.
What are you hoping to do after you graduate/finish your course?
Well, after 8 years since I started university, I guess it is about the right time to start looking for a job… Anyway, I do not discard applying for a post-doc scholarship after graduating, I really enjoy teaching and travelling around for my research. All that, of course, after some proper holidays to celebrate that I have passed the viva!