Humanities & Social Sciences placements

Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences' students share their placement and year abroad experiences.

The winners of the 2016-17 blogging competition announced!

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📥  2016-17, Communication, Health, Politics, Languages & International Studies, Psychology

As our placement students are gradually returning back to Bath for their final year, it is time to announce the winners of our annual blogging competition!

The Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences thanks all students who dedicated their time to write so many fascinating and adventurous blog posts throughout the year they spent on placements both in the UK and all over the world. Their stories are a true testimonial of how challenging, rewarding and life-changing a year on placement can be. As a recognition of our bloggers´ commitment to report on their placement expecience, the Faculty has awarded following students a number on departmental prizes, and an overall Faculty Prize.

The Faculty Prize of £100 as well as the prize for the Best Health Department blog of £150 goes to Emily Fallon (Sport & Exercise Science) for her captivating and exciting blog posts from the South Australian Sports Institute (SASI). She spent her placement year supporting Australian Olympic athletes and discovering new talents in Adelaide.

Photo of blue sky and placement student

Emily and the kind of view you only get on a placement in Australia with SASI.

Charlotte Harris (Psychology) receives the departmental prize of £100 for her dedicated work as an Honorary Assistant Psychologist with the Lifetime Service (and a Cyclist of the Year) in Bath.

The Department of PoLIS awards Zoe Amador Martinez (French and ab ignition Italian) a prize of £100 for sharing her experience from her teaching placement in Fécamp, France as well as giving her fellow students authentic report from her Erasmus+ experience in Siena, Italy.

Group of students with Erasmus+ flag

Zoe and her friends on the Erasmus+ programme during their year abroad.

The next awardee of the PoLIS department is Katy Wallis (French and ab initio Italian). Katy spent one semester studying in Aix-en-Provence, France and the second in Naples, Italy. Katy also deserves a Blogger Dedication Award for posting every single day.

Natasha Jokic (Politics with Economics) spent her placement at NBCUniversal International as a New Media Research Intern. She met Jamie Dornan on the red carpet AND also receives the PoLIS departmental prize. Where do you go from there?

London Pride bus

Natasha and her NBCUniversal colleagues taking part London Pride.

Last but not least, Maighna Nanu (Spanish and Politics) also receives the PoLIS departmental prize for her adventurous and colourful blog from Guadalajara, Mexico. If you want to know how to get on a university-organised trip involving testing tequila, then read her posts.

Congratulations to all winners and thank you to all bloggers for their authentic and valuable insight provided to our first and second year students preparing for their placements. Soon, we will be also getting new and exciting reports from our current third year students. Do sign up if you're embarking on your placement year!

Written by Julie Fulepova, placement student and Marketing & Events Assistant within the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences.

 

Capilla del Monte and grub in my tum

📥  Uncategorized

Todays post will be focussed on my visit to Capilla del Monte which is a 3 hour bus journey away from Cordoba Capital. And secondly I love my food. A lot. So undoubtedly this is an important point to investigate while I'm here.

Capilla del Monte

My journey started early on a Sunday morning. It was a bank holiday this weekend so took advantage for a weekend trip. We arrived at midday and dropped off our bags in our quaint hostel before setting off on our walk to Las Gemelas (direct translation; the twins).

We trekked up the hill to a rest point and leisurely ate our lunch. Then we decided to hire some horses to go around the mountain. Mine was called Nochero (direct translation of Noche is night) as it was as dark as a nights sky. And thus we started clip cloppiting along. The views were particularly stunning as the light reflected of the lake. The mountains were sun bathed as we went through the narrow trail. At one point Nochero went off the path which is scary thanks to the unpredictable terrain of the mountain. As we went down steeply we had to put our legs out in front for stability and when going up we had to lean forwards. Overall it was a fun and exciting experience that brought out my inner Chinas (female version of a Gaucho).

On day two we journeyed to El Zapato (direct translation; the shoe) which is a rock famous for being the shape of a shoe. The surrounding rocks were a great viewpoint for the surrounding mountains.

We then walked to Parador El Paraiso (direct translation; paradise) which had a lucious river with some geese and sheep. Our trip ended here as we then collected our bags to get the bus home.

Why I need to return to Capilla del Monte: This area is famous for its special energy and the said aliens that accompany it!

Grub

Where to start¿¡ Lets start with the classics...and a basic introduction to Argentine cuisine.

Asado 10/10

The closest we have to it is a barbeque. But the Argentine Asado consists of pretty much just meat. In Argentina they use every bit of the animal. The equivalent of a Sunday Roast this is a very social activity and will take hours. In a future post I will go into detail of the different part that a asado consists of but for now just imagine mouthfuls of deliciously cooked meat. As a meat lover this was a kind of heaven but this is probably not for you if youre vegetarian...

Empanadas 8/10

These are little pastries filled with different ingredients. My replacement for a sandwich and a big part of my diet, I will eat different types of empanada almost every day. It´s difficult to choose a favourite but I like ones containting choclo (sweetcorn).

Criollos 11/10

These savoury little bread things (sorry my description is awful) are the joy of my life. I have to admit at first I wasn't a fan but now I wait for the 6.30pm merienda eagerly in order to devour my dear criollitos.

Mate 4/10

Admitedly this is not grub but such an integral part of Argentine food and drink, I couldn't miss it out. In every moment and opportunity the argentinians will pour the leaves and hot water and sip from the specially shaped metal straw. Not being a tea drinker did not help me accustom to this bitter drink. However this is such an essential part of life here that I think I will have to get used to it!

Fernet 6.5/10

Again another drink! Fernet is a herbal alcoholic drink which is mixed with coke. I did not find this Argetine alcoholic juice bad at all! It was bitter but quite alright!

 

Weekversary in Argentina!

📥  Uncategorized

Two days ago marked the weekversary of my move to Argentina! I have been met with new people, foods, behaviours, climates and much more! All these new experiences I will talk in greater detail in future posts however here I will focus on my whistle stop tour of Buenos Aires and dealing with homesickness.

Before moving to Cordoba to start my internship I visited Buenos Aires briefly. Here are a few things I got up to:

1.Plaza de Mayo

What is it?

Plaza de Mayo is a square named after the May Revolution of 1810, which started the process towards the country´s independence from Spain in 1816.

Why is it important?

This square has a lot of political importance throughout Argentinian history which I would recommend reading about however a particularly interesting little nugget of history that this square highlights, is the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo. Since 1977 mothers have congregated here every Thursdaz with signs and pictures of Desaparecidos [direct translation: the disappeared]. These pictures are of the "disappeared" children by the Argentine military in the Dirty War. Their wore white scarfs which symbolize the white dove of peace which can "unite all women". This symbol is painted on the square.

I recommend Plaza de Mayo as it is full of political and social messages.

2.Casa Rosada

What is it?

La Casa Rosada [direct transalation: the pink house) is the office of the President of Argentina. It is named so due to its pink exterior and is one of the most emblematic buildings in Buenos Aires.

Fun Fact

I read in my guide book that it is painted with a mixture of ox blood with lime!

My sweatied plane gear matched with La Casa Rosada!

3.Cafe Tortoni

What is it?

This beautifully decorated cafe was inaugurated in 1858. Famous for its art scene in the basement (La Peña) which was inaugurated in 1926. Among the visitors there were Jorge Luis Borges, Federico Garcia Lorca and Roberto Arlt.

I enjoyed some Churros con Chocolate (apparently a popular choice) while admiring "Poets corner" and the surroundings. However I must warn it is expensive and commercialised.

4.El Caminito

What is it?

This is an area of Buenos Aires that has a lot of character. It was started by immigrants who didn´t have a penny who used whatever materials they could get hold of to construct this neighbourhood. All the houses are very colourful as they did not have enough money to paint it all one colour. It is still very much a working class area as well as tourist destination which creates an interesting dynamic as many working class people resent the tourists and even try to spit on them as they walk past!

El Caminito is a symbol of the tango culture which developed in this port side neighbourhood and working class immigrants.

 

Homesickness

I am a person who gets quite homesick so it was no surprise that moving away for 4 months was going to be a challenge. This first week has been tough however here are a few things that have helped:

Social Butterfly yourself- I have the great fortune that not only have I met lots of warm and welcoming people but I already knew someone out there. This week I have been able to share my homesickness with people who are going through it at the same time as me as well as people who have already gone through it. The caring attitude I have recieved from many has relieved the homesickness greatly.
Busy Bee around- keeping your mind and body busy= less time to think about home. Being in a different country, everything is different, including shopping. I spent half a day exploring shops and supermarkets. I've found keeping the clogs in my brain chugging along has helped remove my thoughts straying to home.
Tick it off- setting yourself goals can generate a lot of motivation. When I am feeling homesick I find it difficult to achieve. Something that I have found that has really helped with my homesickness was having a to do list. Even more so having a calendar so that I can tick off the days and visualise journeys and events to look forward to and helps visualise my time here.
Home Sweet Home- personalising your new home helps give a feeling of permanence as well as bringing home memories as a comfort. Teddy bears are a great, Monica approved idea too.
The Internet generation- we are very lucky to be able to keep in touch with our loved ones so easily. And a few words with them over a video call can help calm a homesick self.
A new world- Writing a journal is a therapeutic way of dealing with homesickness as well as helping to document all the new experiences on this journey.
Well... I hope you have enjoyed my first post from this duck out of water and follow to get notifications of future posts or keep an eye on my facebook. Until next time, Ciao!

 

Light Up Shoes and Goodbyes

📥  2016-17, Politics, Languages & International Studies

Two days ago, it was finally time: laden down a heavy sense of sadness and three bags filled with DVDs, I left the NBCU building for my final time as an intern. However, I’m not entirely sure that it will truly be my last time there.

Initially, I applied for my Politics with Economics degree without a sandwhich year included. However, I quickly changed my mind after listening to former students’ experiences and switched courses within my first month (although my library card technically says that I graduate tomorrow). I know that the optional nature of the placement can be a challenging decision for some PwE students and I figured, as an absolute worst case scenario, that at least I would find out career I absolutely did not want.

Thankfully, that hasn’t been the case throughout the past thirteen months at NBCU. I applied for a role in the Research department because I hoped that it would give me insight into the workings of a large media company and the industry beyond. Without a doubt, he work I did in the Digital Research team gave me that. Through analysing networks’ websites, I was able to look into the performance of editorial content across different countries and consider what made a good article or video. With social media analytics, I was able to track the progress of company accounts and TV shows whilst gaining skills in reporting and presenting. Working with online transactional film and TV data made me consider how people like to consume their favourite content, with such a plethora of online options available. All of this  gave me day-to-day skills in industry standard software as well as the opportunity to attend conferences about the overall future of media.

My final lunch with the Digital Research team - where I received my stellar gifts

Throughout all this, I felt that one big question kept popping up - how do we make media continue to be engaging when technology is changing so fast? My placement has certainly given me a partial answer to this, whether it be through developing VR content or streaming events directly to Facebook live. I wasn’t anticipating to be so drawn in by the potential for media on different digital platforms, but what I’ve learnt already has inspired me to change the route that I initially wanted my career to take. I hope to continue to try and answer that question through a Masters in Digital Journalism, a step differing slightly from my placement in its focus on content creation rather than analytics.

Furthermore, I’m glad that I was able to undergo all of this whilst still a student. Whilst I’m sure the internship would have still been immensely valuable as a graduate, I feel that the placement has allowed me to gain a far clearer picture of my career options and will vastly improve my final year trajectory. I think it has added value to my degree and I would, without hesitation, recommend anyone to opt in for a work placement year.

The Research Interns' leaving drinks. Not pictured: amazing light up shoes.

Of course, all things must end - so on Thursday night the other Research interns and I hosted our leaving drinks and began to say our goodbyes. I was gifted a miniature drum kit for my desk, a pair of light up trainers and a collection of Keane’s greatest hits (apparently because I’m always so keen). Friday felt a bit like leaving school again; saying goodbye to all the people I saw every day whilst everyone wished me good luck for University. That being said, I know I’ll be seeing plenty of these people again (in some cases, at a BBQ in a week) and would absolutely love to work for the company again. For now at least, I know it’s the end of my placement year - and I couldn’t have wished for a better one.

 

Pride in London and Glitter Letters

📥  2016-17, Politics, Languages & International Studies

It’s safe to say that when I first marched at Pride in London three years ago, I never anticipated that I would spend the parade on a giant purple NBCU bus whilst singing along to the Universal Pictures theme music in the wrong key. As it turns out, the Universal Pictures theme sounds a little like the Star Wars theme if you sing it badly enough – a thing I discovered when dancing on said bus at Pride this weekend.

Can you tell we like purple?

My role on the OUT London committee meant that I was plenty busy for the company’s Pride week celebrations, which involved a panel on LGBT+ representation in the media, a screening of Atomic Blonde and a party held on the 10th floor of our office. I was largely involved with the latter, initially motivated by a love of glitter and a good dance. After our first party-planning meeting, we were initially anticipating a struggle to get 100 guests. We were greatly proven wrong when the sign up page reached the 260 person capacity fairly quickly.

This year's company Pride slogan - "Love is Universal" - but in glitter.

One of the main issues was getting decorations on a tight budget (relatively speaking, certainly higher than my budgets when I was organising for MusicSoc) and so I had to go a touch DIY, spending lunchtimes sticking glitter onto heart canvases (Art GCSE clearly came in useful) and getting my team to help assemble a 5 metre balloon arch. Again, such a scale of event planning wasn’t something I had anticipated happening within my placement, and it was daunting but ultimately rewarding. Highlights including drinking an LGBT cocktail (Lemon Gin and Blackberry Tonic) and getting some incredibly unflattering photos in the photobooth I arranged.

 

I am so glad that this sits on my desk to watch me during work.

For the parade itself, my main role was to publish content on the NBCU International Twitter and Instagram pages. Whilst this wasn’t the first time I’d tweeted from a company account, the sheer volume of content expected from the event presented a challenge. However, it didn’t get in the way of me handing out branded flags, having a dance on the top deck of the bus and generally having a fantastic day.

It helps when your colleagues are willing to model for you.

This was my first march with a company, but it was honestly wonderful to spend the day with the people who have been such a big part of my life in the past year. I was also able to bring my sister with me for her first Pride ever – I think her enthusiasm is best shown in a photo where you can’t see my face because she is waving her rainbow flag too strongly – which meant that it was also the first time I spent Pride with family.

The snap my coworker took of the bus - I am second to the right at the corner of the bus. At least I can tell it's me.

All of this makes me think back to my second blogpost where I describe seeing the bus at the parade last year. In particular, how welcoming everyone has been throughout my time here. This makes the fact that this is my last week before my handover period with the next intern (another Bath student – the best option, of course) a little strange to me. Things are quickly becoming “lasts” when it often feels like my time with the company shouldn’t be winding down. Throughout my blogs, it might seem that I overuse phrases akin to “time has flown by” but it feels like this past year has simultaneously been immensely changing yet gone by in the blink of an eye.

My next post will be when I’ve fully finished my placement and I’ll give more of a wrap up of Digital Research. Until then, I’ll be enjoying my final three weeks to the fullest!

 

Year Abroad VIII – final thoughts

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📥  2016-17, Politics, Languages & International Studies

 

Siena, Italy                                                                                        June, 2017

Ciao!

Today marks a month until I leave Siena, where I have been doing my Erasmus study exchange for five months as part of my Year Abroad. I’m getting all the feels. I don’t want to leave. And I’m thinking of all the things this year has taught me. Here are some of them.

The Year Abroad is more about improving yourself than improving a language.

I feel like there is a lot of pressure on the Year Abroad and returning with close-to-native language skills when the reality is a lot different. Not just because each one of us is doing different activities or spending it in different locations, but because achieving native levels just by immersion is very hard, even if you try to be as active and engaged as you can. If you’ve never spoken the language before, it is easy to track the progress: being able to order at a restaurant or sort out paperwork feels like a milestone. But when you are a language student and have been learning the language for a couple of years, improving in a way that is noticeable is hard. I personally don’t find my French to be much better than when I left the UK. I have definitely improved in listening and reading comprehension and have expanded my vocabulary, but not as much as I thought I would. So don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself and just have fun with it. Don’t be afraid to talk and make mistakes, but also don’t centre on having to improve continuously. The Year Abroad and life are more than that.

Siena will now have a special place in my heart.

Siena will now have a special place in my heart.

The best things I’ve gained this year are more confidence in myself and greater independence.

More than the language side of things, I feel like my greatest achievement this year has been to discard my shyness and put myself out there. I had to do that when I first moved to England for university and that already felt like a massive milestone. This year I’ve had to do it twice, in completely different countries and I’m proud of myself for doing it (introverts, do you feel me?). I’ve learnt to make mistakes without being embarrassed about it because that is how you best learn in this life. I’ve learnt that there’s nothing to lose by approaching new people, the worst that might happen is that they won’t be interested, but you will have given it a shot and have no regrets about what could have happened. If you don’t try, you’ll never win! I really encourage you to try to socialize as much as possible as, if I’ve realized something (more like, completely confirmed) this year is that it’s not about the place you are in - ok, it does make a difference if you are in a big city than a little isolated town but hear me out-, it’s about the people you meet along the way.

Fécamp was such a lovely place to experience France.

Fécamp was such a lovely place to experience France (also, I cooked paella for the first time!).

It’s the people you meet during this adventure that will shape your experience of the Year Abroad.

Clearly, the place you end up in will have a lot to do in creating a good or bad experience of the Year Abroad. If you are a very active and outgoing person and end up in a town in the middle of nowhere, it might not be the best experience. However, at the end of the day, it’s up to you to make new friends and meet new people (in and around the area), but also to choose who you want to become closer with.

Shout-out to Manu, Gillian, Moni and Liam!

Shout-out to Manu, Gill, Moni and Liam!

In France I was in a little coastal town in Normandy and my fondest memories will always be of those I met, be at the school or elsewhere. Parties at the Mill, funny classroom anecdotes, long evening dinners and exploring the town with the other two stagiaires.

Thank-you everybody for making my Erasmus a great one!

Thank-you everybody for making my Erasmus a great one!

In Siena this is even more relevant as most of my friends are other Erasmus students who, like me, are only here for a limited amount of time. My image of Siena is an image in which I’m enjoying the city with all those people I’ve met over the past five months, and that is an image that belongs in this exact moment and will not repeat itself, which leads to my next point.

Ancora degli amici a Siena.

Ancora degli amici a Siena.

Enjoy every moment and grab each opportunity.

The Year Abroad is all about new experiences and learning first hand, so it’s up to you to challenge yourself. Make a list or just head out of the door and explore. Try new foods, new hobbies, go to new places, talk to strangers, get out of your comfort zone. The Year Abroad is an amazing opportunity to push your boundaries – you get to live abroad and meet a lot of new people and you’ll learn to adapt to different lifestyles, so try to make the most of it. You don’t have to become a party animal if you’re the type who enjoys staying in for a chill night, but don’t miss out on events that attract your interest. I ended up joining the student newspaper here in Siena because I saw a recruiting event on Facebook. At first I wasn’t sure because I didn’t really want to show up on my own, but I pulled it together and went anyway and I’ve met a lot of cool people through it and improved my Italian!

I've joined a student newspaper, acted in a French short film and given an improv speech in Italian!

I've joined a student newspaper, acted in a French short film and given an improv speech in Italian!

That being said, you’re allowed to say you’re not having or didn’t have a great Year Abroad.

Hopefully this will not be the case, because it would be a pity, but everybody feels down and questions what they are doing with their lives at some point. Battling homesickness and culture shock is hard and sometimes (especially with the British Council Assistantship), you have no control over where you will end up. Maybe the idea you had of your host country doesn’t live up to your expectations, maybe you don’t really feel like you fit in. And it’s ok. You can ask for support if you need it, but honestly try to battle through. It’s also about being counteractive, especially in cities full of people or small towns. Perhaps it will only be a phase and it will get better, but you have to battle through in order to find out.

And, lastly, you will learn to value your own country.

I only started truly valuing the good aspects of Spain when I moved to England to start my degree. Things like the warmer approach of people in everyday life, the food I can find in the supermarket or the amount of daylight and sun we get throughout the year in comparison to the United Kingdom. Here in Italy I have learnt to value British education even further; oral exams seem like such an inefficient way to go about examinations when a two hour exam would save us all the hassle and long hours of wait for our turn. A lot of my British friends have told me innumerable times how they now appreciate the UK in ways they didn’t before: politeness, the punctuality of transport and efficiency of bureaucracy, just to name a bunch. You never know what you have until you lose it, right?

Thank-you again!

Thank-you again!

All in all, the Year Abroad is an opportunity to grow and have fun before the stress of final year and I hope to have captured that in my blog posts. Hopefully you will also fall in love with the countries that host you and perhaps you will be back after you graduate.

Year Abroad, you have been a great eye and mind-opening experience, you have taught me many things about life and myself and have pushed my boundaries, you’ve been a blast and I am proud to know I’ve made the most of it. Hope all of those embarking on their own adventure do too.

Peace out.

Zoe

 

End of a Lifetime

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📥  2016-17, Psychology, Uncategorized

Two weeks ago I finished my placement as an Honorary Assistant Psychologist with the Lifetime Service in Bath. After a tearful farewell to my colleagues with some amazing flowers for me as a thank you for all the work I have done, I have now started my summer job as a Personal Care Assistant for a PhD student with physical disabilities and have taken up some voluntary work as a Research Assistant at the University of Bath.

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As cliche as it sounds, I learnt so much whilst on placement and it was an amazing experience, even if it wasn't quite what I expected. I really enjoyed my placement and would recommend placement year and summer placements to everyone.

As this is my last placement blog I thought I would leave you with my top 7 tips for placement and beyond:

Time-to-Plan-H

1. Buy a Diary or Planner

When I first started my placement I recorded all of my meetings and events on my iPhone calendar, a perfect way to keep track of things as a student but not so much in the work place. Although electronic calendars are really useful, especially when you always have your laptop open and loaded, accessing them on placement when this isn't the case can not only be be slow but it can also come across as rude or unprofessional.

So buy an academic diary or planner for your placement year, you can get some really cheap ones on Amazon or some funky ones from Paperchase if you are going for a more upmarket look. Academic ones last for the university year, so you won't have to worry about buying a new one in January. I've found having a diary to be so handy that I have ordered one for next year too!

4-Questions-To-Ask-Yourself-Before-Starting-A-Business

2. Keep Asking

During your first few weeks at a new placement or job you may feel really confused and unsure. Don't worry! This is perfectly normal and employers expect you to ask a lot of questions during the first few weeks (and even after that). Once you know what you are doing you will have less questions and learn the best times to ask them, so no-one will get annoyed. You can only learn and get better at your new role if you ask!

Try to schedule times to talk to help answer your questions instead of just popping into their office every time you have a question as your supervisor and colleagues are likely to be quite busy. Even though they are happy to help it can be a bit difficult if they are answering a new question every few minutes after your first few weeks. I met with my supervisor once a week and then for the odd five minutes throughout the week to answer any questions about tasks I had been given and only spoke to her or other colleagues when I really couldn't do any other tasks without knowing the answer.

Help and support signpost

3. Supervision

One of the greatest resources whilst on placement is your placement supervisor. In your first and second years at university you may have turned to Personal Tutors, Peer Mentors or Lecturers for support. On placement you will still have access to these people and your department's Placement Officer but they will not be able to help you anywhere near as much as your supervisor at your placement. Try to meet with you supervisor at least once a fortnight to discuss any concerns you may have or even just to talk about tasks you have been set or need to be set. Before you go to your supervision make a list of all the things you would like to ask and of the tasks you have completed that week, this way you will be able to lead the supervision and will appear professional and organised. For me, supervision was where I picked up all of my tasks, discussed my development and asked about attending training or other opportunities.

Don't be afraid to say to your supervisor if you do not have enough work or are struggling with the workload or if you want something else from the placement! I was really nervous about saying to my supervisor that I found the workload to be too small and when I wanted to see if I could attend some home visits, when I needn't have worried. My supervisor was really nice and tried to meet everything that I asked for. Your supervisor wants to make sure you get as much out of your placement as possible, so unless you let them know that you would like something to change they will never know!

Supervision is also the time to start asking questions about your dissertation, such as 'Can I complete my dissertation here? If so, what kind of data could I have access to? Do you have any ideas?' It is best to find out as soon as you can if you can collect data for your dissertation whilst at your placement. Placement is an ideal place and time to collect information as most students are less busy, as work does not follow them home and so evenings can be spent working on this. Some placements also offer you a day or two a week to work solely on your dissertation, use this time to plan and conduct literature searches for it. If collecting or using data at your placement is not possible, you should contact the person in charge of the dissertation unit or your dissertation supervisor (if you have been allocated one) as soon as you can to discuss an alternative approach. Don't leave it until your final year to let your supervisor know that you really have no idea what to do!

to do

4. Become a Professional List Maker!

A handy tip that you will read about on nearly every placement advice blog is to make a list. This easy little thing takes so much weight off your shoulders and really is a life-saver! I spent a lot of my time at the beginning of my placement waiting for tasks, when I would suddenly be given 10 different tasks to complete at once. This was overwhelming at first but I soon adapted to the lull and rise of workload and managed to plan my time so that the work was spread out.

Take a notebook you've dedicated to your placement with you where ever you go and write the tasks you need to complete on one page each week. This way you won't forget anything you are told and will always have something to write on. You never know when something might come up!

When you are given tasks ask when the person would like it completed by, this way you can then prioritise your tasks so that you can attend to more urgent ones first. Try to plan out when you would like to complete a certain task by if you are feeling super organised! This way you can adapt even the smallest of workloads so that you have something to do every day and make the largest of workloads seem manageable. When you are scheduling this, try to allow some time to look back at the task later in the week, you will be surprised how many times you may be asked to change things on a document. This isn't bad, this is really normal and every professional will experience it.

read

5. Read the Placement Handbook!

Once you have started your placement, as a Psychology Student at least, you are asked to confirm your initial placement details. Once you have done this you are sent what will be the equivalent of a placement holy book: The Placement Handbook. This is specialised to your cohort's placement year and will provide you with all that you need to know about the year's assignments and also provide some useful tips for placement, our Placements Officer often had so many questions directed to her that were answered in the handbook so please do read it.

But remember, this handbook will be sent to whatever address the university has you down as, so make sure that it is being to sent to your address whilst on placement.

For students where their department does not offer a specialised placement handbook, the university does provide a really useful general placement handbook that provides some tips for placement and also offers an induction checklist which is a great basis for your first supervision meeting. Departments offering a placement year should have them at their Undergraduate Office.

save

6. Save Everything

This probably goes without saying but save everything that you work on in a personal folder and another relevant folder if necessary (NOT TO THE COMPUTER) and DO NOT DELETE IT! After I had finally finished a task and several months had gone by I sometimes felt that it was safe to delete something, however I soon learnt that an old audit questionnaire can make a surprise reappearance months after it has been completed. So do not delete anything without backing it up somewhere else. Having all of your things saved in one place makes it really easy for your colleagues (and you) to find a task you have been working on, it also can help you to see what you have accomplished during your time on placement, making writing those placement reports that much easier.

On your last day at placement you may be asked to clear out your electronic folder, so transfer tasks you have been working on to relevant folders or email them to relevant staff. Send anything about your dissertation to yourself and have a good hunt for any literature searches you have completed whilst on placement, you never know how useful they will be.

mobile-experience

7. Experience, Experience, Experience

Placement year provides an amazing opportunity to really discover yourself and develop your professional and personal skills. But, relying on your placement to provide you with enough experience to apply for any job or placement opportunity is not a good strategy. If there is one thing that my experience on placement has taught me, it is that no experience seems to be enough. A pessimistic truth of the era where the number of graduates is increasing with not enough higher-level jobs to meet demand. Gain as much experience as you can whilst at university through volunteering and paid work, no matter how small the opportunity may seem to help you find a good job after university.

If you cannot see any jobs or volunteering opportunities being advertised contact the organisations you would like to work with, you never know what they might say! As a third year student I was not initially able to take part in the Research Apprenticeship Scheme run by the University of Bath's Psychology Department but after taking the initiative and contacting as many researchers at the university in my area of interest I soon found three projects to help on, each providing amazing opportunities in different areas of Clinical Psychology.

 

 

Good luck with your placement!

 

 

 

Ciao, Napoli, e la fine dell'anno all'estero

📥  Politics, Languages & International Studies

It's time to leave! And what a year it's been...

This blog has been an amazing way of reflecting daily on the amazing and surreal experiences I have had during my year abroad and being able to look back on it in the future will be something I'll always be grateful for. It has had pretty high ups and pretty low downs, but I wouldn't change it for a minute. I have learnt so much and become so much more of a better person than I was before my year abroad, thanks to the amazing people and opportunities I have encountered along the way. I wanted this blog to stay very positive and enjoyable, which was an easy feat in France, but a few weeks into Naples I realised that it was a better idea to be completely honest about my experiences, even if they are not all smiles and sunshine!

France was the best 6 months of my life. The country, the food and the culture were amazing, but what made it incredible were the people. My incredible housemates, who went miles out of their way to help me fit in and make sure I always had a social life, will be people I have only been more grateful for since I have lived in Naples which is a completely different experience. Aix is the best city I have been to, and I will and do miss it more than I can say. I can't wait for when I return in the future, and hope I can see all the amazing people I met there again. Sure, sometimes things were mildly frustrating at the start with university admin problems, but these were barely problems, and even at the time I knew every problem I faced was outshined by the fantastic atmosphere of the city given by the people that inhabited it. Aix will always be in my mind!

Naples was a very different story. I always expected Italy to be more fun than France, although I don't really know why I thought this. There were times in Naples that I nearly gave up and left. But every erupting volcano, knife threat, pickpocket, harassment and university issue taught me something invaluable. While my housemate learnt how to be truly sassy and never let that city win (I'm so proud of her for this) I learnt to truly, truly appreciate every good thing that comes my way, and to stay positive after even the hardest, scariest day. Little things in Naples truly blessed me each day, whether it was one teacher at university giving me some long-agonized-over advice, a kind stranger out and about or even just the sheer beauty of the volcanic, historic, beach-side mash of cultures and language that is Naples. I am proud to say I got through everything it threw at me and am still smiling at the end!

So all in all, this year has toughened me up, but most importantly has taught me to be always grateful, positive and happy no matter what life throws at me. I am grateful for English culture, admin - even food! - more than I ever thought possible. And if I ever forget this life lesson, it is immortalised in my blog to remind me.

Aix, Naples... Ciao and au revoir!

 

Campi Flegrei

📥  Politics, Languages & International Studies

Campi Flegrei is the name of both the next metro stop from my house and the supervolcano that looms over the stop. It is beautiful but pretty scary since there have been articles in the news recently about how it is on course to erupt... Hopefully this will not affect our flights home and will not be worth worrying about! Italy and this region in particular is famed for the beauty of its hilly, volcanic land, but it can be pretty scary to think about what has happened to the area in the past due to volcanoes, and what is happening currently in the central region with earthquakes.

Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/campi-flegrei-supervolvano-eruption-vesuvius-naples-pozzuoli-christopher-kilburn-a7737886.html

 

Ma staje pazziann?

📥  Politics, Languages & International Studies

This means “are you kidding me” in Neapolitan, and crossed my mind today when my phone charger and laptop broke in the same day, then I burnt my thumb on the oven. To be honest I just laugh about these things now, if that is the worst that happens today then I’ll take it!

I’m looking forward to booking my flights home to England sadly, as much I am trying to keep this city in my good books. Too much has happened for me to totally love it here but it could be so so so much worse and I am well aware of that! The thing I dislike most is the loneliness, because I love talking to anyone and everyone and making friends, and that was my favourite thing about Aix but I can’t do that here. However, it makes me appreciate the friends I do have and all my amazing friends and family back home and in other places this year, they are all amazing and have helped me through some bumpy journeys this semester!