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Gunwharf Quays. The place to be…

Music? Check. Headphones? Check? Money? Check.

Gunwharf Quays is an outdoor (but covered) shopping centre. Here you can find shops such as; Superdry, Boots, Ted Baker and for the party animals amongst you…Tiger Tiger! (which is a nightclub…). Living on campus at University means I am only a 15 minute walk away from Gunwharf Quays. The walk down to Gunwharf is an easy one (or if you are feeling particularly lazy you could just get the train to Portsmouth Harbour….but I have never done that….) *okay…maybe I have….*

As soon as you get down to Gunwharf you notice the bustling atmosphere and it is rather a nice place to be to just do some window shopping and see what the latest fashion trends are. There are also popular restaurants such as Wagamama’s, Nandos, Jamie’s Italian and even Burger King(!) which are a great meeting point for friends, family or just to eat some nice food instead of the disgusting 60p meatballs in tomato sauce I ate recently…YUK

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Spinnaker Tower from a distance 🙂

Leaving my flat at 2:15pm, my aim was just to go and buy some new shoes as a girl can never have enough shoes and mine always seem to be breaking! Whilst walking down to Gunwharf, (with Against the Current blasting through my headphones) I got rather frustrated as the wind kept blowing my headphones out of my ears. I decided that as I live an hour outside London which means it  takes me about 2.5- 3 hours to get home ….I should probably invest in some new ones to make train journeys shorter.

I then decided to go and buy some shoes from Vans. *After I had bought some socks from M and S because the socks I was wearing were too thick to try on new shoes* Now you may be wondering how on earth a student at university can afford Vans?! The vans in Gunwharf is actually an outlet which means there are huge and I mean HUGE discounts on shoes. So what could have been a £50 pair of shoes are now a £18 or LOWER pair of shoes. The more you know….

I did have some difficulty at first as I was not entirely sure what size shoe I am (I am a UK size 3 ….yes I have tiny feet…) I looked around all the various shelves to find not only the right size but also some nice shoes. Being an outlet many of the shoes on the shelves are the last in stock so it can be difficult to find a pair that you like. However finally after much searching…I found these….

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My leopard print shoes from Vans!

I was extremely happy with my new shoes and look forward to wearing them around campus and when I go home for the weekend!

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Keep calm and canter on…

Another one of my (many) activities at university is horse riding. I first sat on a horse at the age of just 4 and haven’t looked back since.

Having ridden at Brawlings Farm at home (shout out to all the Brawlings Girls reading this!!) I was keen to make some new equestrian friends and have some fun doing something I really enjoy. Not only is being on a horse great exercise, being around horses is great “horse therapy” for those days when things are stressful!

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One of my first lessons at Brawlings Farm! 🙂 

As part of the Equestrian society we ride at Shedfield, a riding school near southampton. Lessons are organised in terms of ability and I am in the canter group, though there are one off jumping lessons and gymkhana lessons as well!

I attended the taster session and got to meet lots of other lovely equestrians who I now get to see on a regular basis. I rode a pony called “Cherry” and really enjoyed having my first canter at Portsmouth. Cherry is quite forward going (or speedy for those of you who don’t ride)  and you have to really use your seat and sit deeper in order to get a nice transition from canter to trot. I also met some lovely people who enjoy riding just as much as I do! It was great to make friends in different years and to see everyone ride. (They are all very good!!)

Since the taster session I have gone riding a fair few times and have come to love the ponies at Shedfield just as much as the ponies at home!

Here are some photos of the ponies I have ridden at Shedfield. Keep your eyes peeled on this page as I will be adding more as and when I go riding!

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Cherry-Taster day

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Nervously jumping Morlie after falling off Rover 😛

This photo came from the introduction to jumping day! Unfortunately I fell off another pony called Rover. Rover and I were going over some trotting poles (or just poles on the ground for anyone non-horsey) and he got a bit excited, cantered, and then threw in a buck for good measure. (Translated into english…he got fast and I fell off..) Falling off does scare me but you learn to get back on and get on with it. My back was pretty painful after and I went to the doctors and found out I had injured my lumbar region. After a pretty painful week I was back on ponies!

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Cantering Bella!

The video below is of me jumping my favourite pony called Trigga at my yard at home. Just so you can see me jumping! My position still needs work but I am improving in my jumping and hope to continue to improve! There is also a video of me cantering Cherry from Shedfield on taster day. Having paid my student membership I was allowed to canter and just kept going round and round basically!

I would like to say a huge thank you to all my friends in equestrian society especially Carys and Jess for calming me down when I fell off and always giving me confidence to improve! I would also like to say a massive thank you to everyone at Brawlings Farm who have never stopped believing in me and for giving me confidence boosts when I need them most!!

Hope you have enjoyed this blog and videos about my riding at University! I will keep this page updated so come back soon for more photos/videos and updates!! 🙂

 

 

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Portsmouth, Uncategorized

Star Blogger !

So, this past week has been really exciting and one of my favorites so far because I was named Star Blogger of the university 🙂 I must admit the competition between me and the other bloggers was really tough , as all of them are excellent bloggers as well and have written some good posts about the uni. So I was pleasantly surprised when I was announced as the winner and additionally I got a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 as a prize! Woohoo 🙂

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In other news, I’m one month into university studies and I haven’t been really pressured to do anything, but I know as the weeks go by, the workload is going to get increasingly big since I have several projects and essays to hand in at similar deadlines. Especially after February, I will need to really dedicate all my time into completing a report, making digital marketing artefacts for another client, doing a debate as well as starting on my final marketing project, which includes finding a client by myself to work with and creating a digital marketing strategy for them. Therefore, you can say that 2016 has been quite energetic so far 😉

How’s the first month of the year been for you? Let me know in the comments 🙂

XOXO Ntina

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Fancy a Cheaper Alternative to a Night Out?

SPOILER ALERT: there’s so so much to do in Portsmouth! This time last year, when I was still in my first year of university here, I didn’t know about so many of the incredible things you can do for free (or a couple of quid) in evenings in the city. So here’s a little list of little hidden treasures you might not know about yet.

Monday: If you’re into poetry/hip-hop/spoken word then head down to Trash Arts’ monthly poetry night ‘Open Ya Mouth’. This month’s was absolutely wonderful and the next one is Monday 22nd February. It’s at the Fat Fox at 8pm and absolutely FREE! Keep your eyes peeled on their Facebook for details on the next one. Here’s the event for February’s.

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Tuesday: Trash Arts also run short film nights (with the occasional spot of live drama). The next one of these is on Tuesday 9th February and is FREE entry, but with donations to support local filmmakers. It promises to be a brilliant night. If anyone makes short films they would love to have some more people involved so send them in via the Facebook group (link above).

Wednesday: Every Wednesday night The Old Barn holds ‘beanbag club’. It’s an absolutely adorable night where you reserve a beanbag and then they show a film on a big projector. There’s a bar serving alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, sweets, popcorn etc. They have just finished Tarantino month showing Pulp Fiction, Django, Inglorious Basterds and From Dusk till Dawn. Up next is Clockwork Orange and then the week after I believe it is Breakfast Club. It’s £3 entry but you are handed a voucher on entry which allows you to spend £3 at the bar (so really it’s free, you just have to buy a drink!). If you want to grab some food beforehand they are home to The Burrito Man which hands down do the best burritos I have ever ever eaten (and I eat a lot of burritos). It’s £5 and so big and filling, plus you get a free drink (can be alcoholic if you wish – may I recommend the pulled pork one with a bottle of Desperados).

Thursday: If you’re into alternative music then head down to Scandals Cellar Bar for a night of dancing (okay, I kind of lied because this isn’t an alternative to a night out but a night out). It is, however, an alternative to usual clubbing with indie rock and alternative music playing all night. Pete Scathe is a wonderful DJ who accepts requests all night! If you place your name on the Facebook (this weeks) group before 8pm on the night then you can get in for £1 entry! Otherwise it’s still only £3 – much cheaper than any other club.

Friday: I bet you didn’t know just how cheap it is to go up the Spinnaker? If you book online (which you can do the night before!) it’s about £7 for a student ticket. You get a stamp upon entry and can come and go as you please all day. It’s absolutely stunning at night. I have been up twice and the first time didn’t bother going back in the evening but I really couldn’t recommend it more!

Saturday: If you’re lucky (unlike me who works all weekend!) then you have Saturday’s off – hurrah! When was the last time you went to the beach? Go! Make the most of living, probably, within walking distance of the sea. Skim stones, get some chips, relax!

Sunday: Everyone should get in the know with the live music scene in Portsmouth. This week (Sunday 31st) at Drift Bar you can come see 5 acts for FREE! Check out some of the artists and head on down. I’m playing, which is very exciting, so it’d be lovely to see lots of students turning up.

So if you did all 7 of these all in one week (I admire your energy!) then you would have spent a total of £14, which averages out at £2 a day…. Not bad! Especially not bad considering half of it went on your trip up the Spinnaker – totally worth it.

So go explore, find new events and discover live music, poetry, film, culture and more!

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Accomodation, Uncategorized

Student House Hunting in Portsmouth

House hunting as a student can be an overwhelming experience if it is your first time. When my friends and I were looking for a house second year I had absolutely no idea what we were doing (none of us did) and in the end we went for a cheaper house to fit our budget. It was an okay house, but had we known more about houses we may have chosen differently. After living here for three years now I feel I know at least a little about house hunting, so here is some of my experience with houses in Portsmouth.

As a 1st year student you can apply for Halls of Residence, which seem to be the most popular living place for freshers. I had a good experience with Halls. It is so easy to apply for a room, and once you have your confirmation letter all you have to remember is to pay your rent on time. All the bills are already included, and there is always someone around to ask for advice whenever you need it. On Freshers’ Facebook groups I always see people asking which Halls are better and which you should avoid, but to be honest I think no matter which Halls you end up in you will have the full Halls experience, so don’t worry (and if you do end up in Langstone, there is always the free uni bus to get to lectures on time).

On the same Facebook groups I have also seen people writing that if they don’t get accepted to Halls they will not go to university. Of course you can have a great student experience if you live in a house! Rooms in houses are often bigger, you can have a double bed, a living room, a garden, and you won’t have to worry as much about noise levels and 5AM fire alarms. So please, do still go to university even if you have to live in a house.

Second year is when most students get into the whole house hunting business. Hopefully you will have a group of friends by then, and you have a few of them in mind as future housemates, or you can live with strangers. So… now what to do? How do you find a house?

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My room in Halls

1. Pick your housemates wisely

I cannot point this out strongly enough. Being friends with someone and actually living with someone are two very different things. If you get sick of your mates, you can always avoid them for a while by going home. But what happens when you live with them? Not so easy to cut them out for a few days, is it? So if you find yourself thinking ‘gosh, I’m sick of him/her today‘ too often, maybe you shouldn’t live together. It’s better to reject them and keep your friendship than end up hating each other by Christmas time.

2. Decide on details

How many people do you want to live with? How much can you afford to spend on rent every month? Is there anywhere you don’t want to live? Will you go for a private landlord or a letting agency?
It might be wise to have a general idea of what you are looking for before you start house hunting. It is easier to find 4 people bedrooms than 3, maybe get another person? Do you really want to spend money on letting agency fees or can you manage without? Yes, it might seem beneficial to go through a letting agency just in case something happens. Some agencies are very helpful and it’s easier to just phone them up and they will immediately send someone to unclog your toilet. But they often charge more, and if you manage to find a good private landlord he/she may be just as helpful.

3. Have a look online

The best place to start looking is online on Facebook groups (UoP Student Housing, Student Housing in Portsmouth), and housing searching engines like Portsmouth Student Pad. There are also many letting agency websites to check out.

Know that students have different views on which letting agencies are good, depending on their experiences, this is very individual. Ask your friends if they have any tips or check out this recently created Facebook group.

If you have any questions about finding good houses don’t forget you can also contact the university Student Housing Office.

4. Arrange viewings

Going to viewings is essential. It’s not enough just to see pictures of the houses online. When you get to a house try to look beyond the mess and personal items of the current tenants. Think to yourself ‘can I see myself living here?‘.

Make sure you go to a few viewings before you make up your mind. When we were looking for a house for our 2nd year we made the mistake of really loving the first house we went to (a private landlord) and told her straight away that we wanted the house. A few days later we went to see another house and liked it even more, so we had to make up an excuse to get our of the first house. Bad, I know.

Also make sure you check for leaks, mold and that kind of stuff. And don’t be afraid to ask questions! If you see a massive dark stain on the carpet, ask why it’s there. If a desk is broken ask if it will be replaced by the time you move in. Trust me, you don’t want to realise two months in that your bed is actually broken.

5. Make sure the paperwork is dealt with

The scariest part of the process can be the paperwork. If you go through a letting agency they are often very helpful and tell you exactly what they need and where you need to sign. We went with a letting agency house 2nd year and were taken down to their office straight after the viewing to sign some of the paperwork. Then during the summer they sent us the contract and asked us to sign it.

Private landlords do approximately the same. Some will want to do a credit check on you to make sure you will be a reliable tenant, and then send you the contract to sign it. You will also have to sign a guarantor form and have your legal guardian or a family member sign it too.

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My room second year

6. What if I am an international student?

Being an international student (like myself) I’ve found that house hunting can be a tad more troublesome. Landlords often require you to have a guarantor. A guarantor is a person who will pay rent for you if you are unable to. This is mostly just to make sure it is not going to be a hassle for the landlord getting his money every month, making sure some students don’t run back to their respective countries without paying. And most of the time the guarantor have to be a person based in the UK, which many international students, including me, don’t have access to. But again, this really depend on the person. Some landlords are happy with an international guarantor, some are not.

In Halls this was not an issue. I paid rent once a semester, and it was all online through the university website. I didn’t even have to transfer the money into pounds, I just used my Norwegian bank card and they calculated the currency for me. If I hadn’t paid I could have been kicked out of uni, and I didn’t want to risk that!

2nd year we were with a letting agency. Three of us were foreign and we asked them at the viewing if it was okay for us to rent because it would be troublesome for us to get a guarantor in the UK. To solve the problem they told us we could pay 6 months rent up front in September and January. I know many students don’t have that amount of money saved up, but for me it was not an issue since my student loan for the whole term comes in August and January, so I could happily pay straight away. It was actually beneficial for me because I didn’t have to worry about rent for the rest of the term. So don’t be afraid to suggest this solution to your future landlord.

This year my landlord (private landlord this time) required me to have a guarantor. He found a company who acted act as a guarantor for me, although my legal guardian in Norway had to sign the form as well. One guarantor company the university works with is Housing Hand, although I have no personal experience with them.

7. House hunting whilst on your year abroad

I was in China on my year abroad last year but I was so incredibly lucky. One of my friends at university already had a house from the previous year and we agreed that when I came back from China I would just move in with her. I kept most of my stuff with her whilst abroad, and I didn’t have to worry about house hunting at all. I met up with the landlord to sign the paperwork when I went back in February, and I couldn’t be happier that it has worked out this well.

So my advice is: if you know someone who will still be in Portsmouth when you come back, team up with them! Ask them if they will have a room free for you when you are back and save yourself the hassle of house hunting while abroad.

For some students this might not be as easy, so you will just have to house hunt the traditional way. Maybe you have some free time to go back to Portsmouth for house viewings, or ask a good friend or a parent to go for you.

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My room final year

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My room final year

All this aside the main thing is to enjoy university and have fun with your housemates. Student house hunting is a good way to get some experience on the house hunting front, and hopefully get on the good side with your land lord so they can act as a reference for you in the future (our land lord at the moment brings us cake and breakfast when he comes over. I love him).
Good luck on your house hunt, hopefully this has been a little helpful.

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Course, Graduation, Other University Factors, Uni services, Year Abroad

Options and other concerns; the final year

Howdy,

It’s funny how a new year has just begun, but important and endless things are worrying so many minds: the final year.

I see how students are rushing with their projects/dissertations, trying their best to make a good impression, to be recognised by their efforts and getting the so valuable diploma. Nonetheless, their worries do not end there. Nor mine did.

As a student, especially as an undergrad student, most of the times we can live for a while without being concerned about the future. We are just enjoying life, discovering all the possibilities and thinking about the subjects we are being taught. But as the graduation reaches its end, other concerns start popping out of our minds “what’s next?”, “what should I do now?”, “Is this really what I want to do?”

Fascinating questions, I must say, but so terribly uncomfortable, most of the time, to answer. For some, following to the next level of education seems unavoidable: but exactly which one? For others, business or industry lie on the table: but am I ready? Do I have the right curriculum for that position?

Fortunately, our University offers great support in terms of careers advice and business startup. If you are starting to struggle with these questions, have a quick look on the Purple Door website. Even if you want to add some work experience, volunteering or find a part-time job, you’ll find plenty of information over there.

Nonetheless, my experience says you must be proactive when it comes to finding other options after your undergrad. Not all of us have the same expectation about the future. Some are keen on experiencing the job market, to experience some hands-on work and contribute with what they have learned. If you are one of those, you should seek some guidance from supervisors from each school in order to ask for some useful information. For instance, in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences a group of students applied for the Society of Economic Geology Student Chapter, which is a wider organisation, and now and then they invite people from the industry to come and have a say of what it is needed from young geologists or how the market has been for the past years. Following these initiatives, they organized a trip to the Imperial College of London for a General Meeting of the SEG. Loads of things were discussed over there, as the UK and EU strategy concerning vital metals and ore exploration, scholarships and jobs opportunities related with the H2020. Several employers from different companies came to have a say about their experience and how they got there. It was a good “wake-up call” for those students wanting to pursue a mining career but still had some doubts and concerns of ‘where’ and ‘what to do’.

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Since the Natural History Museum is so close to the Imperial College, we went there for a quick peek – Dodo, picturing as the extinct bird endemic from Madagascar.

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Not a Spacesuit.. no. This is a high-temperature enduring suit, made for surveillance and research on volcanoes

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The itinerary for our Students into Mining sessions

I’m positive several other initiatives like this one are and will happen around the UK and most certainly at the University as well. If not, do encourage your lecturers to do so.

As for those of you thinking on masters/PhD degree, the University of Portsmouth has a good range of courses, each year is improving its offer, and several students, after it, have been employed. You have MA/MSc and MRes, usually the first takes 2 years to complete while the later is a full-year only researching. You can book a place to be part of the open day, where clarifications of this sort and much thoroughly are given – Open Day Masters.

As my personal view, I do think going abroad should be on your to-consider-list.

It does look good on your CV, it is much more than just living by yourself (you might have already done that yet), and it is not only partying (if that passed through your mind!). Going abroad can also be less expensive. Considering the living costs of the UK and the fees of a postgraduate course, considering living in an EU country is not completely nuts. Even if the rank of the University is not as high as the University of Portsmouth or other institution in the UK, having a diploma from a different country (though do check its eligibility outside the country) means lots of things that the person who is checking your CV will perceive: means learning a new language, adapting and adjusting to a foreign culture, practising much more social and communication skills, enduring hard situations, experiencing different views and ways of work. You can have a quick look on the top European Universities here. You can search by country or by ranking.

You can still have this experience and be in a UK University. Just check the ERASMUS+ website and do a little research on the requirements and choices you may have. You can also apply to a fund, that can help you out during your ERASMUS.

With a quick search, you can have an idea of which countries in Europe have more attractive living costs, accessing Numbeo.  I would recommend (obviously!) Portugal, Spain or France as possible destinations. These are countries that speak the most spoken languages in the world (apart from English and Mandarin), with welcoming people (increasing towards the SW) and depending upon the subjects with recognized education systems and research. Just be aware that they don’t always have information written in English. That’s easily overcome by sending an email to one or more lecturers of the School you fancy. They can give you all the tips you need.

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In case you need some “motivation” to go abroad… (SW of Portugal)

Times are getting harder for everyone. The economy is not so good, the Market’s trust is not as good and therefore, job opportunities and vacancies in Academia are getting reduced. Of course, now and then, mostly due to EU funding, there is still some places and scholarships. If you don’t mind internationalization, some countries are developing and would appreciate young brilliant minds working for them. But don’t be surprised if you don’t find the perfect job right away or if it doesn’t match your expectations, seldom they don’t. With time, patience and dedication you will get there.

Ciao

Inês

 

 

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Uncategorized

Ballet shoes

Every Saturday at around 12:30 I disappear off to Portsmouth and Southsea Station to get the train to Warblington for ballet class. I have been dancing on and off since I was three and when preparing to come to university I was looking at places to go to do ballet as I really wanted to get into it again.

Going to ballet in Warblington allows me to get away from the hectic life of university and completely forget about all due dates and stresses that may be occurring. It allows me to spend some time off campus and to allow myself to have some thinking time as I get the train there and back. The first week  however, was a bit of a disaster when I got the train an hour too early and didn’t have any cash to buy uniform, cue me walking to the nearest Spar and getting some cash out and then getting lost on the way back!

When I eventually made it back to the dance school I met with the principle and she introduced herself and took me into watch the pointe class. Since I was a little girl doing ballet I have always dreamed of going en pointe. I then tried the grade 6 ISTD class and felt a bit out of my depth, having not done ballet in so long I felt a bit lost.

After class I spoke with the principle and we both decided I should move down to the Grade 5 Class, a decision which I am now so grateful for! I also started the pointe class and a few weeks later I was told I could get demo-pointe shoes. I was half way there!

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My demi-pointe shoes- you can actually go up onto pointe on one toe and they are good for getting used to how pointe will feel.

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My ballet uniform 🙂

The confidence I have gained in ballet is huge since the start of term, constantly working on my core, my arch of my foot and my ankle bone I hope to someday soon make the transition to pointe. Ballet for me, as well as being good exercise, is something I love doing. The music and environment is calm and I enjoy every moment I am there.

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