Jude Goussous

MLA in Landscape Architecture

Jude200I am currently doing my masters in Landscape Architecture, previously I did my undergraduate in the same subject also in The University of Sheffield. However, before starting my masters I took a year out and did a year in industry, working in an architectural firm for just under 11 months. Prior to coming to the UK I lived in Jordan and went to school there, completing the IB (International Baccalaureate) diploma at the Amman Baccalaureate School.

From the onset of my university application process Sheffield stood out to me as a very engaging and vibrant environment to be in, reading about all the different activities the university provides, and the setting of the city itself, being within a short distance from the Peak District was very appealing to me. As for my subject, the Landscape Department in Sheffield has been ranked among the top landscape schools in Europe; when I first looked up landscape architecture Sheffield was among the first to come up, it was evident that they provide a vigorous course structure, great facilities and teaching by world-renowned professors. During the application process I applied to 3 other universities but Sheffield always seemed the most attractive to me both for the course and also for the many activities provided.

Landscape at the University of Sheffield exposes you to the pioneering ideas in the industry because many of our tutors and professors are leading the research in the landscape world. A lot of interesting projects and experiments happen just on our doorstep, in and around Sheffield city. As many of our design projects are located around Sheffield or on its outskirts we get to spend a good amount of time outdoor carrying out site visits, which is always great fun and helps you get to know all the different areas and aspects of Sheffield!

From the very beginning, the course is structured to get us ready for the real world, working on many practical and live projects is very interesting but most of all the department makes sure to include professionals from practice in our tutorials so you get a balance of the academic and practical opinions which is quite a valuable asset, and a wonderful opportunity.

Personally, I found the university teaching methods quite engaging, and comprising the perfect balance between lectures, interactive seminars, group work and individual submissions. The nature of an architecture course is more hands-on and more engaging than just a succession of lectures, we spend longer hours in the studio and have a close relationship with our tutors, which is something that I really appreciate. Other than the lectures to your individual modules the university assign a personal tutor whom you have to meet with at least once a semester and go over your academic progression but you also have the chance to discuss any personal issues or difficulties you are facing, and they will help you through it or provide you with the relevant options.

The University of Sheffield provides the whole package, it has an education standard that has proved to be great, putting the university on charts world-wide. Additionally the university ensures their students get involved with a lot more than just lectures, it gives you the opportunity to develop yourself as a person, becoming the best version of yourself. A well-rounded individual equipped with the right skills to face the world of employment. All that while having the best years of your life, being involved in activities you never thought you would do and socializing with people from all over the world.

The students union and the hundreds of societies we have are definitely among the best things life at the University of Sheffield has to offer. The union instantly makes you feel like you belong, just by involving yourself in different societies you get to meet wonderful people that make university years the best. Sheffield, I think is a great city to be in because it’s no too small and it’s not too big, you can find whatever you want here, any crowd of people you want to associate with, and constantly keep trying new things! This is my fifth year and I’m constantly finding new places to go and new people to meet.

I have got a lot of plans for the future mainly inspired by the many speakers that have come to our department form the world of practice to tell us about what they do. After graduating I would like to gain some experience for a few years, maybe in the UK. However, my ultimate goal is to have my own socially oriented landscape firm in Jordan, implementing all that I have learnt in Sheffield and helping my country develop and improve.

I know this is something that you might hear a lot, but always remember that when you first arrive, everyone is in the same boat! Whether they are home or international students, everyone has moved away from home and is trying to start a new independent life. As you manage your workload, involve yourself in as many activities as you can, you might choose to focus on a couple later on in the year, but to start with, try new things and improve existing skills. By joining different activities you start meeting people you have things in common with, and you find the people that are going to change your university experience! Don’t be shy, just say hi!