Studying Architecture at RGU

Architecture at RGU

Gabriella Szalay, a BSc/Master of Architecture student writes about applying to RGU, moving to Aberdeen and her course experience so far.

*Please note, the above image was taken before the COVID-19 restrictions*

In an idealistic world I would say that I knew I wanted to be an architect since I was born… but let’s face the facts… 99% of the time students can’t even choose where to have lunch, not to mention choosing a university and the perfect career paths. This was the case with me anyway. I knew I liked creative things, but I am also quite logical and I like systems. It took me some time to figure out that architecture combines these and so far, it feels like I made the right decision.

Applying to RGU

I lived in Budapest, Hungary all my life but as someone who loves to travel and learn about other cultures it was no question for me to try to apply for universities abroad, and being lucky enough to visit the UK before, I knew that I wanted to experience life there.

Throughout the application process, I couldn’t attend open days, so I heavily relied on websites, and social media when it came to getting an impression of uni’s. RGU instantly stood out with its amazing, modern campus and high student satisfaction.

Gabriella Szalay, a BSc/Master of Architecture student at RGU

But in general, I still didn’t have much idea of what I was getting myself into as education in the UK was completely alien for me coming from a very different system.

Even the application process was all new for me. I applied through UCAS, wrote a personal statement and I also had to put together a portfolio, which was something I had never done before. I am not going to lie, I was procrastinating and stressing about writing my personal statement because I felt like I didn’t have many achievements that made me ‘special’. I didn’t have three years of volunteering experience in architectural practice and I didn’t had a full portfolio showcasing my masterpieces. So, I tried my best and wrote about my passion and created some art pieces, drawings and paintings that made me happy. I feel like as long as you are truly interested in the course you are applying for, you will be absolutely fine and there is nothing to worry about!

A few final exams later I arrived in Aberdeen to start my new life in Scotland as an Architecture student. And this is where all the fun began.

Studying Architecture at RGU

I guess my first day at RGU concludes my experience perfectly. Imagine roughly 100 new students, all a bit nervous and overwhelmed, after a 3-hour long induction, being guided through the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment for the first time.

Gabriella Szalay, a BSc/Master of Architecture student at RGU

It felt like a maze, with endless architectural drawings, models, and very scary and experienced looking older students (hint, they are all very nice and helpful). Our tour ended on the 5th floor, in the studio. At this point, two things were going through my head:

1. I need to pretend that I am not completely out of breath and about to die after climbing all those stairs.

2. Wow! This studio space is just crazy with the most beautiful view and how is this my life right now?

So, as you can imagine we were all very overwhelmed when our first-year tutor just jumped into explaining our first task: go to B&Q down the road and get two 2m long timber batons…

I was in a bit of a shock, to say the least. And that was the point when I realised, this is not an average ‘sit-in-big-lecture-halls-and-take-notes’ sort of course. Nope, this is the course where you do the most random stuff like coming up with a furniture design made out of batons to, study trips in London, adoption night with our architecture ’moms and dads’ (students from the year above us), site visits, gingerbread house building competitions, random picnics at the campus, designing a workshop for Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus and experiencing the most beautiful sunsets from the studio.

If somebody asked me what my favourite part of studying architecture at RGU is, I couldn’t choose one. I know it is such a cliché, but honestly, the one and a half years I have spent at RGU so far have been the most colourful experience of my life so far.

Gabriella Szalay, a BSc/Master of Architecture student at RGU

All I can say that if you are hesitating to apply for architecture, don’t, just go for it! I am sure you will have an experience that you can’t even imagine.

Gabriella Szalay

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