Something NEW I tried in Cheltenham

They say, ‘Time flies so fast’ and it is true…

I am currently doing my final year and I have only just noticed that 6 months have already passed and I am very close to finishing my degree. This means that in another 6 months’ time, I will be going home and it means less time to add new things to my bank of UK experience.

While I am trying to seek new things, a friend of mine has invited me to try a salsa dance class. I said, ‘No’ for two months, with excuses like ‘I know nothing about it’, ‘I won’t be able to do it well’, ‘People already know how to dance, so they will laugh at me’ and many others. However, after two months of constant pressure from my salsa-dancing peers, I decided to try it.  And you know what? I enjoyed it a lot. I am in love with salsa now! I still cannot do it well but that does not matter to me because I am enjoying it. I have done three classes now and I can’t wait to go to more classes.

They have Beginner classes every Friday at Copa, which is in Cheltenham and making it easy to access for Park/ FCH/ Hardwick students, Monday’s class is at Bishop’s Cleeve and Tuesday’s at Gloucester. Instructors and other learners are very friendly and supportive and they start teaching everything slowly like ABC, so it is very easy and enjoyable to learn. Attending these classes give, you the opportunity to make new friends and it allows you to escape the atmosphere of just study and work. I love it because I am learning a new thing and at the same time, I am enjoying it and making new friends, it’s like killing three birds with one stone, not even two birds. I would recommend it if you are looking for something new and cool!

Htet Htet

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Racecourse Week – Such a busy week!

Many of you might know about the horse racing festival at the racecourse if you have browsed about Cheltenham before making the decision to choose the University of Gloucestershire. It is such a popular and prestigious event where everyone visits Cheltenham and enjoys the races, and the festive vibe. You will see the High Street packed with well dressed ‘Ladies’ and ‘Gentlemen’ from all over the United Kingdom excited for the races, which is quite an experience for someone who has seen the ordinary days of Cheltenham for a long time.

For international students who want to take part, there are many chances to be in the racecourse. Since it is a huge festival, the Cheltenham Racecourse need many people to work for them in many aspects of the business such as the catering, security, and entertainment and so on. Many recruitment agencies will both come to the university and recruit students at fairs, or they will announce vacancies online.

I worked at the racecourse last year as a waitress with my friends and had lots of fun. The great thing is that you not only earn money but also get to see the races, watch the people enjoying the races, and make many new friends as many university students from nearby cities such as Bristol, Coventry, Birmingham, and Oxford come to work. It might be a bit tiring to work for four consecutive days (you can work 2 or 3 days as well, optional) but it is totally worth it. It was such a great experience to add to my bank of UK experiences since I cannot have this anywhere else.

Htet Htet

Walkin’ on the Wild Side

University is one of those times that can be the unhealthiest years a young person can experience. Stress, hurt, and, disappointment. Yet these things are what develop us as people. This being said it’s also one of the wildest times of our young adult life. For example; I have four different projects due, a weekly radio show to do, and the stress of being in a different country to name just a few.

But I’ve also been able to do some incredible things. With the university I’ve been able to meet amazing people on the sports teams, create my own club night at one of the student bars, and travel with some of my favourite people.

Plus there are some absolutely amazing events coming up this week. First and formally the Cheltenham Gold Cup will be featured this week with thousands upon thousands of people flooding our fair town with the promise of sports. The whole town will be painted red and we get to be a part of this world-renowned fiesta. It’s simply one not to be missed.

Also on the way for yours truly is a trip called Tour, in which each of the sports teams select an exotic destination to travel out to and play the sport they love! I’ll be joining the boarders club as we head to the French Alps for a massive outdoor ski & snowboard festival. It’s cheap as dirt and sounds like the opportunity of a lifetime.

While exhaustion, illness, or stress may be in store while you have your stay at university you can also expect excitement, opportunity, and just plain fun to be waiting for you as well. Should be one hell of a ride and I just can’t wait.

Till next time,

Ty Javos

Live Country Music

Back in Canada my friends and I all listen to country music, but here in England not many people appreciate Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton as much as they should. I was super surprised when I saw one of my favourite Canadian country bands was going to be playing in Birmingham and I knew I had to get at least one of my friends on the country music bandwagon. After our lectures were finished during the day (since I am here for school after all) my friend and I set off to Birmingham to see High Valley at the O2 institute. The band was doing a European tour with stops in London, Amsterdam, and Glasgow as well. At first when I checked the ticket prices I was a bit confused because they were only 11 pounds, but my inner student kicked in and realized that was more money I could save for next weeks grocery shop, since there was no way I was missing this show!

We ended up getting to take pictures with the band in a before show meet and greet, which was basically us standing in a room with 5 other people from North America. It was definitely a different vibe than I was expecting, but after getting photos, autographs, and snapchats I wasn’t complaining. It was cool to see how far everyone had traveled from just to see this show, and it made me realize there are lots of other students out there in the exact same boat as I am. We shared stories about what we were doing in England, how long we were staying for, and how we all managed to see High Valley for less than 20 bucks.

This week marks 6 months that I’ve been living in England and before seeing the concert I was definitely feeling a little bit disconnected from home. Standing in the concert hall belting out the words to the songs I knew all too well though, was the exact reminder that I needed. Yes I am about 4000 miles away from home, but I run into things everyday that bring me right back. So I can tell you that after that weekend I was able to successfully convert my friend Louise into a country fan so now when we both think of home, maybe our idea of it wont feel so different!

Aime Toi Toi-Même

I figured I’d save this piece for the day after the international celebrated day of love, Valentine’s Day. Everyday should be a day to show love.

Sometime last year, a music artiste dropped an album that was a hit. One of the most played songs from that album was titled ‘love yourself’.

It basically bordered around a guy reminiscing, soliloquizing or leaving a message for a certain girl after the end of a relationship…

It ends up with the singer telling the girl that he has moved on and he has no regrets because she was a really hard person to love (or she just made it horribly difficult).

I read somewhere (and I’m not just saying that! I really did) that you cannot accept the love that you think you don’t deserve…and that is the truth (speaking from experience here people!)

Simply put: Love starts from within.  To accept love, you have to believe you deserve it (or make an attempt at least) and to believe you deserve it, you have to practice on yourself. SO!

Aime Toi Toi-Même. That means, “Love yourself” in Spanish. HOWEVER, there is a dental floss-thin line between self-love and self-obsession. Self-love comes from loving yourself (if the name didn’t give that away). It is about loving who you are, seeing and accepting your flaws and working towards growth. Self-love doesn’t mean flawless. It doesn’t mean ‘perfect’ or ‘all figured out’. Self-love means: “I’ll commit to being the best version of myself, and even when I don’t feel like there is progress, I will still be consistent in trying”.

Self-obsession, on the other hand, is a bit more but ironically involves fewer people.

It is more ”until I am perfect in my own eyes and I make everyone believe I am perfect, no one matters” (see how many ‘I’s’ one sentence carries?) “or maybe they do, but I just need to be perfect so, at the moment I cannot help you, or show up to your event to support you, or even check in on you at the end of your day, or ask you about work or how you fared on your test, but if you give me some time to continually brood over my imperfect life, then I could one day focus on you (hopefully, before you’re dead!)”.

The only one who is all round perfect created you perfectly. So yeah, maybe there is a possibility of attaining perfection (you are allowed to contend with that) but, alas: It does not happen overnight. Perfection is a process, almost infinite. It needs commitment and consistency, and the perfect creator is ever willing to help you on that journey, but you need to be willing to accept it. Even He cannot force that on you. To accept it, you have to understand that He thinks you ARE worth dying for (literally, He actually died for you).

Summarily, above this sentence are a couple hundred words, and if words are easier said than done, you need more than a couple hundred attempts at an action. It really is not a piece of cake or a smooth journey. It’ll have some bumps in it and may even spill over. However, keep the two C’s in mind: Consistency and Commitment and it’ll all be worth it in the end. Love yourself, because you really are beautiful (scars and all) and pleasssssse accept love because you really are worth it.

Happy Love Day,

M.

Not TOO MUCH!!

Being away from home means no one to tell you what time you should be home by or how you should be studying instead of partying. So, studying abroad gives you a lot of freedom and it is all about being independently making decisions and growing to be an independent person. However, as a student, you might face so many temptations around you, your friends’ undeniable invitations for parties and drinking, or procrastinating to study until deadlines because your mom is not there to push you. As much as it is very free, you also have the duty to take responsibility for the consequences of your choices. Surely you don’t want to fail at the end of the academic year, and pay one more thousand pounds and study one more year.

It is normal that students are to not only study, but also have fun with friends and enjoy life. At this age, we all want to try new things and take risks for everything we do. However, we should always be aware of taking control and stop ourselves not to have TOO MUCH in everything. Too much study can limit you to have a good social life and at the same time, too many social events cannot be good for your results and goals. So, why not having a good balance between study and fun so that we can enjoy our student life and still achieve our goals?

Work Hard and Play Hard because you are being a responsible person and at the same time, enjoying the life to the maximum!!!

 

1-htet

Photo: Google

 

Coping with change

As my last post was on friends I thought it would be a good idea to talk about change. Coming to uni can be very hard and if, like I said before, you still haven’t quite got the hang of things yet it can be hard.

Dealing with anxiety, homesickness, stress… are all natural when encountering new stages, and/or situations in your life. So again, here a few tips that may help:

  1. Accept that change will affect you, your emotions might be unstable and it might take a while to settle down. The sooner you’ve accepted this the easier it is to get back on your feet.
  2. Good and bad changes affect us in a way that we may grieve in both situations as we are losing an old way of being or a set of circumstances.
  3. Don’t resist the change that you’re facing, go with the flow, this may help you adapt more easily.
  4. Try and keep a routine, at uni this sentence is heard and said nearly 4 times a day and it is very difficult as each day of every week is different. Also being independent means you have to make time for washing, cooking, eating, cleaning… but, it’s still a good idea to try and have a routine and stick to it as much as possible. This will allow you to have a sense of daily purpose and of knowing what you’re doing when.
  5. One of the key factors is to share, don’t suffer alone or in silence. There is always someone there for you. But, don’t make it all about how upset or anxious you are try having a laugh or a good time. That will also help with the making friends part.
  6. Break it down, tackle the bigger changes in small steps. Bit by bit and eventually you’ll get there.
  7. Every cloud has a silver lining, some changes can leave you feeling desperate, lost, worried… but each change brings new opportunities. Try and think about the future and stay focused on the positives rather than the negatives.

It won’t last forever, this last one is mostly for those who suffer a bit more. Those feeling of anxiety won’t last forever and you will adapt, probably without even realising it.

Making friends

First semester gone and back to uni. Leaving home after what potentially would be your first visit back can resurface some of the feelings experienced during the first weeks at uni.

If you find that you still haven’t adapted there are loads of people that can help from tutors to lecturers and of course the help zone. But personally, I would make sure that you make the most of the first few weeks to emerge yourself into the social life at uni, I didn’t and now I’m finding it hard. I’ve even considered leaving but I’m going to stick it out for now…

So, to make new friends I suggest:

  • Join a club or society, become a volunteer. You’ll meet a lot of new people and have a lot of fun.
  • Be a good listener, show interest in other people. Smile and relax.
  • Don’t hide away, by doing this it’ll only get worse as the weeks go by and you’ll feel even more alone.
  • Be prepared to try new things, see what happens and enjoy yourself.
  • Don’t be scared to be you, we all have our good things and our bad ones but being at uni gives you the opportunity to meet people with similar likes and interests as you.
  • Keep in touch, something that thanks to technology is pretty simple.
  • Be patient, it won’t happen straight away but you’ll get there eventually.

Receive an MA with our School of Art & Design

The University of Gloucestershire offers students from around the globe to study with our School of Art & Design, based in Cheltenham. There are a number of subjects to take from Landscape Architecture to Fine Art, the choice is yours! Depending on the course you have chosen you will be either at our beautiful, lakeside Park Campus or our historical, Harry Potter like Francis Close Hall Campus or our modern studio filled Hardwick Campus.

Romeo + Juliet

I have always had a curiosity about Romeo and Juliet, as I was never able to fully understand how so many things could go wrong at once. When I went to the opera of the play, I had decided to go with an open mind to see if I would be able to finally catch a missing piece of the story.

The opera was part of the Metropolitan Opera 2016/17 season in the Cineworld cinema in Cheltenham. I was fascinated by how passionate the couple, Diana Damrau and Vittorio Grigolo, chosen to play the protagonists seem to be. In the middle of that tragic story, I started to question myself that same frustrated question about how that all happened.

I then realised that maybe the question is so simple that not everyone thought of asking it. What if Shakespeare intended, not only to demonstrate how love can burn our souls but, to criticise the power of the church? With that said, allow me to create a theory:

Romeo and Juliet was written in the year of 1595-6 in Verona, Italy. At the time, the church was the most powerful institution, although the families Montague and Capulet are shown to be more influential.

As a Friar, it does not seem right to lie to the families to help a juvenile love, especially when Juliet is promised to marry another. It could easily start a war between the two families, or create a distress between the Capulets and the church.

However, he does that anyways. He tells Juliet that he and Romeo will be waiting for her to wake up so they can be together. He never did, although he could have told Romeo easily.

Romeo and Juliet were the only main heirs of the two richest families, and after Juliet’s cousin death, there was no other person to have access to the popular surname or their inheritance. As a matter of fact, the church could take the families’ possessions when they pass away.

If Romeo and Juliet had achieved permission to love each other, their son would become a powerful man, and eventually a possible threat to the religious institution.

At first, when I came with this theory, I did not want to believe it was a possibility as It is difficult to find a villain when all characters’ intentions seem so clear, and the only question is why life is unfair. However, Shakespeare has a subtle way to create questions and give us the illusion of understanding his stories. It may be one of the reasons why his writings are still fascinating.