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13 Reasons to Study in Cornwall

13 Reasons to Study in Cornwall main image

By Jenny Scott Russell – Local Leo

Before moving to Cornwall to start my bachelor’s degree at Falmouth University, I had only visited the county as a child on family holidays. So even though I knew the course was right for me, I had no real idea of what living or studying in Cornwall was going to be like. Luckily for me, it was nothing short of amazing! I ended up having an incredibly well rounded three years there. My time was jam-packed with trying new things, meeting new people and making the most of everything Cornwall had to offer. Looking back, I can’t recommend studying there enough, but I’ve managed to narrow my top reasons down!

1. Falmouth and Exeter’s beautiful shared campus

Falmouth and Exeter shared campus

The only shared campus in the UK, Penryn is a hub for creativity and research. The facilities are modern, the library’s open 24/7 (no doubt you’ll end up pulling an all-nighter there at least once!) and The Stannary bar serves great food all day. You can also wander down through the gardens, past the orchard and walled garden to the Koofi café for delicious coffee and cake. First year accommodation is on campus too which makes getting to class on time a breeze!

2. The party scene at the FXU

Campus party scene

Not only is the campus shared, but so is the student union. The Falmouth and Exeter Student Union (FXU) hosts parties all year round and these are where I made some of my best memories at university! The Garden Party is a must to end the year on a high. The FXU societies enrich student life in Falmouth and offer great opportunities to make friends and try new things. I especially enjoyed being part of the International Society, which focused on cultural exchange and sharing traditional food from our home countries. The Sailing and Climbing Societies also kept me busy, alongside signing up for FXU foreign language courses.

3. The high percentage of international students

International students

International students make up a large proportion of the student population in Falmouth. There are endless pros to having a diverse campus but most importantly, it means you’ll have the opportunity to make friends with people from all over the world (and eat lots of international food!).

4. The stunning Cornish coastline

Cornwall coastline

You don’t have to love the outdoors to appreciate how stunning the Cornish coastline is. I spent as much time as possible walking in the most remote areas, often spotting seals, dolphins and even basking sharks in the beautiful, turquoise waters. You can easily get to Land’s End, the most south-westerly point in the UK, from Falmouth as well as Kynance Cove which is spectacular on a summer day. If you like to swim and have picnics it’s perfect. Bosigran and Sennen Cove are also top locations for traditional climbing, for the climbers amongst us! 

5. Surf culture

Surfing in Cornwall

The surf vibes in the south-west are strong, let me warn you! Cornwall’s north coast is one of the most popular areas to surf in the UK. Watergate Bay is perfect for beginners with reasonably sized waves for learning on or for body boarding. If you fancy a couple of lessons you can head to Newquay where there are plenty of surf schools to choose from. Or you could wait for the universities to organize discounted sessions!

6. Falmouth Town

Falmouth

Falmouth is buzzing all year round thanks to the large student population. The bars and pubs that line the high street offer plenty of opportunities to unwind after a long day at university! My favorite place was Beerwolf Books, a book-shop-come-pub. It’s the coziest place to hang out in the winter, while in the summer you have the pier and docks to enjoy. There are also endless food options, my favorites included the Meat Counter for delicious burgers, Cribbs for the best Caribbean food you’ll find in Cornwall and Fuel for hangover curing breakfasts.

7. The outdoor recreational activities

Cornwall outdoor activities

The options here are endless, but some of the best outdoor activities I tried while studying in Cornwall included kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, coasteering, snorkeling, archery... ok, you get the idea! Most of these I tried for free through the university, but you can also outsource for even more options. If you’re already adventurous, Cornwall is perfect for you. If you’re not a big fan of outdoor sports then you can get involved with the university allotment, going bird watching or checking out the open-air cinemas!

8. Cornwall is a reasonably cheap place to live

Compared to the rest of the UK, Cornwall is a reasonably affordable place to live. This always goes down well with a student budget especially when you don’t have to compromise your quality of living to save a few pennies. I got by on a tiny budget while living in Falmouth, but you always have the option of finding a job, which universities are happy to help you with.

9. You can day trip to the Isles of Scilly

Isles of Scilly

In under three hours by ferry you can be in England’s beautiful archipelago, the Isles of Scilly. Uncrowded, unspoilt, and boasting amazing subtropical plants and sandy beaches, it makes for a perfect weekend away, island hopping and relaxing in a landscape that could easily be mistaken for somewhere in the Mediterranean. There are five dark sky reserves, lots of beautiful places to stay and amazing restaurants to try. This is a must do while studying in Cornwall and an amazing benefit to living in the south-west.

10. The countless National Trust and English Heritage sites

St Michael's Mount

As a student, you’ll never have a free weekend. And this is even more true when you live in Cornwall because there is so much to see. From Pendennis Castle to the Lost Gardens of Heligan, I remember feeling spoilt for choice. You can reach most places via public transport and get discounted entry for being a student. There are amazing museums to explore as well, my favorite being the Tate St Ives. You can also tick The Minack Theatre, Eden Project and St Michael’s Mount off your bucket list!

11. You’ll enjoy plenty of seaside town festivals

Cornwall festivals

English seaside towns are notorious for their traditional festivals and the International Sea Shanty Festival is one of Falmouth’s best. The Beer Festival and Oyster Festival are also big events in the year and both great fun. These types of festival are authentic and unique, giving a real feel for old Cornwall. The Cornish culture is strong and the locals are very proud of their history. It shows in events like these, and you won’t want to miss them.

12. And Cornwall’s bigger festivals

Boadmasters Festival

Masked Ball hosts three festivals throughout the year, the most popular being for Halloween. It really is a festival like no other, the theme this year being American Horror Story! In fact, they describe the festivals themselves as “immersive, multi-level party kingdoms”. Boardmasters is slightly more mainstream but just as fun. The line-up is always amazing, and the combination of music, surf and beach life is characteristically Cornish, so it couldn’t be more perfect!

13. You can study in one of the UK’s most popular holiday destinations

Cornwall

Cornwall is one of the UK’s most popular holiday destinations for a reason. The subtropical climate, incredible beaches, warm(ish) water…I could go on! Its universities are also both at the top of their fields for research and student satisfaction. So, having the opportunity to live and study there, potentially for three years is ideal! You can’t go wrong. My three years in Falmouth felt like an extended holiday and I loved every second.

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Written by Jenny Scott Russell
The author of London-based travel blog LocalLeo.co.uk, Jenny travels the world while working full time in the UK fashion industry. She has a passion for vegan street food and outdoor sports and in 2015 moved to Austria on an Erasmus exchange. She has since graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Textile Design and has visited over 25 different countries.

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