In 2016, the University was delighted to announce that PhD (Musicology, 2010) alumnus, Richard Burgess, musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, composer, author, manager, marketer and inventor won the US Award for Professional Achievement, which was presented at a ceremony in New York.
I chose to study Photojournalism at the University of South Wales’ Faculty of Creative Industries partially due to the fact that the campus in Cardiff is right in the middle of the city, making it accessible to many different things. The Photojournalism course is really great, run by lecturers who are very enthusiastic about the program. Gaining a USW scholarship was also a factor in me choosing which University to attend.
I have settled in to life here very well. I am really enjoying a great group of friends, social life, as well as my course. It was initially a challenge to have to create new connections and be in a new city, but this also turned out to be a great experience for me.
The best experience I have had to date, though, was going to see David Hurn, a photojournalist, on a trip with my class. Though I’m not sure about my specific career goals after university graduation, I do hope to work as a freelance photojournalist, and I think that my current course will definitely prepare me for my future career.
If I had to share some advice with other US students considering studying here, I would say that it is a great school and everyone is really nice and helpful. Although sometimes it is difficult being so far away from home, there are other people who can relate and help you.
Of all the schools I researched, the University of South Wales’ Faculty of Creative Industries was the only one which offered the type of gaming programme I was seeking. I have a huge passion for gaming, and before the course started, I was looking forward to learning the ways of the game makers, as both an artist and a designer/programmer.
Although I have been in the UK for a few months now, I am still learning and adjusting to new processes related to my course, such as journaling my assignments. I have family in Cardiff, and so I’m enjoying their company, and I have even found a girlfriend!
The culture shock was surprisingly strong. Although I had visited Wales several times in the past, and I had my family here to cushion me, there were still a lot of subtle cultural nuances that emerged and caught me by surprise, such as the emphasis on socialising with friends and the strong nightlife culture, but I am really enjoying this social aspect of student life!
I really enjoy being able to study something that I love, and it has been a great experience for me so far. Sure, there’s a lot to learn, but I feel confident that I’ll succeed.
In my future, I am hoping that I can put my skills to use as an asset to a larger gaming company, as ambitious as Wizards of the Coast or Nintendo. There are many game ideas I would love to see brought to fruition. And if I can play a role in making that a reality, all the better.
If I had to give some advice to students from the US (or beyond!) who are thinking of applying to study at the University of South Wales, I would suggest they develop a strong sense of personal discipline and patience. It takes both to adjust to something new, and even more to get the most out of your course. I would also advise them not to be shy when discussing or negotiating with the Lecturers; the faculty of USW want to help you succeed!
What do you think about the course you are studying?
Studying on this course has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I have learned so much and vastly improved my musical abilities. I have also made a lot of amazing friends and connections.
Why did you choose this subject?
Songwriting has always been something I do naturally, and often without even realizing I am doing it. It has always been my passion and my purpose in life. My undergraduate degree was focused on guitar performance, but that was only because my university in the US did not offer a songwriting major. I saw this course as a perfect opportunity to focus on favorite part of being a musician.
How do you think the skills and knowledge you have gained on your course will help you get a job after graduation?
Since beginning this course, I have formed strong bonds with several people whom I believe will prove to be exceptional music industry contacts down the line. I have also learned so much about writing and producing a well crafted song that my own work has improved exponentially. In addition, I have gained a lot more confidence in my abilities to write and produce music, as well as to perform and market myself. I really feel that I found my sound and my place in the industry this year.
Why did you choose to study at University of South Wales?
I chose Cardiff because I have always wanted to spend a year in the UK and London seemed to much like New York for a Bostonian like myself. Furthermore, I chose USW because it felt like home the second I set foot on campus. With a welcoming, collaborative vibe, USW has really made me feel that I belong. Not to mention that this course feels like it was made for me!
Has your learning experience at South Wales been positive (eg support from and communication with teaching staff; facilities like lecture halls, laboratories, IT equipment, Learning Resources Centre)?
Yes, definitely! The teachers I had this year really spent the time to get to know me and went out of their way on several occasions to make sure that my time here was well spent. I can tell that they truly believe in me and want me to succeed! The facilities are excellent too. I have had more access than I ever dreamt of to recording studios and the audio staff have been extremely accessible, providing resources and help in the studios.
What do you think of the leisure facilities, like the Students’ Union and Sports Centre? Do you use them much?
I never really go to Treforest, so I can’t much speak to the sports center, but I spend a lot of time in the Cardiff Students’ Union. I believe that the SU has very much enriched my experience at USW. It has provided me with countless gigging opportunities and publicity. I have also met several of my best friends here at the SU. It is a very valuable part of life at USW.
Have you enjoyed your University experience at South Wales?
Absolutely! My year at USW has probably been the best, most valuable, year of my life so far. I have learned SO much and made so many amazing friends. Not to mention that living in Cardiff has been an amazing experience. It is far away from where I grew up, but it feels like home. I am trying to stay here next year if I can get a visa!
Could you describe your time at University of South Wales using 10 words maximum?
I never truly belonged anywhere until I came here.