London, United Kingdom: The University of Westminster: living in Harrow Halls, design courses & must-sees in London (by Leonie)

Living in Harrow Halls

I am falling in love with my new home every day over and over.

The Halls are located in a quiet park area on campus only a few minutes away from the university building and can be accessed by the Metropolitan line Tube station “Northwick Park”. There are multiple Halls in each building, all structured by numbers. Each Hall hosts a well-equipped, spacious kitchen with lots of storage and six bedrooms (A, B, C, D, E & F) with bathrooms inside.

Don’t judge a book by its cover! The rooms may not look nice or homey, but they offer you many advantages when it comes to your student life: the university is only a short walk away, you’ll meet new friends in your Hall, you can use the perks of a big kitchen, it is pretty quiet (as the Halls are inside the park), the reception is manned 24 hours (if you need help, first aid, etc.), you can do your laundry whenever you like, and many more! Also, it is probably the cheapest option.

My flatmates and I managed to make our Hall lovely and like a second home by decorating, having weekly dinner together, organizing games and movie nights and enjoying this shared flat lifestyle, but also respecting each other’s privacy.

 

Courses & what the university has to offer

You come across so many lovely people here and get to discover myriads of unique ideas. This place makes you explore your true self and brings so much joy and confidence to life.

 

The University of Westminster has an incredibly good reputation, and this doesn’t come from nothing. I can promise you: the semester abroad at Westminster will be challenging, highly practical orientated, enormously creative and innovative, as well as incredibly valuable. You will face lots of creative briefs that require continuous engagement as well as coordination and time management. But once you open up for these challenges and embrace them, you will notice a development in your design skills and a beneficial change in your creative mindset.

You will find that most of the projects are very open in terms of their completion, meaning that you can chose yourself which medium to use and what to implement. You can use the 3D workshop, digital methods, printing or whatever you wish.

The tutors are all very open minded and experiences, as they help you with any upcoming obstacles, questions or issues. You will learn a lot in their lessons, in group feedback tutorials, as well as personal tutorials where they can help you hands-on during your session. Also, do not miss the workshops that teach you some skills a bit outside the common design world, such as basic programming, filming 360° videos and editing them into VR experiences, programme lessons (Adobe XD, Arduino, etc.), writing support, EMS, and especially the 3D workshop.

The 3D Workshop is a whole area at the ground floor of the university where you can work with wood, metal, ceramic and many more materials. You can also use a laser cutter and 3D printers for free or a small charge. To be allowed to work in those areas, you just have to attend an introduction session where you will be shown around and get taught how some of the machines work. I highly advise you to use this amazing space! If not for a project, then at least try it out in your free time and make some artwork. It’s a great opportunity to let your creativity flow and craft unique and physical designs.

Here you can find an overview of the courses and assessments from my time at Westminster. As you can see, it is quite a lot to do for the short amount of time that you will be in London. Thus, I advise you to start right away after the first project brief with research and first ideas. Furthermore, don’t forget to continuously update your workbook. It is a visual representation of your process and it will be relevant for the assessments.

It might look a bit overwhelming at first, but I can guarantee you it will be worth it. You will gain so much experience and confidence out of each project and it will bring you one step further to the next one. The tutors and online resources really equip you with a lot of support, knowledge and training, so that you can feel and see your personal growth after each project.

 

Must-sees & eats in London

Beauty is everywhere in this city.

You just need to be willing to open up your eyes for it, come a little closer and embrace it.

Of course, you should explore the London classics like Big Ben, London Eye and Buckingham Palace, but you should also dig a little deeper and find some hidden beauties in this city. During your time here, you should have an eye on special exhibitions, as well as seasonal events. Moreover, London has so many amazing restaurants and food places, as it is influenced by so many cultures. Hence, you will find a little food guide below with some recommendations.

 

 

Seasonal Events

Must-sees

  • Kew Gardens (bring your camera!)
  • Natural History Museum (especially whale skeleton)
  • Victoria & Albert Museum
  • London Zoo
  • Carnaby Neon Lights in Soho
  • Sky Gardens (if you are not afraid of heights)
  • Musicals (highly recommend Aladin!)
  • Thorpe Park (only if you like crazy roller coasters!)
  • Notting Hill (& Portobello Road Market)
  • Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre (& MacBeth)
  • Short trip (over the weekend) to Brighton with a coach / train

Must-eats

  • Brunch in “Coppa Club’s igloos” at Tower Bridge (magical)
  • Cheeseburger & rosemary chips at “Honest Burger”
  • Winter Melon Lemon Bubble Tea at “Yi Fang”
  • House Chai & Curry at “Dishoom” (my favourite)
  • Pie & Mash at “Mother Mash”
  • Curry at “Thai Square”
  • Bubble Tea at “Bubbleology”
  • Hot shots, coffee and snacks at “Pret a Manger” (perfect for on the go)
  • Afternoon Tea at “sketch” (expensive, but a very special experience)