Classes I’ve taken in the UK

Deciding which university to study at in the UK was easy after finding out East Anglia University has the most prestigious Creative Writing Program. Even UVic’s creative writing prof, Deborah Campbell, recommended this school!

The University of East Anglia, or UEA, has been ranked one of the top 30 Universities in the country and has a large population of international students.

The university is in the city of Norwich, England’s first UNESCO city of literature, and is commonly known as “the city of stories” because of UEA. The university established the first Master’s in Creative Writing in 1970 and the first Ph.D. in Creative and Critical Writing in 1987.

In fact, the city was home to the first woman to write a book in English in 1395 (Julian of Norwich), as well as the first poem in blank verse during the sixteenth century (Henry Howard). No wonder Margaret Atwood, Ali Smith, and Ian Rankin have enjoyed visiting this creative city.

An undergrad degree in the UK is a 3-year degree, with a full-time workload of 3 classes a semester. The first term begins in the last week of September and ends at the end of January. The second term begins in early February and exams end in mid-June.

Since I don’t have exams as a Creative Writing student, I finished May 25th. Students have time off in the first term and second terms, which includes a month in December-January and 3 weeks in April.

This has been an amazing workload as I’ve been able to participate in 3 sports clubs, make time for my mental health, and enjoy time with new friends. I realized how important it is to take care of myself, as the workload and class time allows for students to do so.

My degree is a bachelor’s in Creative Writing with a minor in Digital Media, therefore I have 3/6 classes in Creative Writing and 3/6 in Media which cross over to UEA as elective credits.

The classes I’ve taken at UEA as a full-time student include:

1st term

Television and Movie Production – ethics and production in movies/tv

Final project:

Part 1: Produce a scene from a written script in a group (5 students). This includes using audio, camera, editing, planning, casting, and directing skills learned in class.

Part 2: Reflect on what you learned in this class and how your scene production process went.

I took the role of editor and filled in as an actor for someone who couldn’t make the film day. I learned how much time, thinking, and organizing it takes to produce a scene.

There is way more planning in the pre-production process than I thought, as this took the longest and most energy prior to filming. Pre-planning for the shot day includes deciding where the camera needs to be, which camera angles reflect the tone of the scene, and giving actors guides on what to do and express in the scene. The movie magic of visual storytelling contains many underlying meanings and techniques that a viewer isn’t aware of.

Documentary – Producing a documentary

Final project: Produce a documentary up to 6 minutes long with a group (5 people)

I took the role of editor again because I love editing. I also helped with building our documentary’s topic and visuals. Our group produced a documentary about cellphone usage in society and how it’s changed public spaces. We explored archival footage from the UEA archives since half of our assignment was to be archival footage while the other could be recorded or taken from today’s media.

Link to the documentary

I am/We Are – identity writing

Final project: a critical or creative essay exploring your reaction to the content from class and exploring how it’s changed how you see the world.

I wrote about my positionality; how our society has affected how I see myself and how I get treated growing up in Canada as a woman with a Kazakh background.

2nd term

Biography – reading and writing biographies

Final project: write a biography using what you’ve learned from the 7 biographies read in class.

I wrote about people I’ve met while solo travelling. The biography is focused on why they chose to solo travel and what travel has done for them in their lives. Listening to why others solo travel inspires me to do things alone with confidence.

Art of Emotion – academia and critical writing exploring emotion in our media and society

Final project: Create a creative piece exploring concepts of emotion we’ve read over the term.

I wrote and performed a stand-up comedy routine focused on feminist perspectives and gendered expectations that reflect emotional expectations.

Alternative Media – exploring the history of alternative media and how it has changed society

Final project: Critical essay on a topic of your choice

I wrote about how social media can be used as a type of alternative media for feminist activism by movements such as #metoo and #bodypositive.

I’ve loved every class I’ve taken and am so grateful to have explored a different culture’s take on the education I take in Canada. It’s definitely opened my eyes to the different systems of education and types of classes.

Going forward, I will be prioritizing my health more than I had the last couple of years at UVic. I was able to get hands-on in some classes while personalizing the concepts I’ve learned in others.

This was such a great year that has mentally and emotionally challenged me intensely. I am so happy to have done these classes during my study abroad year.

Get information on study abroad for UVic students.

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