SHE was born and raised in Bulgaria and is preparing for a new life in Japan but for Lili Prodanova there is nowhere on earth to compare with the place she has called home for the last three years: Leeds.
Lili is one of 250,000 young people in higher education in the West Yorkshire city which was this week named as the sixth best place in the UK to be a student, alongside Sheffield, which also made the top 10.
Leeds has long been a magnet for students from around the world who are drawn to the city by the calibre of its seats of learning and the reputation it has as a welcoming destination for young people,
“It’s an amazing city, I absolutely love Leeds,” said Lili, 22, who is approaching the end of her fourth year of a degree in International Relations and Japanese at the University of Leeds. “From the first day I arrived it felt so right. I love it so much I persuaded my sister to come over and study here.
“It’s a lively city that’s always got something going on. You could never be bored in Leeds.
“Everything is in walking distance: the city centre, the campus and lots of accommodation are only five minutes away from each other.
“I have applied to do a Masters in Japan but I know I’m really going to miss Leeds. There isn’t anywhere like it in the world.”
The annual Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey polled more than 15,000 undergraduates on 21 areas of student life, including the structure of courses, quality of the library and community atmosphere.
Here are five things that Lili loves most about being an undergraduate at the University of Leeds:
“I’m a dancer and being a member of my dance society has enabled me to make so many friends. There are hundreds of societies, something for everyone.”
Walks on the river
“You don’t have to stray too far from Leeds city centre to find lovely walks. The canal and the river are great places to get away from it all.”
“I love hiking and having the Dales on your doorstep is a huge bonus.”
The Student Union
“The union does so much for so many students, they’re a great help to everyone. Leaving home is never easy but the union is always there to make sure students settle in.”
“There’s a huge number of bars and clubs across the city, and the nightlife is just amazing. I like live gigs and some great bands play live in Leeds.”