Kritika Gumber

India, MArch Architecture

“All of my tutors have been really supportive and they have given their time to us to share anything with us!”

Why did you decide to come and study in the UK?

I was planning to study abroad, but I wasn't sure where exactly I wanted to go. Firstly, I wanted to live alone and have an abroad experience as well...and when I was looking into countries, I really liked Oxford Brookes specifically because I have few family members in the UK and obviously the UK has really, really amazing architecture. Apart from that, Oxford is such a nice city because it is well known as a student city with all these students living here, and when I was living here before the pandemic, I socialized with a lot of students and it was really amazing. I think Oxford is an absolutely great city and I am never going to regret my decision.

What sort of exciting things have you been doing in your course?

In our second year and third year, we were provided with lots of computers and we were using all the softwares as well to test our designs, which was really exciting because we were studying and working with all the master’s students and exchanging ideas as well. During the COVID restrictions, it has been a bit difficult to interact with everyone, but studios were a really nice place to interact with everyone. The exciting thing is that we are working on this design project, which is based in Cowley road, which is an Oxford based project that is about pedestrianization in that whole street and I'm really looking forward to finalizing and exploring my ideas.

What have your lectures been like and how have you found the support from your teachers?

My tutors have been really supportive in our design projects...we get two days in a week in which we can just drop in and ask any questions we have and they give us time for 30 minutes and sometimes 45 minutes as well to discuss our ideas and what they think about it and always share their ideas. Apart from that, we have other lectures as well for writing our essays and my tutors have been really supportive with that, they always share the ideas which really helped us in our essays. All of my tutors have been really supportive and they have given their time to us to share anything with us!

How has it been the transition from face to face learning to the online one?

It was a bit difficult because I literally had to decide if I wanted to go back to India or not within two days, but when I decided it was like a whole change in working environment and because I was so used to working in the studio, I had a bit of struggle for a few days to get myself adapted to the new work environment. However, and because our class was so united, we were always doing these video calls... In this way, we used to keep discussing with each other and we realised somehow that everyone was in a difficult situation, but we have to get through this.

How have you found making friends at university?

It was fun! I have made lots of friends because I joined societies. Especially, when I joined the Indian society, they used to do all these events because you know how in India, there are so many festivals, so they always do events for everything. Apart from that, I'm still living in student halls and I always meet people from different flats through my flatmates, they're all very nice, and we meet up every Friday night or Saturday night and get to know people. Also, being an architecture student, you have the chance to work in studios, and this helps you to make a lot of friends because when you work in studios, you always interact with people, and basically, you are socializing while you're working. So I think that is another great thing about being an architecture student.

What is your student accommodation like?

I'm literally like five minutes away from university by walking, so that is so close and so handy! I share my flat with six people, including me, and we have a shared bathroom and shared kitchen, but all of them are very hygienic and really nice. Currently, there are only three people in my flat, because of the COVID restrictions, so a lot of people didn't come back, but we still keep the flat quite clean and we keep seeing each other back since, because we are all in 30 years, some of them are busy with their dissertation and some of them, we are busy with our design projects. It is fun living in student accommodation because you get to meet so many people and then after that, you can decide if you want to continue living with them in a house or in an apartment.

What were your first impressions of Oxford?

I am from Delhi and it's so crowded over there, when I moved here, I just noticed that it is really quiet here. There are not many people here and it is so much fun because it's beautiful. For example, during the evenings, sunrises, everything is so beautiful and as I am close to South Park as well, which is right next to the Oxford Brookes campus, my flatmate and I used to go to South Park literally everyday to see the sunset, it's so beautiful! Oxford is like living in a paradise, to be honest, that's what my sister said as well when she came here with me, she was like “oh my god! You're going to be living in paradise!”

What would be some of your top tips for international students that are thinking about coming to the UK or to Oxford Brookes University for studying?

Do not hesitate to make the decision and come over to study here, because, when I first came here, I had this thing in my mind that I'm really different from everyone and I wanted to be able to fit in. I did not like to talk to people because I was shy and introverted at that time. But since I kind of started getting used to the place, I opened myself up to so many people and I think if any international student is coming abroad, they should just know that there's nothing like fitting in, there's no such thing and everyone is just in the same boat as you are; so yeah, just get that thing out of your mind when you move in, and go out and socialize with other students.

Can you sum up your time so far at Oxford Brookes University using just one word?

Beautiful! I have so many Snapchat stories and so many Instagram stories about how beautiful the city is, and how beautiful my life has been until now. Obviously, it has been combined with hard work and so much pulling late nights, so much other stuff as well, but besides that, it's been really beautiful!