Educated opinion – Bath Spa University
Thursday 02 April 2009
Studying in Bath is a truly unique experience. From the bustle of people winding through the old narrow streets in search of vintage shops and high street bargains to the carved angels in the cathedral stonework, it is a city of many faces. Jane Austen is appears constantly across the city, Sally Lunn’s restaurant is well known and even Hollywood celebs are residents: Nicolas Cage has bought a house here. It’s not surprising he was attracted to the place when you stumble across The Royal Crescent, a stunning arc of Georgian houses that is worthy of a photograph every single time.
Bath Spa University is three miles from the busy city centre, based on Newton Park campus: a beautiful pastoral idyll, complete with lake walks, castles, and a plethora of sheep and cows. In this rural pocket it is easy to find a quiet place to study or just take time out to recover after the night before. You never feel out of touch from city life however, because the city centre is only 20 minutes away on the regular university bus.
Studying here is both independent and interactive: there is the perfect balance between an autonomous attitude to work and contact time with tutors. This allows creative thought alongside academia while letting students collaborate on ideas too. I have found this flexible study method invaluable in allowing me to discover not only how I work but also the kind of work I produce.
Bath Spa is one of the smaller universities in the UK with around 5,500 students; however it never feels claustrophobic as there is such a focus on independent work. There are halls on campus and also privately run halls three miles away, with hotel-like facilities. Whether you are staying on or off campus the regular Bright Orange Bus (Bob) service can get you into town quickly and runs well into the night.
The night life in Bath is quieter than that of the bigger cities, but all the clubs have their own little quirks. There is a club beside the weir where you can watch the water fall underneath the bridge while sipping cocktails and smoking shisha pipes, for example. Due to Bath’s architecture most of the clubs are underground, so it always feels like you’re really submerging yourself in Bath culture on a night out.
Bath is also known for its Roman baths; entrance is free to Bath residents, which includes students. After an educational trip you can make your way to the newly opened Thermae Bath Spa for some real rest and relaxation. Meanwhile, the independent cinema is just over £2 for a showing, there are great student offers on nights out and hundreds of little cafés and bookshops to stop and chat in.
It’s hard not to feel inspired in Bath. Living in this unique city allows you to be who you want to be while becoming a part of that history it is so famous for.
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