The BISS Blog

One of the best ways to learn more about the Birmingham International Summer School is to hear stories from our BISS alumni.

Erin Brown's BISS Experience

Our Birmingham International Summer School (BISS) recently took place at our Edgbaston campus.

Held for three weeks in July, BISS provides undergraduates with the opportunity to  meet students from different countries and gain a diverse and cultural study experience.

Among this year’s cohort was Erin Brown from Canada. Erin has always wanted to spend a summer studying film and travelling abroad, so she applied to BISS. Here’s what she has to say about her experience:

“The application process was seamless. The BISS staff helped me every step of the way and kept me up-to-date on my application status. They were also prompt in answering my home university about which documents I would need in order to apply. All of their help made it easier for me to relax and spend my time looking over travel guides for England, instead of stressing out about the trip!

“As soon as I arrived on campus, it was nothing but smiling faces and happy greetings! The student ambassadors were just as excited to welcome us as we were to be at their school.”

Erin took part in this year’s Film and Media programme, which is designed to provide students with an introduction to film-making and media culture in the UK.

“The best way to describe Film and Media is just that – action. You receive hands-on training with professional cameras, mics and video-editing software; all of the tools that every film student should know how to use,” explains Erin.

“Our professors taught us filming techniques, such as camera angles and movement and how to create a film from storyboard to final production. Whether you start the programme with previous experience in film-making or are just getting started, it’s built to accommodate students of all levels.”

As well as getting to grips with practical film-making techniques, students took part in a number of trips to find out more about the film industry. This included a tour of Leavesden Studios to learn about the making of the Harry Potter films, watching a movie in Birmingham’s oldest cinema and recording a radio play at the BBC studio in The Mailbox.

“On our final day, we reflected on how far our filming skills had come after just three weeks of practice and lessons from the University of Birmingham’s outstanding Film and Media professors,” adds Erin.

“I can highly recommend the BISS Film and Media programme to anyone who’s looking to improve their film-making abilities or would like to learn the fundamentals from professionals.

“I can say that I will never watch a movie the same way again, now knowing the amount of technique and thought that has gone into the production. I have a feeling there will be future blockbusters brewing in Birmingham from future Film and Media BISS students!”

Visit our webpages if you are interested in Film and Media or the other BISS Programmes on offer.

Erin Photo for blog

Sandra Bruderer's BISS Experience

Sandra Bruderer from the University of Zurich in Switzerland shares her BISS experience as part of the British Cultural Heritage programme.

“I chose the British Cultural Heritage programme because I wanted to gain new insights into British culture, which would benefit my studies and inspire me with regard to my dissertation in Neo-Victorian literature,” said Sandra.

“Having spent a year at the University of Birmingham as part of my undergraduate degree, I was very excited to be able to return to Birmingham.”

Sandra was impressed with the wide range of activities arranged as part of the academic programme.

“It’s hard to pick a single highlight however, I particularly enjoyed the two-day trip to Ironbridge Gorge, the birthplace of the industrial revolution,” explains Sandra.

“Not only did we visit a number of fascinating museums and cultural heritage sites, we also went for dinner in a local pub, which allowed us to spend a fun evening together with the staff in a relaxed atmosphere. The formal dinner in the Great Hall was definitely a highlight too!”

To see photos of the formal dinner and dance visit our Photo Gallery where you will also see photos of the varied social programme offered as part of BISS!

“BISS 2018 was an academic, as well as a personal success that fulfilled my expectations to the fullest. I made friends from the UK and all over the world and we shared some amazing experiences. The programme also included trips to cultural heritage sites you wouldn’t necessarily visit as a tourist and I found this extremely valuable.”

Sandra believes BISS is a great opportunity for everybody, regardless of if they’re familiar with travelling to the UK or have never been to Europe before.

Sandra added: “The staff and students are very welcoming and make you feel at home from the day you arrive. With its beautiful campus and location in the heart of England, the University of Birmingham is an outstanding place to study!

Find out more about how to apply to BISS by registering your interest.
Sandra Photo for blog

Yujia Zhang's BISS Experience

Yujia Zhang from Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) in China, took part in our Biomedical Sciences programme and explains why he applied to BISS:

I chose the UK as the country for my international experience because I’m very interested in learning about British culture,” he explains.

“I decided on Birmingham because I heard that the University of Birmingham campus is one of the most beautiful campuses in the UK. I chose Biomedical Sciences because it’s related to my Bioscience major and because I wanted to know more about clinical medicine and the NHS.”

Based within the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Clinical Sciences, the ‘Biomedical Sciences: From Laboratory Bench to Hospital Bedside’ programme covers topics including sustainability in healthcare, experimental design and the UK’s National Health Service. During their three-week stay, students take part in a variety of learning opportunities consisting of lectures, small group teaching and experimental laboratory sessions.

“It was definitely worth going to the UK to learn about the British culture, broaden my academic knowledge and experience the social events, which were brilliant.”

Students enjoy a varied social programme as part of BISS, allowing them to explore cities around the UK as well as experience the cultural highlights of Birmingham. To learn more about the BISS Social Programme, visit our Photo Gallery.

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