Written by

Martina Gardeva (Bulgaria)

I am Martina Gardeva from Bulgaria studying MSc Tourism Management and Marketing. Everybody has heard the phrase “the best years of a person’s life are the ones spent at university”. But how do you ensure that? From my experience – both as a bachelor graduate and one semester in as a master student – I can say that the key is to take advantage of every opportunity you get…both academically and socially, especially if you are an international student like me. Let me tell you how I am having the time of my life so far here at Bournemouth University.

Start with art!

The Arts by the Sea Festival is a stunning one-of-a-kind event which occurs every October in Bournemouth. The festival is all about spectacular art exhibitions (many of them free and outdoors!), intriguing light shows and fire installations, unforgettable national-level musical, film, dance, and comedy performances and so much more. I am truly grateful I had the chance to witness this truly amazing experience with my own eyes.

Celebrate old traditions – you are in England!

This Halloween was my first real celebration of the holiday and I totally loved it! From running around buying last-minute makeup, clothes and accessories, to spending hours preparing for the big night – it was worth it! As Bournemouth has so many students, there are events organized in almost every pub, bar, or club in town. My friends and I picked Halo. Halo is an impressive nightclub that used to be a church, with an excellent acoustic system and amazing shows. It truly made our first Halloween experience unforgettable!

Get connect to industry

For tourism students like me, the World Travel Market London (WTM) event is a must! It’s a huge, stunning and impressive trade exhibition show held annually. Countries from all over the world come to raise awareness and negotiate deals with potential industry partners. As students at BU, we get free access to everything! From actual size Indian temples, safari cars, jungles, ships, and sand castles to virtual reality experiences. From Thai carnival dancers to Kung-Fu fighters and ancient priests. WTM has it all!

Leap over to London

If you have time, consider day trips to London…one of the most impressive megacities I’ve ever been to and only 2 hours away from Bournemouth on the train! It combines the old architecture of the House of Parliaments, Buckingham Palace, and the Tower Bridge with modern urban skyscrapers like the Shard Building and the Walkie-Talkie. Taking a ride on the London Eye or visiting the British museum, (it’s free!) to look at real mummies are among the best experiences. For truly spectacular views, I recommend the Sky Garden!

These are just some of the best moments I had during my first term at BU, but there were so many more. There is no better way to make the most of it than to truly immerse yourself into the wonderful adventure that living and studying abroad is! Travel. If you can, as much as you can and as far as you can. Life is not meant to be lived in one place.

By Martina Gardeva, Bulgaria, MSc Tourism Management and Marketing 2017/18