Overseas university spotlight: University of Roehampton (UK)
As 'London's campus university,' the University of Roehampton offers the best of both worlds in terms of having a true campus feel and also being located on the doorstep of the sprawling, vibrant city of London.
Set in 54 acres of parklands, the campus is mix of old and new, as it has been providing higher education for around 180 years.
What's perhaps the most interesting fact is that it's one of the few institutions that actually started specifically to educate women.
Here are more of the highlights from my trip to campus in February 2023!
In the 19th century, Whitelands, Digby Stuart, Froebel and Southlands were four separate colleges set up to train women to become teachers.
They eventually all came together in the 1970s to form what is now the university, but the collegiate element still remains.
Nowadays, all students become a member of one of these four colleges during their degrees.
This affiliation is based on where students live in the first year, and if they choose to live off-campus, it's based on where they have most of their classes.
The colleges provide an extra layer of support (each college has its own well-being officer), social activities and their own traditions, making it easy for students to make friends outside of their classes and feel connected.
There are also college cup challenges, in which the colleges compete against each other on an annual basis, creating a strong sense of spirit and friendly rivalry.
Roehampton is on the smaller side for UK universities with only 9,000 students, about half of whom are undergrads and 28% of whom are international students.
It's also worth mentioning that not included in this headcount are its two campus bunnies!
Located in southwest London, Roehampton is close to Richmond (made famous by the series 'Ted Lasso'), Wimbledon and Putney.
It's also an official partner of the Crystal Palace Football Club, which provides internships, training, project work and career support to Roehampton students.
There's a free bus for students that will take them to the grocery store, train station and more.
On foot, the Barnes train station is about a 15-minute walk, and from there, it's just under an hour on the train into central London.
The campus library is modern, airy and offers lovely views.
Need a break from studying? There's also an on-campus bar.
A certified Fairtrade university, Roehampton also grows produce on site that's used in the campus cafes, a great initiative to teach students about sustainability and healthy eating.
Some of the study spaces are stunning, and some are modern and comfy.
For me personally, the best part of the campus is all the green space, which is rare in big cities like London.
Roehampton has a lot to be proud of; it has been ranked as the best modern research university in London and is second in London for overall student satisfaction.
Many students choose Roehampton for psychology, as it's the only UK university to offer training in all the arts and play therapies, such as Music Therapy, Dramatherapy, Art Psychotherapy, Dance Movement Psychotherapy and more.
During my visit, I was fortunate to sit in on a lecture about James Bond by Dr Ian Kinane from the English and Creative Writing department.
This department ranks 8th in the country for graduate starting salaries and has an in-house publisher, Fincham Press.
With an intimate and friendly learning environment, loads of masterclasses and author events and no exams (just essays, creative options and digital projects), it's no surprise this subject ranks first in London and 9th in the country for student satisfaction.
And one aspect that really struck me was the Roe Reads program, where the entire university reads a specific book, and then the author of it actually comes in for a talk!
This shows the importance of creative writing and that it's ingrained within the wider university, too.
Whilst most of Roehampton's degrees are in the social sciences, next year, the university will be launching an engineering degree.
And for students that don't know what they want to study, they may be interested in Roehampton's Liberal Arts degree, in which students can create their own programs studying a mix of subjects in the arts, history, literature, politics, media and more.
University of Roehampton: Summary
Roehampton is a great option for students looking for a peaceful campus environment but who also want access to the buzzing London scene on occasion.
Its four colleges provide student support, a sense of belonging and friendly competitions throughout the year.
And when it comes to admissions, Roehampton is much more flexible than most UK universities, as students can apply test-optional (though there may still be subject-specific prerequisites).