I was delighted that she chose to come to London when there is such a strong tendency for students studying at her school to go to Universities in the USA.
Nicole has just completed her first year of BA Journalism at LCC, UAL and I was curious to catch up with her while I was in London this Summer and find out how things are going:
– You have travelled all the way from Porto Alegre in Brasil to study Journalism in London, what are your main reasons for doing that?
I believe that for journalism London is the perfect place to be. It is one of the world’s most important cities and several of the major news publications and broadcasters are based in London.
– When did you first decide to study Journalism, what is it about the subject that attracted you?
I decided on journalism quite late, I made my decision just before I started sending applications to universities. Growing up I always enjoyed writing and I was good at it. I knew I wanted to do something I liked but I wasn’t sure if journalism was the right way to go. I thought about other interests that I had, such as travel, fashion, and sports, and realised that I could work with those areas within journalism.
– You’ve been at LCC a year studying BA Journalism, how would you describe the college to someone who has never been here? What goes on here, what’s the college all about?
There is always something happening at LCC, whether it’s an exhibition, a guest lecture, or simply a bake sale; there are no boring days here. At first I felt a little intimidated because I knew nothing about art and I was going to start studying at an art school, but now that I have been surrounded by it I’ve learned to appreciate it and even be a little more artistic myself.
– How are you finding your course? Can you tell us a little about what you have studied in this first year? What have been your favourite parts?
The course is great. It is really interesting. I was able to learn simple things like adapting your writing to the writing style of a certain publication, to more complex things like what kinds of stories can get a journalist in trouble with the law. My favourite part has been learning the more editorial side of journalism, like knowing the difference between an article and a feature and how each one of them is structured, but the course overall has been amazing.
– Can you tell us about the writing assignments, is there a lot of work?
Yes, not only writing assignments, there is a lot of reading to do as well. We have a seminar every week and for each separate seminar there is background reading and it can range from two 500-page books to one ten-page handout. The tutors don’t expect us to read entire books in one week but skimming through a few chapters is very important in order to engage in the conversation. There are writing assignments every week because as journalists it is what we will be asked to do when we get jobs, those tend to be simple 200-800 word articles or interviews. Essays on the other hand are longer; they range from 1500 to 2500 words. At first I thought I wasn’t going to be able to write them, but I found that if I organised my time (which is the most important part of studying at university) and did all the research that I would be fine. There were days when I had to submit two essays on the same day so time management is very important when it comes to deadlines.
– What kind of areas of Journalism are you interested in? Do you know which area you may want to focus on in the future?
I would love to focus on either travel or fashion, maybe even combine the two, but I still have two more years until I graduate so it’s something that I still need to think about.
– And London, are you enjoying being in the city? What do you like about your life here?
I absolutely love London. I had never been here before it’s so easy to get around and everything I need is just around the corner. I like that there are many parks here. I come from a country that is known for having a warm climate and sunny days so it’s nice to enjoy the sun in the park. The nightlife is also really good. There are clubs and bars everywhere. If I want to go out with my friends on a Tuesday night I know that we’ll be able to find a place with good music and a good vibe. There are also plenty of museums and galleries to visit, as well as cinemas and theatres. I think London is one of the best cities for entertainment.
– Where are you living, can you tell us about your accommodation and your journey to LCC each day?
I am currently living at one of the UAL halls, Camberwell Campus. I would recommend living in halls for the first year because everyone is going through the same thing. Everyone is living away from home and trying to get used to the idea of having to do everything alone. It’s a great conversation starter. The good thing about Camberwell Campus is that there is a bus stop right outside the gates. It’s not close to a tube station but the buses that pass here go all around London. I take the bus to LCC everyday and in 10-15 minutes I’m there. I get off the bus right in front of the college. I prefer taking the bus rather than the tube because I get to see the city and find new places to visit.
– I believe you have become really involved in the Social life of the college, can you tell us what you have been doing in your free time during your first year?
At the beginning of the year I nominated myself to become a course representative for the first year of the BA Journalism course. It was a really great experience as I got to deliver the ideas and concerns of the students to the teachers. I also joined the cheerleading team, the UAL Royals. Joining a sport was a smart decision; I made some great friends within the team and got to meet people from other courses at UAL. There are several sports to join such as football, hockey, rugby, netball, and many others. Every Wednesday the sports go out together for a themed night out. It’s a lot of fun and great to meet people from other sports. I recently joined a society called the Languages Society where students get to teach other students how to speak other languages. I have always loved learning new languages and loved the idea. UAL has a myriad of societies and anyone can find one that interests them and join.
– You have just finished your first year, what are your plans for the Summer, are you going to work, travel etc?
I am going to stay here in London for the summer. I will be working part time and hopefully I will get an internship at a newspaper or magazine. I really want to travel as well, maybe see some other cities in the UK, or go to countries like Spain or France and experience other cultures.
– What would you like to achieve next year on your course?
Next year I want to focus on time management. I will be busy with cheerleading and the Languages Society, as I am now a part of committee for both, so I will need to balance my academic life with my social life. I want to try to keep my grades above a B+ so I will have to make sure that my studies are my main priority.