Guest blogger Written by

Nikki Mennen (Netherlands)

Hi! I’m Nikki Mennen. I’m originally from the Netherlands and came all the way to Bournemouth to study a Master’s in Creative Writing and Publishing. Although the overall culture of the Netherlands is very similar to the UK, I noticed some differences whilst living as a student and developing my skills here. 

Just don’t learn it, do it! 

In the Netherlands, studying at university is all about theories, academic essays, exams and statistics: I hated it. As a writer, I was looking to do some actual writing instead of learning about writing techniques. Here in the UK they focus on getting as much writing practice as possible, while of course giving you some theory to get you started. That is why the classes are usually interactive and full of practical tips, instead of three hours of listening to your lecturer.

Assessment on real outcome

In the UK, postgraduate studies are often graded with essays and assignments instead of exams. Although not every course does this – it depends on your field of study – my MA in Creative Writing and Publishing definitely does. I luckily don’t have any exams, and get graded on portfolios, in-class assignments, creative writing pieces, feedback sessions and reflective essays. Overall, it takes more time to finish all these assignments than it would have taken to study for an exam but trust me, it’s worth it. 

An environment that helps you create something great 

Besides the practical side of studying in the UK, I also noticed that a Master’s cohort is much more compact and personal. My course has 15 students on it, which is such a small group compared to the Netherlands. The lectures are much more personal and interactive. Also, your lecturer actually knows your name, background and problems here in the UK, whereas in the Netherlands you often feel very anonymous in big universities. Because of this, I feel the course is much more about my personal development and reflection than about grades and results. During my assignments here, I am much more focused on creating something great, instead of getting a high grade.

It’s personal and practical 

Finally, in the UK the universities are very helpful when it comes to study skills, as well as personal health. Whenever you have a problem, feel free to reach out to someone inside (or outside) BU. With regards to study skills, you can participate in workshops, classes, feedback sessions and get one-on-one advice. That’s what makes studying in the UK so personal and practical! 

By Nikki Mennen, Netherlands, MA in Creative Writing and Publishing, 2017/18