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Johanna Xenia Rafalski


Ba Media Studies Ba Contemporary Performance Practice Student Johannarafalski 255Where are you from?

Cologne, Germany.

Why did you choose Northumbria University, Newcastle?

When applying for ERASMUS at my home University, my first priority was Northumbria University in Newcastle. Here I have the rare chance to combine two professions: first my Acting profession from a previous degree plus second my current studies of Film- and TV-Sciences. When I received the letter of confirmation from Northumbria, I came to Newcastle just for a weekend and visited a friend of mine. I instantly fell in love with this city and was welcomed so warmly by staff even though it was still have a year to go until I would start my studies here. Still, they would do anything in their power to enable me combine studies from two different courses.

What do you think of Newcastle and our region and what are your favourite things to do?

Newcastle really is so beautiful architecturally! It's a great student city, there's so many of us (which is also due to the fact that there's another university in town too)! So even though I have only been here a few months, everywhere I would constantly bump into people I know. The Quayside and Leaze's Park are definitely my favourite places in Newcastle. I spend most of my free time at the Climbing Wall on Campus or in one of the nice cafés. But there's many other amazing places around, worth exploring in many single daytrips. York is lovely too and with the Metro the beach is less than half an hour away from Newcastle central. I, personally, enjoyed joining a buddhist group for meditation once a week to balance out.

Did you find Northumbria University welcoming? Was it easy to fit in?

Staff is very welcoming, always willing to help, and most students won't care much whether you're from a different country or not, because nearly everyone comes here from somewhere else to do their studies. So it's a nice bunch of multiculturals sharing their views on life and everything.

What have you enjoyed most about coming to Northumbria University?

Not only was I able to dig deeper into the studies that really fascinate me and met inspiring teachers, I also learned many new things about myself with all the offers Northumbria has, e.g. the amazing Sports Central, which offers so much that even the laziest couch potatoe would find something of interest.

Who has inspired you most at Northumbria University?

Most inspiring I found especially two teachers of mine - Jackie Collins and Linda Taylor. Thank you, you really have broadened my horizon and pushed my self-esteem! Truly inspiring, however, were also the friends I made here from all over the world and who would engage in great cultural debates and shared laughter and tears!

What is your favourite place on campus?

I have three favourite places: Lipman Theatre, the Climbing Wall, the Northumberland Café.

What is the best thing about your course?

I loved the lively debates we had in 'Watching the Detectives', because every point of view was valued equally. In 'Contemporary Performance Practice' we learned to bring something extraordinary to stage that no one could have thought of before, but was so close to us personally.

What are the most valuable lessons you have learnt to date?

'Right' and 'Wrong' are a matter of perception grately shaped by one's culture.  No one is more right or more wrong than the other.

What do you want to do in the future? What skills have you learned/improved that you think will be of most use in your future career?

At Northumbria my interest in devised theatre work was born and I hope to be able to do more of that in the future. As it isn't too popular in my home country yet, I might return to the UK one day to join a modern theatre company. Also, I was asked to return for a PhD. It's in the far future, but I do not space out that idea just yet.

Have you taken up any opportunities to travel with your current course/undertake field trips? If so, please tell us about them.

I have only participated in two uni-trips to theatre performances elsewhere. But staff would organize that very well, always keeping us informed via email, and uni actually supplied the minibusses taking us there for free, which I think is great.

If you could offer some advice to students thinking of coming to study here what would you say?

Don't even hesitate - study at Northumbria University!

How do you feel you have changed as a person since being at Northumbria University, Newcastle (e.g. confidence)?

I have definitely learnt to be more tolerant as cultural differences can be really fascinating.

If you had 3 words to sum up your time with us what would they be?

Communicative, well-equipped, pretty.

Would you recommend Northumbria University to a friend?


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