Sophia Moreno: 5 Reasons to Study at Leeds Arts University

03 July 2020
By Sophia Moreno

Sophia Moreno is one of our BA (Hons) Illustration students and is originally from New York. In this blog she tells us her top 5 reasons to study at Leeds Arts University...

When I started applying for universities outside of my country, the United States, I kept a few factors in mind. One, I wanted the university to be located in a city and two, I needed it to be a specialised arts university. Although there were many options, Leeds Arts University stood out to me because I could tell they were a friendly university who cared about me and my progression as an artist. I am going into my 3rd year now and I wanted to take what I have experienced and share it with you! With that being said, these are my top 5 reasons to study at Leeds Arts University...

1. A Friendly Face

What I like most about Leeds Arts University is the warm and welcoming environment. Students and staff alike are incredibly friendly and are always willing to help or have a chat. Making friends is so easy here which is important when you're putting yourself into a new environment. Every international student will have the same worry - am I going to make friends? My worries were put to rest the day I started my first class. Everyone made an effort to get to know each other right away, resulting in a relaxed studio environment. The Students’ Union puts on different events that help students make friends but we will get into that in reason #5!

2. Creative Students

Leeds Arts University is an amazing hub of creativity. Each year group and each course has something new to bring to the table, and it’s inspiring to be surrounded by talented, artistic students. It can be incredibly helpful in shaping your practice and building your character! Throughout your degree there is the potential to collaborate with different courses. There are also different creative events throughout the year hosted by our own students such as music events or art exhibitions. To be able to experience these and see our community thrive is an amazing thing - something you can see for yourself if you choose to study here!

Blenheim Walk Building image

3. Incredible Facilities

The facilities at Leeds Arts University are equipped with the tools to cater to individual courses. They are run by knowledgeable and talented teachers who will show you how to use the facilities by doing a step-by-step tutorial with your class. Once you get inducted into a specific workshop, you can visit whenever you like and ask for help along the way if you feel stuck. Depending on what course you choose, you could have access to facilities such as screen print, ceramics, woodworking, and Adobe Software classes. There are also extra workshop sessions available to further your practice. These are available on a first come, first served basis. If you feel like you could benefit from a workshop that your course doesn't take part in, you have the opportunity to sign up! I would recommend asking your course leader what facilities are available for your specific course to make sure you get the most out of your university experience.

4. Amazing Tutors

For me, a key factor when it came to choosing Leeds Arts University was communication with tutors. Being able to talk to them is helpful to building an understanding of your own practice as you go through your degree. Your tutors’ office will be located right next to your studio, making them super accessible during university hours. Our tutors are here to help us grow as individual artists and they give us one-on-one attention when we need it. They are all so kind and approachable. I know I can always knock on their door whether it's for a quick chat or to talk about the ups and downs of my own personal life. We can also email them to make more formal appointments to talk about our portfolio or any pressing course-specific questions we may have. They want their students to succeed and do everything they can to make lessons fun, understandable, and constructive to our practice. They also listen to feedback and really take it into consideration when building their course module for the next year. We have seen so many improvements in my Illustration course alone just through communication with the tutors. Not all universities are this flexible.

5. Our Students’ Union

The students’ union could really go into the above "a friendly face" section, but they are so great I had to give them their own paragraph. The union is, which you probably guessed, student-led. This means they make decisions based on what is best for the students and they do a fantastic job. From our weekly newsletter to the table tennis just outside their office, they play a major role in making our university feel like a community. As an international student, the thought of going to a university in a new country can be daunting. As my first year went by, however, I saw how active the union was in making sure every student feel included in one way or another. The Students' Union is where you will find information on societies, fitness, and exhibitions. They also host events where students can get to know each other which means there are many opportunities to socialise during your first year.

I can say from my own experience that deciding to study at Leeds Arts University was the best decision I could have made. You can see from these top 5 reasons that this university does everything to make sure students are enjoying their time and building their skills. I could write a list of 100 reasons why you should study at Leeds Arts University, but I’ll keep it at 5 for now! I've found friends, a home, and a sense of self at this university and I am sure you can too.