I’ve been studying at University of Stirling since September, and so I’ve some opinions of what I like or dislike about it. I decided to share what I think, this post about what I like, and another about what I dislike.
First of all, it’s in a really nice location, it’s central in Scotland and has pretty good train/bus connection, so it’s easy to get to most places. The campus is beautiful (except the buildings), there is a lake, hills in the background, flowers and wildlife such as rabbits, squirrels, ducks, swans and other birds. It’s a really big contrast to many universities in the middle of big cities where there are hardly anything green at all. Oh, and there is a castle on campus, a small one, but a castle nonetheless.
It’s a good university for sports, with more than 40 sports clubs, a gym, various playing fields and a golf course. Personally I joined one of the two karate clubs, something I have never tried before, but which has been great!
Maybe this is common in Britain, but it seems like there is a lot of focus on making everything accessible for anyone at the university. Or maybe it’s just more visible here, with power assisted door openers, signs showing where it is disabled entrance, which there is to basically everywhere. Last semester the entrance to one of the buildings was completely redone, to make it easier for wheelchair users to enter the building. Of course, this brings the question of how much resources should be used for a very small minority? Don’t take me wrong, of course everyone should have the opportunity to study, but isn’t it a little unfair when so much effort is put into making something for a tiny minority, something that I have so far never even seen anyone use? Couldn’t some smaller, simpler solution have been found, instead of almost redesigning the whole entrance? And used the rest of that money for something that is beneficial for more people? Like more computers in the library.
Most people have very few classes per week, I have 11 this semester, and I had 9 last semester, and that is almost twice as much as most of my friends here. It seems to be more common to have 5-6 hours per week, depending on what you study. This is great as it gives quite a bit of independence, although it might not be the most efficient way of teaching. As you are supposed to study a lot outside the classes, but few people do even half as much as they are supposed to.
One thing I particularly like is to be able to influence how your timetable to some extent. Not the lectures, but for the practicals and tutorials you get to pick from different choices of time/day.
In general the buildings and teaching rooms are very much acceptable, if not always perfect. With things such as projectors and computer access everywhere. If the lecturer is good, the classes are good (duh). The grading system is fair, anonymous and with two different graders for each paper.
The library is really good in some respects and not as good in others. The opening times are great, as it’s open every day until midnight, and until 2 am in exam periods. In particular I also like the system for loaning/extending books, as it’s easy and practical, and the movable shelves. They make it feel like it’s Hogwarts. Ok, not really, as Hogwarts had moving staircases, paintings with crazy knights and fat ladies, ghosts, screaming books and way, way cooler library than the one here. But one can dream, the movable shelves are pretty cool anyway.
All in all I have really enjoyed studying here, although much more because of the people and the location than the classes. I sorta dislike most of my classes. Which is sorta ironic when I’m here to study.
Where did/do you study, or where would you like to go? Did you like it there?