souvenir Studying in Bristol / An International Viewpoint
souvenir Studying in Bristol / An International Viewpoint
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On the way... First Meeting Bristol Accommodation Cuisine Homecooking
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Welcome Autumn Autumn Hari Raya Sports events Cardiff, Wales Burnham-On-Sea
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Winter Begins Snowy Times Bath, Somerset Christmas Fair Christmas Gong Xi Fa Cai Amsterdam, Holland
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Spring Arrives Wiltshire London Birmingham Cirencester
Summer Time Acknowledgements
ON THE WAY... 11490 Malaysian students went to study in UK last year. Approximately 500 of those attended UWE, making 2% of the student body. The majority of the South East Asian students flock from Malaysia, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Singapore.
At first I thought i’d be travelling all on my own, but I realised lots of people from my college were going, it wasn’t so lonely.
The flight from Kuala Lumpur, it lasts 13 hours. Many international students arrive with their family to help them settle in and to make sure that their children are safe and comfortable before returning home.
Everything amazed us, we were typical tourists taking pictures of post boxes, but they are pretty cool... no?
The adventure begins, they buy their belongings and begin to settle in. The new students become accustomed to their new surroundings, appreciating things we take for granted in UK and acclimatising to the change in weather.
FIRST MEETING The international students often gather for lunches and other events, in order to get to know them I decided to join them in their adventures.
When the new students arrived in third year, I noticed a huge majority of the students were from South East Asia, namely Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong. For the beginning of the year, their classes were separate to ours to integrate them into the course, I decided I wanted to integrate into the social aspects of the course. Having studied in an International School in Malaysia, there were many different races and cultures. In Malaysia, people of all races socialised together. I wanted to bridge the gap between the home students and the international students. I started by introducing myself to the students to figure out what they did while in Bristol.
Students take a scenic short cut behind Bower Ashton, through the grounds of Ashton court to have a lunch at a nearby pub. It is a chance for students to mingle and the international liason lecturers to regroup with the old and new students.
I begin to question the students on their initial experiences in UK and what they hope to gain from being here besides the education. I hope to build a foundation with them and get to know their feelings about the people here and how they miss home. The international group does not only consist of South East Asian students but students from all over the world, each sharing their culture and their individual experiences. There is just a huge majority of South East Asian students.
BRISTOL Bristol is a modern, contemporary, lively city that is filled with history and character. The heritage and eventful past is still evident all over the city. It is known as the capital of South West and it is a city bustling with culture, business and education. It has an active nightlife, famous for underground music and street art scene. It is a city full of exciting events, festivals and gigs.
Bristol is such a beautiful city, it has the metropolitan side but it has these breathtaking landscapes.
The Clifton Suspension Bridge spans the Avon Gorge and is a symbol of Bristol. The bridge was designed by Brunel and was opened 1864, despite the fact that the bridge was designed for horse drawn traffic, it still maintains today’s modern vehicles.
The Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity is commonly known as Bristol Cathedral. Founded in 1140, it became the seat of the bishop and cathedral of the new Diocese of Bristol in 1542.
College green is an open space located in the centre of Bristol, surrounded by the Bristol Cathedral, Bristol Library, several historical buildings converted into offices, hotels and shops. The City Council building is located on the green, it is a wonderful place for students to take a break.
Bower Ashton is great, beautiful scenery, interesting characters, great location and a lot of personality.
The entrance to Bower Ashton campus located next to a Deer park and Ashton Court. It takes a 20 minute bus journey to reach and is a wonderfully open, casual and creative campus.
Cabot Circus is a shopping mall adjacent to Broadmead, the main shopping district in Bristol city centre. The Cabot Circus development area contains shops, offices, a cinema, hotel and 250 apartments, opened in 2008 and cost ÂŁ500 million to build. Itâ€™s design has won several awards since it has been built due to its architecture.
The Harbourside is always a bustling area of Bristol, easily accessible it houses many bars, pubs and restaurants, the Bristol Science Center and Aquarium, the Watershed Media Centre and is open to boat races and wildlife. There are always events going on and there is rarely a dull moment.
One of many theatres in Bristol, the Bristol Hippodrome is located in the heart of Bristol, opened its doors on the 16th December 1912 It frequently shows West End shows that are on tour such as We Will Rock You and Guys & Dolls.
The Hatchet Inn, located by Bristolâ€™s O2 Academy and behind the Hippodrome is Bristolâ€™s oldest pub, licensed since 1606. Packed full of history and nostalgia, the pub is scattered with reminders and stories of its past as well as all the great things you would expect in any pub!
Park Street in Bristol runs from College Green up a steep incline northwards to join Park Row and the Clifton Triangle. Looking up the street there is a dramatic view of the Wills Memorial Building, a landmark building of Bristol University. The street is home to many leisure and retail places, several small art shops and some work by the local graffiti artist, Banksy.
Gloucester Road, is a part of the A38 in north Bristol that runs through the suburbs of St. Andrews, Bishopston and Horfield. It is full of small boutiques, deliâ€™s and vintage shops. It is a lovely stroll that has plenty to look at.
Whiteladies Road, is a main road in Bristol and it forms part of the A4018. Whiteladies is home to BBC Bristol and the Clifton Down Station. There are also many bars and restaurants on the road and is a great place to start a night out.
ACCOMMODATION There are several places that the University accommodation and situate you. There are several in the city centre, others on the main University campus, Frenchay, and of course, there are many student houses around Bristol. Most of the international students were house in the city centre accommodation and it is closer to their campus, Bower Ashton.
We got into Bristol so early, the Dorms were empty. When everyone arrived, it was nice and lively, felt like a home.
Some students are lucky in getting slightly larger rooms, most rooms are a smaller size but with solutions to maximize the room. Some buildings also have studios which require more rent but have more space and privacy.
The rooms are suited to everything the students need, there is a lot of space and privacy. There is always a problem with getting on with all your flatmates and keeping the flat tidy, but living with other students is so much fun, you learn a lot.
All the accommodation has easy access to the city, some is located in the city and others will be located on the UWE U-Link Bus service. Itâ€™s so easy getting around once you get used to the Bristol.
CUISINE Bristol has a wide range of cuisine and a wide range of prices alongside that cuisine! You can get everything around the world from amazing fish and chips to the malaysian Nasi Lemak!
I’m so happy that you can get decent Malaysian cuisine here! It helps with the homesickness!
Sausages are a big staple of British diet, they are popular with a Big English fry up. Here, there is a traditional cumberland sausage and a German sausage, American style! Multi Cultural experiences all around!
Food here isn’t spicy enough, I want to carry chilli sauce in my handbag...
Whatever you’re craving you can get, but it is a bit more expensive than at home, that bit sucks.
Fish and Chips is a popular sea-side and take away dish from the United Kingdom and if you like fish and you like chips, it is an ultimate must. Bristol is home to some fantastic ‘Chippy’s’
Shanghai Nights is a tremendous chinese restaurant, they offer an all you can eat chinese buffet, dim sum and a normal a la carte menu. Students who are part of the malaysian society get a small discount. HK Diner is a nice place to go for Nasi Lemak, May flower is also a great place for cheap chinese delights!
HOMECOOKING Not everything that the students are used to eating is easily accessible in UK so they learn to make do with what is available, there are several good Asian stores around Bristol and most supermarkets offer a wide variety of exotic ingredients. Steamboat is an easy favourite to bring you home.
Steamboat is a quick and easy way to feel at home, you make a simple soup base and buy the ingredients you want to make. Everyone puts what they want in, it is like a chinese fondue.
Honestly, I never cooked a single thing before I came here, desperate times, calls for desperate measures!
Steamboat is very much a community meal, everyone can sit together and add what they want to eat. Everyone can get involved, it is a very hands on meal.
Itâ€™s nice to have homecooked meals with the people around you, you learn a lot from eachother.
Tom Yam is characterised by its distinct hot and sour flavors, with fragrant herbs generously used. The basic broth is made of stock and fresh ingredients such as lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, lime juice, fish sauce and crushed chilli peppers.
Tom Yam paste can be made with the fresh ingredients, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, lime juice, fish sauce and crushed chili peppers. However, it is easy to buy, different brand pastes may have different characteristics so students normally bring their own or go for an imported brand they are aware of.
I brought so much curry paste, tom yam paste and chilli from Malaysia, not realising you can get it all here!
Everyone gets involved preparing different aspects of the meal, cooking in Asia is very much a group effort! Everyone likes to get involved and learn what is going on.
It makes me proud to be able to cook food that only my mum made!
AUTUMN The students arrive in Bristol just before the first term begins, at Autumn time. The weather is beginning to turn cold but everyone is pleasantly surprised by how warm it still is. The leaves on the trees are beginning to turn red and fall away leading us into Winter.
I do wish we had arrived at a warmer time of the year, I had no idea what to expect from the weather.
Students arrive to experience Autumn, many of them for the first time. There is really only two seasons in some parts of Asia, hot and monsoon.
I had never before kicked a pile of colourful red leaves, it was fantastic. I can’t resist everytime I see one!
Autumn is the transition from warm to cold, the leaves start turning to vibrant warm reds and browns, fascinating the creative eye of the international students.
HARI RAYA in Malaysian means ‘Celebration day’ commonly known as Eid al-Fitr, a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.
Being away from home for Hari Raya broke my heart, but this event made me feel like home had followed me here.
Male dressed in ‘Baju melayu’ Malay shirt and a songkok, a traditional malay cap. Female dressed in ‘Baju kurung’ humourously mistranslated from Indonesian to Malay as ‘Sack shirt’ and a hijab, traditional head dress.
I thought iâ€™d be alone on Hari Raya, till I heard of this event! It felt like everyone was family!
Men and women buy new traditional outfits for the celebration, it is also common for children to be given small sums of money (Eidi) by their elders. Everyone often gathers the night before the prepare decorations and food for the celebration.
SPORTS EVENTS The Malaysian students gather together to compete for their universities and travel to new places around the UK but to meet other Malaysians residing in the UK. The most popular being in Nottingham, followed by the new one in Cardiff. The event soon to invite Malaysians from all over Europe.
I never expected to see so many Malaysians when i got here, I wanted to meet local people to though!
Hundreds of Malaysian students arrive to support their universities and compete against others. They get to see the sites of the host city and enjoy traditional malaysian food.
We did it to create some team spirit no matter the end result! I really enjoyed getting to know everyone.
Malaysian Womenâ€™s football team, left Cardiff Malaysian Games with a Bronze Medal and lots of team spirit
It is nice to do something that isn’t course related but is still involved in the University, you meet a lot of new people.
Asian culture is largely centered around food and meal times. Having Malaysian cuisine makes everyone feel a little more at home.
CARDIFF, WALES Cardiff is located a 45 minute train journey or an hour drive from Central Bristol. On your journey you can see the idyllic welsh landscapes and the modern Severn Bridge.
Cardiff Castle is one of Walesâ€™ leading heritage attractions and a site of international significance. During 2000 years of history, the Castle has been a Roman Garrison, a Norman stronghold and in Victorian times was transformed into a gothic fairytale fantasy.
I had no idea that there was a whole other language in Wales, I spent my most of the time there trying to figure it out!
Big Pit is a real coal mine and one of Britain’s leading mining museums. One can visit the mine in order to experience life as a miner. The Welsh Dragon (known in Welsh as Y Ddraig Goch ‘the red dragon’) found on the Welsh flag linked back to myths and tales.
BURNHAM-ON-SEA The coast is full of little sea-side towns, you can roam from popular Brighton or St. Ives, even to closer Weston-Super-Mare. For a school trip, we went to Burnham on Sea famous for its lighthouses and what it claims as the Britain’s smallest pier. Trains to Highbridge and Burnham take 45 minutes.
For my first experience of an English seaside... Not great! But, who doesn’t love a day at the beach, right?
Burnham-on-Sea is a quaint little village, there are some unusual attractions. Due the shifting sands of the River Parrett, it is a risk for shipping in the area and there are several iconic lighthouses situated in the area.
The village is full of all the typical seaside pleasures, a pier, fish and chips, ice cream, pick and mix sweets. It is definitely a good introduction for a quick trip to the beach if you canâ€™t make it to Brighton.
I wasn’t really sure what this place was meant to be, I’ve been told I need to head to a bigger seaside resort to understand it all better.
SNOWY TIMES Snow in 2010 was named ���The Big Freeze’ by the media, the coldest january since 1987 and the coldest winter since 1978! The snow lasted till mid February, while Great Britain struggled with the heavy snow, for the international students it was the first time many of them had experienced snow, they frolicked in the wintery weather!
This winter was definitely a big shock to the system, at first the snow was great, but it seemed like it was never going to stop!
Snow sculptures littered Bristol throughout the season and we were unlike anything the international students had seen before. Definitely more creative than the average snowman!
Snow covered Bristol is a beautiful sight. It is a whole new world when its covered in a white blanket.There is a strange and calming peace throughout the entire city as transport stops to wait for the snowy weather to pass.
I’d never made a snowman, snow angels, or had a snowball fight... It was fun, till the snow stopped the whole city!
BATH, SOMERSET Located a mere 10 minute train journey from Bristol Temple Meads train station, Bath is a historic roman city and Britain’s oldest. It is a nice place to get away from Bristol for a day. If you have the time and money to visit one of the Spa’s, it’s definitely worth it!
Every year at Christmas time, there are german markets that travel the cities, displaying German christmas traditions.
Bath is full of beautiful sights, you can wonder around for hours. There are wonderful arcades of little boutiques, wonderful historical architecture and luxurious bath spas. There is always something exciting going on in Bath!
Bath is so pretty, it is like a little model village you see in a toy shop. It seems so perfect!
The city is so calming, even when it’s busy it seemed so relaxed. It was to stroll around the area...
Bathâ€™s landscape consists of beautiful greenery and historic architecture. Itâ€™s famous for its hot springs, thermal baths. It is a city bursting with culture and information which should definitely be visited!
Every year, Bower Ashton has a Christmas Fair in which people bring and make things to sell. Many of the students this year got involved to keep themselves distracted throughout the cold winter holiday.
The fair got everyone working together and meeting new people to make things for the fair, It was great fun even with all the bickering!
Mostly International students got involved with the fair from some reason, we enjoyed the company from those we hadnâ€™t already met. We learnt from other market vendors, it helped to keep us distracted from the cold!
They had no idea how much things were worth in England, it was a last minute panic to try get the pricing right by asking the locals what a good scheme was.
We tried to involve ourselves with as much as we could to distract ourselves from getting homesick, there was lots to do luckily!
CHRISTMAS The observance of the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25 is celebrated in Asia like everywhere else in the world; however, not everyone follows the same traditions as they do in UK, it is a time for family and friends; hope and rejoicing; love and understanding; and giving and forgiving. For many of the international students, this was their first traditional Christmas.
I couldn’t believe someone I barely knew invited me to share their Christmas, I really felt like part of the family!
Mary Dearden and Mian Ng host a Christmas event in the comfort of Maryâ€™s own home. They introduce the international students to a Christmas dinner with all the traditions such as mulled wine.
It was a bit of an adventure getting to Mary’s but once there we were welcomed with open arms and mulled wine!
While not everyone celebrates a traditional Christmas, the students gather to celebrate a time of family and friends. Involving themselves in home cooking, crazy games and a secret santa.
It was so nice to have so many people to celebrate with, there was lots of food, presents and fun games! Good community spirit!
GONG XI FA CAI means ‘congratulations and be prosperous’ in conjunction with Chinese New Year, the longest, most important festivity in the Chinese Lunar Calendar. The festival traditionally begins on the first day of the first month in the Chinese lunar calendar and ends with Lantern Festival which is on the 15th day.
Part of me thinks that Chinese New Year is more exciting in UK, especially in London with all the events, but my family isn’t here...
Everyone gathers to celebrate Chinese New Year. The international office of Bower Ashton holds a dinner for their campus. Traditionally, the holiday involves, fireworks, dragon dances, prosperous decorations, family gatherings and the giving of red envelopes with money.
The Malaysian Student Association organises a Chinese New Year event. Everyone is welcome and the evening involves fantastic food, great food and games, including a â€˜Best Dressed Competitionâ€? catwalk.
I wish that the Malaysian society was stronger, but itâ€™s still fun and you feel at home.
AMSTERDAM, HOLLAND Amsterdam is a popular destination for students over the Easter break, you can often find good package deals online. There is plenty to be exposed to in Holland, you can wonder around the districts and canals of the city stumbling upon art museums, historical landscapes, exciting nightlife and extravangant botany. Definetely an experience you wonâ€™t forget!
Wondering the colourful, lively markets of Amsterdams is a likely to give you a few great Dutch souvenirs of your travels. There are various types of exciting markets from flowers to collectorâ€™s antiques.
Amsterdam is not renowned for having windmills, unknown to many people just outside of Amsterdam is a group of 8 windmills, for those who want to experience the dutch culture without venturing hours outside of the city.
The Tulip Farm near Amsterdam draws many tourists from spring till summer for everyone to experience the lively colours and to see first hand one of Hollandâ€™s most prized possessions.
After the long and overwhelming winter, everyone was excited to see the landscape changing. Flowers started to bloom and trees started to blossom and slowly the layers of winter clothes started to disappear as the sun started to peep out and warm the country.
I was so happy when Spring showed up, I thought I was never going to see the sun, Spring is GREAT!
On arrival, the country was turning from warm reds and yellows to a leafless winter landscape. Flowers started to bloom and they had rarely come across, it was like the country exploded into colour!
May Day marks the end of the uncomfortable winter half of the year in the Northern hemisphere, and it has traditionally been an occasion for popular and often raucous celebrations. Every year early May Day the Morris Dancers celebrate early in the morning at Castle Park, surrounded by the newly bloomed Blossoms.
Now, I forget how horrible the weather was in Winter, when I wanted to leave, at the moment, I want to stay.
WILTSHIRE Wiltshire is known for its high chalk hills and wide valleys, most famous for Stonehenge and Avebury Stone circle. Salisbury is famous for its catherdral with its mystical corridors and its towering steeples. Located an hour train journey from bristol or an hour and half drive, its a wonderful place for an afternoon of sightseeing.
The Avebury stone circle was one of a group of monuments built in the area in the Neolithic period. The main Avebury stone circle is roughly a quarter mile across, enclosing an area of about 28 acres, and it contains two smaller circles within it.
The air is so fresh here, Malaysia can be quite hazey and the air is thick. It is so light and refreshing in the country!
It is nice to go sightseeing and roam around, I donâ€™t think we would go to these places without some guidance!
Thatched roofs arenâ€™t seen much anymore due to the cost of maintenance however when you do stumble upon one it takes you back and immerses you in British history, even better if you can do it in a traditional pub!
LONDON London is the most popular sightseeing destination, the large city is filled to the brim with different locations and activities to keep you busy. From visiting the London Eye, Madame Tussauds, The Tate to shopping at the well known markets, strolling down Oxford street, filling up at China Town or catching a show at the West End. The list is never short of entertainment for a weekend get away!
Camden Market excites me so much! It’s an endless maze of bargains and brica-brac, I love that kind of stuff!
London is full of various markets, Camden Market or Camden Lock is one of Londonâ€™s most popular attractions. The stalls sell crafts, clothing, bric-a-brac, fast food, and other things.
London has a diverse range of people, cultures and religions, and more than 300 languages are spoken within its boundaries. Alongside the normal tourist attractions there are many layers of culture awaiting in the city.
is a large city that situates in the heart of England, the west midlands. It is the most densley populated city after London, it is a vibrant city, a thriving commericial hub. Often referred to as the second city, it is a great city for retail, events and business, full of culture, art and history.
Birmingham is so busy, it is fast paced and exciting. I thought London was the only city like that...
Victoria Square, considered to be the centre of Birmingham, formerly known as Council House Square, the above statue, River is part of the largest sculptural piece in the square designed by Mistry, nicknamed â€˜The Floozie in the Jacuzziâ€™ other statues are named, Youth, Guardians and Object.
Birmingham is UK’s second largest retail centre with the country’s busiest shopping centre The Bullring, located next to the iconic architecture of one of only four Selfridge’s department centres in the country.
Brindleyplace is part of a canalside regeneration scheme. The area consists of office buildings, museums, bars, restaurants and several squares. It is easily accessible and within walking distance of the main bus and train routes
CIRENCESTER Cirencester is a market town located in Gloucester, it is the largest city in the beautiful idyllic Cotswold district. It has a beautiful landscape and is reknowned for its vibrant historical sites.
If you are into antiques and forest walks, this a great place to go... If not... Beware.
You will find many antique shops selling a wide variety of authentic furniture, ceramic ware, and items very typical of the ancient past of the Cotswolds region.
Cirencester has been influenced by many historic periods and the architecture is strongly influenced by this. Near Cirencester there are many forests you can take idyllic strolls through. The beautiful Cotswold district is picture perfect no matter the weather.
SUMMER TIME... For those who are still are around when term comes to an end, there is much to do in England and if finances allow, Europe. Do a little research and you will find plenty of cheap deals and packages for you to travel around discovering more fantastic places. Don’t miss the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, a symbol for Bristol like the Suspension Bridge. Half a million people flock to Bristol to watch over the four days in August. It is one of UK’s top 5 outdoor events. Held in the rolling hills of Ashton Court,it is a free event run by a not-for-profit organisation. It is a must-see if you’re staying over Summer!
Thank you to all the International students who spent time giving me their feedback on living in England. Mian Ng and all of the International Officers for taking me on the trips and giving me tips on how to help the international students.
Photograph Acknowledgments: Hanis Azarea Shing Yi Chew Adam Evan-Cook Suyin Evan-Cook Yvonne Low Vanessa Ng Tan Pei Yin Neill Oswald