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Alexander Furniss

MArch, former BA (Hons) Architecture student

March Student Alexander FurnissWhere are you from?


Why did you choose Northumbria University?

Family, friends and the quality of the University and its facilities.

What do you think of Newcastle and our region?

Newcastle and the North East are amazing. Newcastle’s got everything you could want as well as the vibe of a big city without the price tag. My favourite thing to do is to catch one of the live music acts at one of the bars in the city.

For such a compact city, it has so much to offer – there's so much culture and history wherever you turn in Newcastle. But above all it’s the warm and friendly nature of the locals that helps anyone fit in.

Did you find Northumbria University welcoming?

From the first moment I felt welcome here at Northumbria, there was no feeling of being left on my own to figure things out, and the social events and student facilities like the SU and sports centre make it so easy to meet people and make friends.

What have you enjoyed most about coming to Northumbria University?

There's so much I've enjoyed here it’s hard to pick just one, but being able to get involved with so many things around the University has been amazing, and the encouragement that the staff and your peers give you is great.

Who has helped you most since you came to Northumbria?

Having dyslexia, the Student Support and Wellbeing Service has helped incredibly with my work, and has also given me confidence in being able to pursue my ambitions within university and outside.

Who has inspired you most at Northumbria University?

The tutors have been some of the most inspiring people that I have known. They show so much humility that they speak to you on a personal level, as well as helping out in any way they can with their own research and skills.

What is your favourite place on campus?

The SU, no questions.

Have you joined any sports teams, clubs or been involved in any volunteer projects?

I have been regularly involved with the open days here, and it’s great to see people who were in the same situation as me five years ago being inspired to achieve more, and for me to be a part of that.

What is the best thing about your course?

The studio environment is great, the fact that we all work in here and bring out the best skills in each other is one of the reasons I love it at Northumbria. We work as a team and have all grown close as friends.

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

To believe in my own skills, but also to constantly pursue knowledge. One thing the tutors have taught me is that even though you have learnt something there is always more to learn, and that is not something to be afraid of but to be inspired by, to learn and keep learning.

What do you want to do in the future?

Ultimately I’d like to work in a firm that shares the same ethos as myself, but eventually come back to Northumbria to undertake a PhD and hopefully inspire the next generation of architects.

Have you worked on any projects with businesses or been on a placement?

As part of the course I got to work in some of the most amazing places and meet people who my work directly affected. It’s always great to see the reality from the theory work you do, and to put a face to who and what your work affects.

Have you taken up any opportunities to travel with your course?

For my placement year between my BA and MArch degrees I worked for a while in Sogndal, Norway and it was absolutely amazing. I was able to be involved in another culture and language, and I left having made great friends and work connections for the future.

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

If you want to come to Northumbria and think that for some reason you can't, you can!! As long as you have the determination to want to do it, you can make it a reality. There are so many people whose ambitions and dreams have become reality because of Northumbria.

How do you feel you have changed as a person since being at Northumbria?

Since being at Northumbria, I feel that I have grown as a person in so many ways, I feel wiser, not just in an academic way but as a person. When you’re 18 and people say you’re now an adult you think that at that point you should know everything, but when you become mature you realise that being an adult isn't about knowing everything, it’s about making a mistake and not being afraid to, and by doing that, you learn more. My time here at Northumbria has taught me many things but mainly confidence in myself.

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

Incredible, Inspiring, Motivational

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