Open Days…Again?

As we hurtle towards the end of the autumn semester I am reminded just how quickly my final year at UEA is passing. What particularly drove this home was a visit to another university this week to hear about their Medieval Studies MA.

I made the decision last year not to stay on at UEA for my MA partly because there isn’t a specialist in Norse literature here but also because I don’t think I would like to be here after all of my friends have graduated. However, looking around another university – even the University of York which is essentially UEA’s twin – felt a bit like a betrayal.

I travelled up to York last Wednesday (having to catch a train before 7 in the morning!) with a friend to attend an open day at the University of York. Walking around the city I was struck by its similarities to Norwich, the old alleys and wonderful independent shops, but it was when I reached the university campus that it began to feel uncanny. York and UEA were set up roughly around the same time and shared a taste for brutalist architecture. We both have lakes with iconic buildings on their banks and flying walk ways that create a feeling of having stepped out of the ordinary into something new and perhaps a little futuristic.


York’s Central Hall

York and UEA do have many differences however, whilst UEA forged ahead determined to live up to its motto Do Different, York chose to mimic older institutions and became a collegiate university (I don’t mean this is a pejorative sense) . Walking through the campus felt rather like seeing someone’s doppelgänger – you could see the differences but the similarities were striking.

I had a wonderful day up north. I love York for all the same reasons I love Norwich and if I got onto the MA there it would feel like a natural progression. I come from a medieval city, I’ve studied in a medieval city for my BA, so it would be great to continue that tradition during post-grad.

(If you happen to find yourself in York, after checking out the Minster and all of the amazing museums, make sure you stop by the Fudge Kitchen – it’s expensive but it will blow your mind!)

Obviously, I’m in the middle of it all at the moment but I hope to talk about my MA application process on here in the future as it seems to me that there are far fewer resources for post grad applications than there are for undergraduate.

As always feel free to message me with any questions you may have and if you would like a glimpse of life at UEA then you can check out my Instagram hjp_armstrong.

From Medieval City to Medieval City

The last week or so has been incredibly busy as I’ve been ricocheting between medieval cities along with all my bags of stuff (I think) I need for uni.

Of course it’s all been terribly exciting, I spent the last few days before coming back to Norwich in York where my medievalist tendencies could really run wild. Then I made the great trek south again to finally move into my new room!

York and Norwich are similar in many ways, both medieval cities with beautiful cathedrals and quaint side streets, but York has somehow tapped into the potential of their history more with lots of exciting museums (well, exciting to some of us) and a real sense of pride in their heritage. Which isn’t of course to say that Norwich doesn’t have any of these things, I just think that perhaps we haven’t reached our full potential – but then again it’s nice living in a relatively quiet cathedral city.

Despite the fact that I have an awful lot of reading to do before class starts next week I spent a good deal of time trawling through second-hand book shops which York has in plenty, and buying books which have tenuous links to this years modules.


This cafe had very dramatic lighting

I may also have stopped briefly to admire the York Medieval Studies centre, but only because I had to walk past it every day…

A girl can dream

A girl can dream

Besides being a weekend break it was also an opportunity to size the city up and start thinking about whether this was somewhere I could see myself living for postgrad study, to which the answer is definitely yes although admittedly it is still early days.

I’m now back in Norwich and properly in our new house which is both exciting and very odd. Having a living room is a strange luxury after halls and living so near to town means shopping is a lot easier, however it’s weird to come downstairs every morning to find your friends in the kitchen – it still feels a little like an extended sleep over, but I’m sure I’ll acclimatise soon.

My friends and I were walking across campus late at night recently, post start of year party, and my instinct was to head to the ziggurats rather than catch a bus into town. This got me wondering who was living in my old flat and wondering if they liked it. I remember that when I arrived the bare room seemed very austere and foreboding but it soon became my own, and I hope that whoever lives there now also falls in love with those strange buildings we call the terraces.

Fingers crossed this year is as good as the last!

The Minster is very grand, but I'm still a Salisbury lass at heart

I’ll admit the Minster is very grand, but I’m still a Salisbury (cathderal) lass at heart