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Loughborough or London?

8 July 2020

7 mins

My name is Darya, I am originally from Tehran, Iran and 22 years of age. Last year I graduated from Loughborough University with a degree in Industrial Design and Technology and I am currently doing my master’s in Design Innovation at Loughborough University London. Here in London, I get so many questions from my peers about how studying in Loughborough compares to studying in London and I have so many friends from London that are considering going to Loughborough but are worried about moving to such a small town. So, I thought I’ll write a short blog to share my experience of studying in Loughborough and London.

Initially, I found choosing which university to go to extremely difficult. I really wanted to go to Loughborough because they were the best in the UK for the course I wanted to study i.e. Industrial design. However, my friends and family were trying to talk me out of it because they thought I wouldn’t be able to have a good social and nightlife in a small town like Loughborough. However, having studied my A-Levels in Harrogate, a small town in North Yorkshire, I knew that the size of the town you live in doesn’t matter as long as you have good friends to enjoy your time with and of course, studying the course you are passionate about. So eventually, I decided to take a risk and accept my offer to study at Loughborough University despite being a little worried about my social and nightlife.

My time at Loughborough

Darya at Loughborough University main entrance

I fell in love with the campus from the moment I stepped foot on it. It was huge, absolutely beautiful and as it was freshers’ week, there were so many exciting events happening there; from that moment onwards, all my doubts about not having a good night and social life magically disappeared.

The majority of my lectures and tutorials were in the Design School which is a very beautifully designed building with amazing staff and an incredibly friendly atmosphere. Everything I possibly needed to be creative, design and produce products were in one building which was extremely convenient. I spent so many days and nights in that building, ordered many Dominos when I was pulling all-nighters and even took showers there! Looking back at it now, I probably would not have been able to do all that in a big city university. I used to live in Robert Bakewell hall, so the Design school was just a quick shuttle bus away from my accommodation which meant that I could easily go to the Design school whenever I wanted to.

One of my favourite things about living in Loughborough was surprisingly the fact it was quite small. I could wake up just 30 minutes before my 9am’s and still make it on time and that I barely had to spend any money on transport. Reflecting back on my time at Loughborough now, I realise that not having to spend so much time travelling, not only helped me save a lot of money, but also time and energy. Everything I possibly needed was on campus, from a library to a nice Chinese restaurant and decent clubs. I’m sure final year students can relate to this a lot because the last thing you want to do in your final year is waste your precious time travelling for your daily essentials. Plus, I always found the walks to lectures and town really enjoyable because the campus was so beautiful and picturesque, especially during spring and autumn.

The last point I want to make about studying in Loughborough is that because almost everyone I interacted with on a daily basis was either a student or worked at the university, (apart from self-checkout guy at Tesco), it helped me stay focused on what I was in Loughborough for, studying, socialising and sometimes partying. I felt like I was living in this really nice bubble with other hardworking and smart students and staff who inspired me to stay on top of my game and work towards my goals.

Finally, after three years of blood, sweat and tears, I graduated from Loughborough with a degree in Industrial design and technology. But that wasn’t to be the end of my Loughborough journey.

Darya on her graduation day

Studying my master’s at Loughborough University London

There were many more things I wanted to learn such as the role of cultures and identities in design and design thinking techniques, therefore, I decided to pursue a master’s degree in Design Innovation at Loughborough University London.

Loughborough University London, Here East

I found moving to London quite intimidating as I knew studying in London was going to be significantly different from studying in Loughborough. At the start of the year when I was quite nervous, I surprisingly found a lot of comfort in seeing the classic purple Loughborough signs and Learn’s web page amongst all the rather scary and significant changes.

The main difference between studying in London compared to Loughborough for me was the students. In my undergraduate course, I was one of the few international students; whereas in London, almost all my course mates were international. I found working with students from different backgrounds incredibly difficult at first, especially the time when I was in a group with four people all from different countries who spoke different languages. However, over time, I realised how much working in diverse teams helped me grow academically and as a person. Each student brought a completely new and fresh perspective into the group which I found invaluable and now, I absolutely love working in diverse teams because although they can be challenging at times, they are extremely rewarding at the end.

Another difference between studying in London and Loughborough was the commute time…obviously! I spent more time than I would’ve liked on the tube going from one place to another which was really tiring and an absolute pain in the neck when I had a lot of fast-approaching deadlines; and although I’m loving living in London, with all the hustle and bustle of a global hub, I do sometimes miss the quiet and peace in Loughborough.

I can’t write about studying in London without mentioning the immense opportunities here. The highlight of my time in London has been attending fashion shows and design events and making new connections and friends. I found these experiences extremely valuable as they helped me grow a lot as a person and get first-hand insights into the industry I want to work in. Furthermore, I managed to find an internship in a sustainable fashion company back in October which I am still doing alongside my studies. This is something that would have been almost impossible in Loughborough as although the university tried their best to bring different businesses and opportunities to the campus, they were quite limited and the number and variety of them cannot even be compared to London. However, considering everything is now online, the lack of physical opportunities in Loughborough might no longer be an issue for future students.

Lastly, I must add that I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Loughborough and London; there are many pros and cons to each place, and I consider myself extremely lucky to have experienced both. I guess I’ll have to see where life takes me next once I finish my master’s in September, after living for 16 years in Tehran, two years in Harrogate, three years in Loughborough and one year in London.

So, to answer all my friends’ questions about studying in London and Loughborough, I have to say it really depends on what you want to get out of your university experience and how YOU choose to experience it.

The Limit

The Limit showcases the creativity that exists within the student population, creating a sense of community.

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