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Overseas university spotlight: Northumbria University (UK)

Set in the 'capital of the northeast' in Newcastle, England--where one-sixth of the population during term time are students--Northumbria University is a modern, comprehensive university in a great location.


Here are some of the highlights from my visit in May 2022!


Explore England group (I'm on the right in red!)
Explore England group (I'm on the right in red!)

Newcastle


One of the first things you'll notice about Newcastle is that it's super easy to get around; you can pretty much walk anywhere--the main train station, the river, student housing, etc.--within 20 minutes.


Speaking of the river, the quayside was my favorite part of the city--maybe because it reminded me of the riverfront in Cincinnati where I grew up.


Like Cincinnati, Newcastle is also a city of bridges, and travel enthusiasts may note that the Tyne Bridge in particular (below) looks strikingly similar to one Sydney Harbour Bridge (they were actually designed by the same London firm!).


It's also here that you'll find an outdoor market on Sundays, an art museum, loads of options for food and drink and a huge redevelopment that will bring a new look to the area in the shape of a £260 million waterfront conference and events venue in 2023.


On sunny days, this area around the Tyne Bridge is packed with people!
On sunny days, this area around the Tyne Bridge is packed with people!
View from the top of the Baltic Cenre for Contemporary Art
View from the top of the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art
Kittiwakes
Kittiwakes! Clearly not afraid of heights.

And though they're not super original with their naming of places, there's even a beautiful beach town called Tynemouth that's easily accessible for students, just 15 minutes from the city by metro (it's literally located at the mouth of river Tyne; get it? Ha!).


Tynemouth, UK
Castle ruins in Tynemouth
I just love the contrast of these castle ruins and the ice cream truck!
I just love the contrast of these castle ruins with an ice cream truck!
Tynemouth
Tynemouth

One place that's just a bit farther out is the famous Angel of the North statue right off the A1 highway, which, like most new things, was controversial when it first went up in 1998.


Locals later grew to appreciate it, even somehow adding a massive Alan Shearer jersey at one point!


Alan Shearer jersey on the Angel of the North

I liked what the sculptor of the statue, Antony Gormley, said of it though:


"The angel has three functions - firstly a historic one to remind us that below this site, coal miners worked in the dark for two hundred years; secondly to grasp hold of the future, expressing our transition from the industrial to the information age; and lastly to be a focus for our hopes and fears - a sculpture is an evolving thing."

Insightful and inspiring!


Explore England group with our lovely guide, Rob (actually a Northumbria grad himself who started his own tourism biz, Lundgren Tours!)
With our lovely guide, Rob (actually a Northumbria grad himself who started his own tourism biz, Lundgren Tours!). He's amazing; check them out if you need a tour in the area!
Fun fact: its 175-foot wingspan is bigger than a Boeing 757 or 767 jet and almost the same as a Jumbo jet
Fun fact: the angel's 175-foot wingspan is bigger than a Boeing 757 or 767 jet and almost the same as a Jumbo jet.
It's believed to be the largest angel sculpture in the world
It's believed to be the largest angel sculpture in the world.

Newcastle is also quite a historical city and actually got its name from the medieval castle that still remains today.


Newcastle Castle (a fun thing to say)
Newcastle Castle (a fun thing to say)
Newcastle Castle
A church in Newcastle
Hello moon - Newcastle crescent
Hello moon!
A crescent street in Newcastle
Newcastle city centre

Campus


With 26,000 students and a 16:1 student to staff ratio, Northumbria Uni is located right in the city with a campus that's super easy to navigate.


Business School at Northumbria

Granted university status in 1992, Northumbria has a history that actually dates back to the late 1800s when it started as a school of design.


Nowadays, its practice-led programs in art and design are some of the uni's most popular courses, not to mention the outstanding facilities this faculty has to offer.


What I found particularly of interest is that the student projects are also socially relevant; for example, we got to see a poster series on Ukraine sentiments.


One of the artsy classrooms
Fashion Communication displays
Fashion Communication displays
Art facilities
Fashion Communication facilities
Product Design showcase
Product Design showcase
Student sewing machines
Fashion student at work
Sample boardroom at Northumbria
Fashion facilities
More art facilities

Sports science is another popular area of study; the academics were super engaging and showed us some examples of the equipment used by students to put theory into practice and also how they help local athletes with things like rehab, recovery, training and nutrition.


And for any student-athletes out there, it's worth noting that both undergrad and grad school applicants from the U.S. are eligible for sports scholarships (even if their NCAA eligibility has expired); Northumbria actually recruits quite a few Americans to play basketball or volleyball as master's students.


Students having exams in the sports centre
Students having exams in the sports centre

For those who are serious about a possible career/future in soccer, you'll definitely want to check out the i2i International Soccer Academy at Northumbria, one of the top soccer development programs.


Students in this program study a degree at Northumbria and are simultaneously coached by UEFA qualified coaches and often former pros.


They train five days a week for nine months, during which time they're competing in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) league (the NCAA equivalent in the UK) as well as against professional and semi-professional teams--such a unique experience!


Love this landscaping!
Now that is cool landscaping!
Student Central and cafe
This just makes me happy
This just makes me happy
Student Central and library
Sport Central at Northumbria
Campus - Northumbria
Two important things: inclusivity and sustainability!
Two important things: inclusivity and sustainability!

Not all UK universities offer catered accommodation (housing with meal plans), but Northumbria does offer one residence hall with this option, a feature that's often very important to many Americans!


One of the residence halls
One of the residence halls

Northumbria University: Summary


Northumbria Uni is a young, innovative university focused on providing students with practical experiences to best prepare them for the modern workplace.


It regularly ranks highly on the Times Higher Education list of the top young universities in the UK and also happens to be one of the more flexible overseas institutions when it comes to admitting U.S. high school students.


Here, applicants can apply on a test-optional basis.


Students also love the location in Newcastle, voted as one of the UK's best student cities, and it's easy to see why.


It's vibrant, affordable, historical, friendly and fun.


And really, what's not to love about a Geordie accent?!


 

Interested in applying for college or grad school abroad?


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G'day! My name is Sara, and I'm the founder of College Apps Abroad and a Certified Educational Planner (CEP), one of only 40 CEP's in California and 300 worldwide. I have more than 10 years of experience working in international recruitment and admissions, and I've studied and lived overseas myself in the UK, Ireland, Australia and Brazil for almost a decade. I've also worked for some of the world's top institutions, including The University of Edinburgh, the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and The University of Western Australia (UWA)!

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