Andrei Tudor, University of the Arts London
Andrei Tudor studies Film and Television at the University of the Arts London, where he applied in 2016, with support from UNIVERSALIO.
How did you choose the University of the Arts, and the Film and TV program? What were the alternatives you looked at and how did you decide to study there?
I chose UAL after having previously researched what I’d like to do and what that means in terms of college courses. Having found a job and a field of work that would open up enough career options, I started looking for universities that offered film and television study programs, with a a focus on practical courses. Among the first I found were UAL, Westminster, Anglia Ruskin and Bournemouth, so these were on my shortlist to apply. Later, after choosing them as my main choices, I started looking at each one to discover as much information as possible about the course and the university. A personal ranking emerged naturally after that.
How was the application process?
For me, the process begins with RIUF Bucharest, in October 2015, where I happened to meet Daniela, a UNIVERSALIO counselor. I told her I was an economics student in Bucharest for just a week, and that I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to apply or not. The first thing she told me was that I might not be eligible for the Tuition Fee Loan provided by the British government, given that I was already studying at university in a EU country. After a week of talking to my parents about studying abroad, the university I was attending at the time became part of the past, a decision I still stand by.
Throughout the process, have there been difficult steps, or stages that have been particularly challenging for you?
I think the main challenge was the personal essay, because it has to include a number of things that you might omit without the support of someone specialized. I don’t think were other significant challenges, because, to some extent, I was ready for what was going to happen.
Because the stages of the application process differ from candidate to candidate, the counselor’s help in notifying and informing you about every step of the application is essential.
And how was your work with Daniela? What do you feel was her contribution, and that of UNIVERSALIO, to the process?
One of the things that help an applicant is being made to feel confident by the person counseling them, and this is done not just through words, but also through a counselor’s confidence and experience. So the way I worked with Daniela included receiving feedback for my work, for example for the essay, as well as solutions that would get me out of a stalemate. Everything is based on a direct relationship with the candidate. Take the meeting between the counselor, the candidate and the parents: this meeting was a very important one during my application, because me and my parents could learn details about living in London, the approximate costs of accommodation, maintenance, and other things we couldn’t find out until then.
Daniela’s help was a great addition to the application process, because, without her help, I probably wouldn’t have been able to apply in such a short time, and my application might not have been as successful.
Considering my own application, I would say that, through its advisers, UNIVERSALIO offers an applicant assurance about the success of their application.
But do you think there were elements of your profile or background that gave you an edge in the application process?
I don’t know if there were elements that would give someone like me a special advantage relative to other applicants around the world. I believe that volunteer work, at least among young people, is no longer a novelty. Rather, I could mention a few of the things in my application, such as a wide range of volunteering activities, a few institutions (public and private) for which I worked or volunteered, a lot of individual study in the field of film and television, and, last but not least, a school that had offered me the opportunity to discover and perfect my hobby. If I had to mention one thing I learned at the end of the process, it is that you never have to lose your focus by working things you do not resonate with.
Let’s talk about your life as a student at the University of the Arts. How are the courses compared to your expectations? And how is daily life beyond the courses?
Student life at UAL is quite interesting, and new compared to how I was used to seeing school. At the top of the list, I’d talk about the first thing I noticed, the absence of the teacher’s desk, as a defining element of what the experience means. Within the university, there is a lot of group work in most courses; everyone has the right to an opinion or question; and help from your professors is always just an email away. Since my study program involves more practical work, rather than a theoretical part, the courses are diverse, and most involve applied activities. The program is quite varied, but it never begins before 10 in the morning. Because everything is based on teamwork, courses are followed by working on various projects, so daily life often includes group meetings, online collaboration or even meetings with professors.
Beyond that, you have to learn to do things yourself: prepare your meal, sometimes acting as a cook, sometimes making more comfortable choices. But all this gives you the power of decision and responsibility.
And what does life look like in London? What challenges did you encounter?
Life in London, for me, is not very different from that at home. As I mentioned above, the first step you take on your own is called responsibility. There are many ways to spend your free time, from going out to pubs, to visiting museums, especially since entry is free of charge for most museums. The variety also extends to food, transportation, outdoor spaces or tourist attractions, and, as a student here, the advantage is that you do not have to visit them on weekends or holidays when everything becomes crowded. The biggest challenge for me was the food, especially its taste; it took a while to get used to and to learn what I liked and what I did not; however, the process continues. In a nutshell, I’d say life in London is quick, but peaceful.
What advice or recommendation can you offer based on your experience so far to someone who is just beginning to consider applying to the University of the Arts (or, more generally, for studies abroad)?
For those who are considering studying abroad, I would only say that they have to be very sure about their choice. I would suggest reading the guide you receive from your counselor, because that’s where you’ll find the most useful information for what will follow. Beyond that, I think things come naturally and they’ll have to face them once they encounter them. Good luck to all those who apply; and to those who are still in doubt, enjoy the opportunity.
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