Student experiences - Brunei

Farhah Fakhriah Hj Sudin - BSc Accounting and Finance

Farhah FakhriahUniversity of Bristol is not very well-known amongst Brunei students and I find this quite amusing because University of Bristol is in the top 10 UK universities ranking and my course programme ‘Accounting and Finance’ is in the top 5 for research and assessment quality. So I basically chose University of Bristol just knowing that it is one of the top universities in the UK and the syllabus offered by the university.

One thing that you will first realize about the University is that it is not the normal campus-based university. When I first set foot at the University’s zone, literally after taking a few more steps down the hills I am already at the city of Bristol. Well, that is how I described it. It is compact enough for you to get around by foot. Everything you need is in walking distance especially the Sainsbury’s where you can do your grocery shopping after you have finished with your lectures and bookshops where you can browse books in between of your lectures. It is true when people say that Bristol is a student-oriented city.

One thing that I look forward to when I go to lectures despite the laziness and temptation just to stay in your room is meeting up my friends and course mates. You never know what you can get and learned from them just by having small talk with them before the lecture begins. I love how my department is mixed between the locals, Asians, Europeans and a lot more. This gives me a broad prospect of the programme I am studying in because I can learn from them the difference in economy, standard of living and just way of life around the subject.

What I think that would help me so much in my career is the independence that I get from being away from my family. In Bristol, there are not many Bruneians as you would expect to find in any other universities in the UK. But that is what I like the most about Bristol and one of the reasons why I chose the University. I see this as an opportunity for me to be more social, meet new people and harvest my networking ability for the sake of my career prospects.

Regardless of how much time I spent in my room studying or just finding a way to entertain myself with the 24 hours access to Res-Net (university internet access), I do go out and attend few events held by the society that I am part of especially the Islamic Society, Malay Cultural Night and Malaysian Singaporean Student Association. I am particularly impressed by how the events organized by students in the University and how a success it can be especially the Islamic Awareness Week held by the Islamic Society. The Bristol International Student Centre (BISC) is a big help too in getting the international students in Bristol to go out, meet up and get the opportunity to travel around UK. I went to a Bridgwater Carnival trip organized by BISC and it was amazing. What an experience it was.

Before I came to Bristol, I heard from some of my friends who got the opportunity to go and see Bristol beforehand did not choose University of Bristol because of the hills. In my mind who myself have never set foot in the UK before this, how bad could a few hills be? So the first time I went up Park Street (to me is the steepest and longest hill in the centre of Bristol) was a nightmare! I even had to stop few times to catch my breath. At that time, you can imagine how unfit I was. But now I am used to the hills as Bristol is hilly place. It is tiring to go up and down the hills to and fro the University but you get to exercise and burn off the calories.

I do not regret choosing University of Bristol; it is perfect for me, the environment, the course syllabus, the social life and more. No matter what you still have to find the balance between all these and set your goals straight. And another tip is that it is better for you to apply for university accommodation for your first year but for subsequent years it is up to you. It will really give you a lot of life experience and of course real student-life experience of doing everything like cooking and doing your laundry by yourself. You also get to meet new people from different countries. If you do need any help with choosing university accommodation or anything do not hesitate to contact me and I will try to help as much as I could.

Halid Hussin - BSc Biochemistry

Halid HussinHalid came to Bristol in October 2008 to study Biochemistry.  Out of his six University choices he was made offers in five Universities.  He chose Bristol mainly due to the cheaper cost of living compared to London and also the ranking of the course.  He describes London as being ‘too polluted’ and likes that fact that he can walk everywhere in Bristol without having to rely on public transport (‘well only when I have lots of shopping to carry’)

Halid likes Bristol finding it ‘friendly’ with ‘nice surroundings’ and ‘everything is in reach’ he is presently staying in Goldney Hall which he considers to be ‘The best halls, with amazing gardens.’

Halid has found it quite easy to settle into Bristol and met people through the orientation week, Facebook, accommodation and his course.  He regularly travels to London during holidays.

As Halid expected the course to be hard work adjusting to University life hasn’t been too difficult the ‘workload is bearable’ and although the course is hard work he is enjoying it.  During his spare time Halid has joined the Badminton and Japanese society, which he really enjoys.  After he graduates he is looking to continue onto research in his field of study, Bristol being a potential University for him to continue his studies.

Compiled by Melissa Werrett, Senior International Officer at Bristol, 2008.

Rusianna Buntar - BSc Physics

Rusianna BuntarI first came to England in 2005 to continue my A-Levels in an English boarding school in Salisbury. During my two years there, I learnt a lot of new things in life and had grown to become more independent as I had to live far away from my homeland. There are undeniably huge cultural differences between England and Brunei, and although they were a bit daunting and hard to get used to at first, I had been able to adapt to the new environment quickly and I never had any regrets about my decision to come and study in this lovely country.

Bristol has always been my first choice of university ever since I went here for an open day. I fell in love instantly with its modern, vibrant city and the uniqueness of the university. I was also wowed by the gorgeous architectures in the city, such as the Wills’ Memorial Building and the Clifton Suspension Bridge. I was also leaning towards Bristol because of its excellent academic reputation and fantastic student life. So I was really excited when I got an offer to study BSc Physics here and decided to take it. Science has always been my passion and I have always wanted to major in Physics at university. Now that I have been following the course for almost a year now, I have really enjoyed the course and I’m glad that I chose it. The staffs in my department have also been nothing but friendly and helpful towards the students.

For my first year, I lived in a students’ hall in Stoke Bishop which is pretty far away from the university precinct. It took me some time to get used to the distance at first but eventually, I learnt to enjoy the long yet refreshing walks across the downs and along the Whiteladies’ road every morning to get to lectures. Stoke Bishop is also a great place to socialize with others as there are lots of students living here. During my time here, I made some good friends and had really enjoyed the overall student life experience.

I am looking forward to spending the rest of my time here and I would definitely recommend the university to everyone because not only Bristol’s an amazing city, the university has a lot of great things to offer to its students, both in terms of academic qualities and a good social life.

Najmuddin Bin Haji Tarif - MEng Mechanical Engineering

I found out about the University of Bristol through my teachers in my previous college in Brunei and also from some websites that gave the ranking of different uni's in the UK.

 The University is quite small.  Computer labs are available in every building of the Engineering faculty. Walking to classes will always involve going up or down the hill and stairs.  The university is quite close to all the places, which are relevant to students such as, the city centre, most student halls and houses.

The city is hilly and rainy.  I like visiting St Nicholas market especially during a Wednesday afternoon.  Almost everything is reachable by walking which includes Temple Meads train station and the bus station in Marlborough street.

My favorite parts of the city are the waterfront and college green because these are our common meeting points with fellow Bruneians when going out.  These two places remind me of the excited feeling when I first came to Bristol to study

During my studies here at the University I enjoy the friendly atmosphere during lectures and tutorials.

I feel that my education at Bristol will definitely help me in developing my skills and knowledge as the uni is well involved in ongoing researches, and also the seminars given from established companies.  We also get the chance to apply for summer placements.

I was inspired when I saw for myself the work of the famous Engineer, I.K.Brunel, which is based in Bristol, which includes his original written documents and the stunning Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Ceci Tan Li Sei - BA Archaeology

Ceci Li SeiI come from Brunei, a very small country which is located on the north coast of Borneo Island in Southeast Asia. Being able to further my studies for university level in the UK has always been my ambition. When I was offered both a scholarship by the Ministry of Education of Brunei to further my studies abroad and a place in the University of Bristol, it was more than just a dream come true for me. It was rather surprising that the University of Bristol was not one of the most popular choices amongst Bruneian students considering the fact that it is one of the Top 10 universities in the UK. This fact has then become one of the reasons why I had applied for Bristol – it provided me the opportunities to enlarge my social circle, allowing me to meet different people on a large scale, particularly international students.

When I first arrived in Bristol, I immediately fell in love with the city and the university itself. Bristol is a beautiful city on its own – so much greenery, with parks and green open spaces at almost every corner, such as College Green, the Royal Fort Garden and Brandon Hill. Bristol is known to be hilly, which makes it means a lot of walking up steep, stretchy slopes in order to get to the University. However, I soon got used to it and learnt to love them for helping to burn off all the daily extra calories and building up my stamina. The hills may be one of the geographical features that makes Bristol city more different and unique than it already is. The university is ideal as it is not the common campus-oriented kind. Just a few steps downhill from the main university area is the city centre, where you can find bakeries, supermarkets, restaurants, banks and bookstores. It is all very convenient as everything is within walking distance.

I am currently staying in one of the catered university halls, Clifton Hill House. I am particularly pleased with my accommodation for its location in the posh area of Clifton but also for the the facilities, including the nice varieties of food served every day. Staying in Clifton Hill House has been a great experience for me as it helped me meet more Bristol students and make lots of good life-long friends.

What I enjoy the most about the Archaeology course, are the practical sessions and field trips. The practical sessions allow me to handle priceless, fragile artifacts and explore and analyse how they came to be part of the lives of societies from ancient times. The field trips give me the chance to be on site where archaeology is present and on top of that, they give me the chance to see the countryside outside of Bristol. After my degree, I hope to become one of the members of the archaeologist team in Brunei. I also wish for a chance to be able to get involved in an excavation, particularly in Egypt as I have always been interested in the archaeology there and I hope someday to be able to specialise in this area.

The university offers various choices of social activities. During the Freshers’ Fair, I signed up for Fencing Club and the Ice-Skating Society. I enjoy fencing very much as it helped me both to relieve stress and to keep fit. I am also a member of the University of Bristol Chinese Lion Dance Troupe. Since becoming a member of the troupe, I have learnt more about the Chinese culture.

I have signed up for the International Ambassador Scheme mainly because I wanted to have more interaction with international students. I believe that as an international student, it is one of life’s greatest challenges to come and further your studies in a country where the social and cultural system is a complete stranger and there is the language barrier to cope with when communicating. I think that it would be very helpful and informative for the international students if they were able to get some advice and social survival tips from a fellow international student. I would be very happy to share my personal experiences of Bristol. Don’t hesitate to come have a chat with me and if you do need help, I will be delighted to offer a helping hand!

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