With its stunning greenery, vibrant urban scene, famed castles and landmarks, it’s no surprise that nearly 50,000 international students flock to Scotland every year. Lim Chon Keat, an international alumnus of the University of Strathclyde’s School of Architecture, is one of them.
“Scotland is a fantastic place to live in, from the mind-blowing landscape of Scottish mountains to historical Edinburgh and lovely Glasgow where I lived for the past two years,” Chon Keat said of his experience studying for an MSc in Architecture and Ecology. “The hospitable and friendly Glaswegians made me feel so welcome.”
Come for the place, stay for the people
Two of the main reasons students choose to study abroad is to experience a new culture and meet new people. The Scots are renowned for being the friendliest people in the UK – and that’s something international students at Strathclyde can attest to.
“I vividly remember the first day [in Scotland],” recalled Janette Mpagi, a Ugandan native and Strathclyde Architectural Design graduate. “I was stuck at the airport and a nice lady assisted me with her phone to arrange my pickup. She waited with me for over 30 minutes until I left the airport…genuinely nice people.”
But of course, you’ll meet more than just friendly Scots during your time at Strathclyde. Thanks to the university’s international links from USA to Malaysia, you’ll connect with students from all over the world.
Glasgow’s diversity was what stood out most to Sharayu More, an Indian architecture alumna of Strathclyde. “Meeting people from different cultural backgrounds, getting to know their culture and lifestyle was the best experience I had. It was always very fun to make global friends.”
Real-world education for real-world issues
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and at Strathclyde, you’ll certainly have plenty of chances to play – but the work you’ll do both in and outside of the classroom is just as important as the cultural and social opportunities you’ll enjoy.
Strathclyde’s School of Architecture prepares graduates to solve the issues our planet is facing right now through a variety of interdisciplinary courses. One of these is the Sustainable Engineering: Architecture and Ecology postgraduate programme, which combines theoretical and practical approaches to architecture, ecology and sustainability through a mix of instructional modules and hands-on work placements and projects.
According to Chon Keat, Strathclyde takes its educational approach a step further, balancing students’ freedom of expression with lecturers’ guidance and experience to foster a comprehensive understanding of the subject:
“The learning of sustainability was not only limited to technical and practical aspects but we also gained a philosophical understanding. This is very important in laying down the foundation to implement eco-centric ideas in the future.”
Another unique course on offer at Strathclyde is the MSc in Architectural Design for the Conservation of Built Heritage. This design-centred specialist programme faces the issues surrounding the conservation and reuse of historic buildings, striking a fine balance between the appropriate conservation and the changes needed to adapt for contemporary use.
The department’s two design studios also provide students with a well-equipped yet creative space to simulate their designs and ideas. The studios, according to Mpagi, were some of her favorite things about her Strathclyde experience:
“The design studio is the most impressive,” said Mpagi. “There are many opportunities for real world design simulations.”
Other programmes include MSc/PgDip/PgCert Advanced Construction Technologies and BIM, and MSc/PgDip/PgCert Urban Design, both of which prepare students for a fast-evolving industry.
Designed for globetrotters
Architecture students at Strathclyde won’t spend all their time sitting in a classroom or studio in chilly Scotland. Those studying Sustainable Engineering will experience the scorching desert climate of Arizona during a three-month work placement at Arcosanti. For Chon Keat, this experience was the one that stood out most during his time at Strathclyde.
But you don’t have to limit yourself to the Sustainable Engineering course if you’re looking to travel whilst at uni. Strathclyde’s School of Architecture understands that today’s workforce increasingly values well-traveled graduates, which is one of the reasons it offers enriching educational trips. In 2018, architecture students enjoyed an excursion to Venice for the Biennale Architettura, one of the world’s most esteemed architecture exhibitions.
Travel opportunities like these make Strathclyde’s graduates well-rounded architects that any firm would be lucky to employ. Good thing, then, that Strathclyde has industry links with local engineering, construction and creative design firms so students can get a head-start on their career prospects long before they graduate!
A word of advice for future Strathclyde architects
When asked what advice she had for prospective architecture students at the University of Strathclyde, Sharayu More said, “Have a decent balance of studying and enjoying [your life].”
At Strathclyde, you’ll enjoy myriad opportunities to work and play – and you’ll undoubtedly make some new lifelong friends along the way. These life-changing experiences, coupled with Strathclyde’s countless accolades and innovative approach to education, make it easy to see how the school earned the top spot on both the Guardian League Tables ranking and the Complete University Guide for Architecture in Scotland.
There are many reasons why 94 percent of international students say Scotland is “a good place to be.” Considering the University of Strathclyde’s School of Architecture is ranked the best in Scotland, and one of the top 10 in the UK, Strathclyde isn’t just a good place to be – it’s the best place for international architecture students.