Study Landscape Architecture abroad

It by far exceeded my expectations!

Study Landscape Architecture in the UK

Have you ever wondered how studying abroad could change your life? In my case, I never imagined the turns that life would take with this decision, but it is a fact that I have reflected on over the years.

Before leaving...

The first important step I took was to attend an Europosgrados fair and there I met my advisor from Across the Pond. This was the turning point: when this dream began to materialize.

In total, the preparation process to study abroad took me a year, during which I:

  • Received my degree -the process takes a bit of time in Mexico-;
  • Worked full time, which helped me a lot to gain professional experience while allowing me to save a little for my studies;
  • Applied to my desired master's degree options;
  • Applied to a scholarship which I obtained (so happy!) for the master's degree;
  • And as the last step: I carried out the visa process.

In my experience, having an advisor was very helpful because she encouraged me and was an excellent guide, she definitely helped make the process much easier.

Choosing can be difficult!

As an architect, I always knew that I wanted to study something that would allow me to develop projects in a broader context, so initially I was looking for courses related to Urbanism or Landscaping, as usual, life tends to surprise us and adjusts on its own; in the year I was preparing to leave, I had the opportunity to participate in a very important Landscaping project and it helped me be completely sure this is what I wanted to study.

Why did I choose MA in Landscape Architecture at Sheffield University?

There are many reasons why I chose this course, but among the main ones I can mention:

  • What most caught my attention was the teaching method. I can highlight the site visits to feel and explore the spaces on site (an essential thing as an architect).
  • The lecturers. I love that many of them, in addition to being published authors, have a lot of experience in the field and also work professionally in their area of expertise.
  • The fact that it was a two-year course (not the most common in the UK).
  • The accreditations of the course.

And I can definitely say that it by far exceeded my expectations!

What sets Sheffield University apart?

Now, it is true that there are several universities that offer studies in Landscape, but the University of Sheffield was the one for me because:

  • It is one of the oldest landscape schools in the UK, topping the rankings of the best schools in the world (within the top 100) and the best landscape schools.
  • As I mentioned earlier, I found the faculty to be impressive.
  • The quality of its educational offer.
  • The facilities are very modern and for several years it has been voted by its students as the best "Student's Union".
  • There are many renowned alumni, including several Nobel laureates.
  • The economic cost of housing (compared to other cities and universities).
  • It is the greenest city in the UK (this is very much related to my topic of interest).
  • The Peak District.

I loved taking classes in English!

I have to admit that when I started my classes my notes were in Spanglish and with many diagrams, but little by little they evolved to be more in English. When I had to write essays or research, the same thing happened to me: after doing a lot of research, sometimes the ideas came in Spanish, other times in English, and my first draft used to contain two languages.

Eventually, in some moments of daily life, I missed speaking Spanish. Just like now, I miss speaking English.

A normal day as a student

In the day to day at school, I had a fairly defined routine. Get up early, get ready to go to class and walk to school. My house was a 10–15-minute walk to school and it gave me the chance to enjoy at least 3 parks before arriving, this gave me the opportunity of finding surprises along the way, from a blossoming cherry tree to a friend to chat with on the way. Taking public transport is an excellent idea on a snowy or rainy day, since it is super punctual and clean.

I would take classes from 9 am to 5 pm approximately and when we finished, many times my friends and I would meet at the pub. Afterwards, I would return home to do chores, homework or rest.

Also, I had many sleepless nights in the Arts Tower (after approving the necessary trainings) in which we worked on our projects after school. This helped us to socialize a little more, share knowledge and help each other. Also, we used to take a break and go to the Student's Union to relax for an hour or so and have dinner, before continuing with work.

Is education really that different?

Among the things that I loved about the English education system, is that we all had a tutor assigned from the beginning of the course. All tutors get to know their advisees. This tutor is very helpful in case of setbacks, if you have problems at home or something goes in an unexpected way. If you need support, you can always discuss with your tutor the possibilities to follow.

For me, the classes were always very exciting, and I felt that I was learning actively, with a repertoire of real cases and on sites. We would go outside of the classroom to draw, study and experiment. We made scale models with creative techniques and learned different methods of representation. We studied the sites thoroughly and with different perspectives. My master's degree left me with great analytical and representation skills.

In addition, guest speakers were often invited to classes and conferences were held with experts in the field. Even during lunch breaks, small workshops were organized by students about tools that we used every day, these were optional, but extremely useful.

The atmosphere, the facilities, the equipment, everything is top quality. I never thought that I would like to go to work so much or study in a library or simply get together in the workshop with my colleagues to spend an all-nighter.

But not everything is about studying, even in a very demanding course, there is free time and free days to enjoy.

Free time: parks, picnics, trips and more...

England is a place where there is a lot of nightlife, you can find a variety of concerts, visiting djs and music festivals. In Sheffield you can annually enjoy the 'Tramlines' and 'Peace in the Parks', to mention a few.

I loved walking around the city and enjoy its places and architecture. Also, getting together with my friends for picnics or barbecues (especially during summer). As well, we often went to the pub or organized excursions to York, London, Bath, and many other places. We would rent a car, took a bus or train. You can also go to weekend getaways to nearby places or plan a vacation to another part of Europe: my favorite method was to look for cheap plane tickets, oh the surprises I got!

Sheffield is charming and exciting

Sheffield is a student city, so you will find many people who are in a similar situation to you. Whether you're pursuing your bachelor's, master's, or Ph.D., it's easy to meet acquaintances and friends, starting in your classroom or research department.

Among the unique attractions, they have the Paternoster (a kind of elevator that circulates slowly and does not stop) of the Arts Tower which is 1 of the 2 that exist in the world, believe it or not, it is a great attraction and really meets its functions in daily use.

It is a super green city, with many parks in addition to the Peak District. The City Center is very dynamic and beautiful, especially in the winter season when you can enjoy the Christmas Market. They also have a tram, which is used to get to a super large mall with cinemas, bowling, etc.

Another excellent point is that Sheffield has a beautiful train station, it's a great welcome on arrival. It's also near to airports with international destinations: it is only 1 hour by train from Manchester and around 3 hours to London.

Sharing a flat with more students from different grades, what an adventure

In my stay of almost 2.5 years, I always stayed in private accommodation, which I shared with other students. My first flat was shared with 8 people (Wow!) and conveniently located near the university, very close to the best Indian food and an excellent Fish and Chips. I shared the flat with Mexicans, Spanish, South-Koreans and British students, both undergraduates and postgraduates. I won't deny that sharing a home with so many people was a bit challenging, but it was definitely fascinating.

More than expected

When I left my home country, I knew that I was going to get certain things like an excellent education and a little bit of traveling, but definitely among the things that I never imagined I would get from this experience are the great friendships that developed in those years. Today I have created unbreakable bonds with some people who crossed my path.

To keep up to date, I am part of the school's alumni group and there is even a chat for former Mexican students managed by Sheffield University.

Regarding what I did expect, the knowledge I received was wonderful. The tools that my master's degree gave me still help me a lot in my professional life and were perfectly translated to my environment, thanks to the teachings of my professors. Likewise, the experience that living abroad gave me helped me expand the way in which I see and appreciate the world and those who are part of it.

Are you ready?

Did any of what I mentioned sound familiar to you? Did something catch your attention? Do you want to study in UK? If you answered yes to any of these questions, don't hesitate any longer and take the first step in this life-changing experience.

- Veronica

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