Kellie's student experience

Kellie from the USA talks about her life at Edinburgh Napier University.

Kellie Elhai, BA (Hons) Film

"Although back home is where my passion for the industry first sparked, it's here at Napier that it's cultivated."

I am currently studying film here at Edinburgh Napier University. When I tell people in my course that I'm from Los Angeles, I often get asked why I came here, of all places, to study film when I come from the home of Hollywood glitz and glamour. Studying internationally amidst a different culture and industry standards is a fantastic way to learn how to be open-minded, flexible, and a good team player, which is especially important in film. 
 
What I especially enjoy about my course at Edinburgh Napier is how practical and hands-on it is. We are constantly handling equipment and doing shoots, so I'm learning about the production process by taking part in it. There's also a different feeling to the film industry here versus Los Angeles-it's more realistic to make a career out of it here, as it's less glamorised by the media. I enjoy the challenge of getting to know iconic Scottish films and television shows, and learning how they shaped the digital landscape into the industry that is present today.

"My experience with the University has been really positive so far!"

Setting up accommodation from back home before I flew over was such a relief to be able to do as I feared that I would have to go privately and run the risk of being scammed. However, there was plenty of room in the student accommodation for me! 
 
Getting adjusted to the Scottish style of university was a bit of a challenge for me, as they do a lot of things differently than I'm used to. On top of that, I have requirements for my home university that needed to somehow match up with what I'm doing here, but international teams from both schools have been helpful with explaining to me whatever I need help with. One thing that surprised me the most about university here is how little time I spend in an actual classroom! I only attend classes 3 days a week, and most of the work is done in groups outside of class time.

Tips from our students

If you're thinking about joining Edinburgh Napier University, read advice from our international student ambassadors.

"Edinburgh is absolutely breath-taking and not just because of the cold weather!"

My favourite part of the city is how easy it is to get around. Whether it's by bus, tram, or taking a stroll, it is so easy to explore the city, and trust me, there is plenty to explore. The old historic buildings blend seamlessly with vibrant parks and mountains scattered throughout the town. Whether it's a walk or a hike, Edinburgh never fails to deliver beautiful surroundings. 
 
Despite all of the fun activities I've participated in and the friends I've made, adjusting to a new country has had its difficulties. The pressure of needing to have "the best time of your life" is felt from friends and relatives back home, when in reality it's not the most healthy or cost-effective experience to go out or travel every single weekend. I've been working on coming to terms with the fact that I am actually living here, and need to take care of myself like I am, rather than being in the mindset that I'm on a yearlong vacation. 

"Once I finish my exchange year here at Edinburgh Napier University and properly cry about having to leave this amazing city."

Once I graduate with a degree in Television, Film, and New Media, I hope to enrol in a page or internship program with a film studio or network, such as Paramount Studios or NBC. From there, I want to see where my film experience takes me, as I do already have experience working in the industry. 
 
As with any job or internship, international experience on an application is a huge plus. It shows that you are flexible, determined, and independent. Especially within film, my time studying the scene here in Britain can make me more attractive to British shows and networks such as the BBC. If all goes as planned, studying here in Edinburgh will unlock another important part of the industry to me. 

 
"I wish I had known that I would not be alone in these feelings!"

Sometimes it can be tough to put yourself out there and make new friends. Every international student experiences them at some point, and I'd let any prospective student know that sometimes it can be hard, but reaching out is so important! 

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