I was born and raised in the United States, in a town that I never had the chance to leave. The idea of traveling was always something that I yearned for, but couldn’t quite figure out how to do. In high school, I learned about doing my studies abroad, being able to do my studies in London gave me the chance to finally fulfill a dream while also getting a degree. When I visited London in 2015, I toured three London universities and Roehampton just felt right. As someone who never lived in another country, let alone a big city before, a campus felt like the right choice, I could be in London and still have a community right outside my door. Having a campus took away from the stress of having to find my classes, a social life, and other necessary resources, while 3000 miles away from home. The other reason I chose Roehampton was the beautiful, natural landscapes surrounding parts of the university which gave it the perfect balance between urban and natural landscapes.
For me, the best part of university has been the independence I gained and what came with that. Living on my own, buying my own food, and just making my own decisions was an essential part of my character growth in the past two years. I am a much more confident person in so many ways and much happier and more content with what I am doing in life.
As a photography student, the two main topics that were the most exciting for me were learning how to use film and analog cameras and having access to a ton of art theory. In both of these categories, the main reason for my interest is the fact they gave me inspiration and helped me to develop as an artist. Film photography forced me to take a hands-on approach to my work that digital photography does not always let you do, and having access to art theory of all kinds fuelled my love for learning about Art.
The Art Theory aspect of my course has been by far the greatest part of my degree. When applying to universities I knew I did not want to just learn how to use the equipment, I also wanted to learn about all the people and things that have influenced photography as an art. Having a heavy theory-based course was very important to me and the lecturers at Roehampton have fulfilled that. Every lecturer has a very in-depth understanding of art theory, and their personal influencers all vary so there is a wide range of artists, philosophers, etc. they will recommend, and the library does contain all the books needed and more.
Since photography is a visual medium, there is a ton of practical work that goes on into our first and second years. We take trips to museums, like the Tate and The Photographers’ Gallery. We also work outside constantly and are encouraged during practical classes like Advanced Skills to shoot on campus with different types of cameras. Lastly, as a third-year, I am lucky enough to be able to take part in a gallery exhibition in Brixton put together with the help of the university and other 3rd years called “Free Range”.
Currently, I am applying to master's programs and looking to continue my studies in the Fine Arts. I am also working on becoming a working artist by getting my name out as a photographer and working on a photo book that I hope to submit to different photography exhibitions and competitions. My main goal has always been to figure out how to be a working artist in some way, shape, or form, and while my journey is far from over Roehampton has been an amazing part of it.
As one could imagine moving away to university is difficult, but there is even more difficulty that comes with going a whole ocean away. Roehampton was there to help me from the beginning processes, getting my visa, enrolling, understanding UCAS, etc. Another thing I have been supported well with is the medical center and mental health counseling on campus, which is open the same way to international students as it is to UK citizens. University is stressful for anyone and I have found that Roehampton offers a wide range of support when the stress becomes too much. It is a university that is there for every student and creates unique support for everyone.
Roehampton has been an amazing time overall, the community is something that I really enjoy, even though it’s a big university, you don’t feel like a small fish in a big pond. The community is tight-knit and there are so many things to get involved in, societies to join, sports to try, there’s constantly something happening. Coming from so far away to a totally new country I was afraid I would not make friends, I was worried I would be very lonely, but at Roehampton, it almost seems impossible to not find friends.
As someone who had never lived in a big city, let alone another country, a campus was the right choice as I could be in London and still have a community outside my door. Roehampton helped me throughout the process, from understanding UCAS and enrolling, to getting my visa. Coming from so far away I was afraid I would not make friends and would be very lonely, but at Roehampton, it almost seems impossible to not find friends.