Placement blogs

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

Pédaler dans la semoule

📥  Politics, Languages & International Studies

I can’t remember how this came up but I was having a quiche my housemates made and they asked if I had an English equivalent to this. We don’t have a literal translation but it means “to go around in circles” in a kind of pointless way. Could be a lot said for that today…


Verano nunca termina

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📥  2016-17, Politics, Languages & International Studies, Uncategorized

Location: El Puerto de Santa María, España.                                     Day 141

Being so aloof, I realised I never mentioned what I am actually doing on my year abroad in my previous post. For the first six months, I am working for Spark Languages, a language school in Andalusia which does Spanish classes for adults and English classes for children. Most people would put two and two together: languages and school environment= look's like she wants to be a teacher. Funny enough i don't want to nor am I teaching but actually my emails are signed Poppy Millar, Spark Client Attention and Administration (Fancy I know).

The novelty of working for a small business is you can see how your attitude and impact affects others and why taking iniative and being pro-active is rewarding in the long term when you have returnee clients, successful school group trips and plenty of positive and personal feedback from clients. I have never worked in a setting like this before and I have learnt so much all ready. On the surface, I could never exceed my bosses expectations because they set the bar so high, I'm already up in the clouds and still haven't reached it. This, however, does not mean they are unfair, in fact they push me and this experience will guide me for the rest of my working career. I have always looked up to my dad as my role model but Inge and Doug definitely take 2nd and 3rd place in terms of work ethic and dedication. On top of everything, I have picked up some teaching on the side and am currently teaching 7 year olds the difference between 'are you ___?' and 'have you___?'. Spanish niños are just the most adorable munchkins ever but after one class I am exhausted by them. There is never a quiet moment around here but I love it.

Apart from working all day everyday, my life abroad continues to exceed any idea that existed before I moved across the pond. Endless warm summer nights (even in Novemeber!), fiestas and really recognising the Andalusian culture as something truly special- I don't know whether I'm just lucky or if this is reality. As much as I love being a student and enjoying everything #unayyyyy has to offer, I also love living this new independence. Working 8 hours Monday to Friday really puts into perspective this 'living for the weekend' vibe. By Friday, I am impatiently waiting for the clock to turn 6:30 and then I'm freeeeeeeee! Also knowing I just have over a month and half left of my time here in Spain, I am desperate to see everything I can! These past two weekends have been Andalusian adventures: hiking in the Sierra de Cádiz, exploring the pueblos blancos of Arcos and a last minute getaway to the gorgeous city of Granada- which in fact BLEW MY MIND.

I think I have finally got the hang of this so called 'Year Abroad' and if I could, I would make it a life abroad. We shall see...

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"Plus" vs "plusse"

📥  Politics, Languages & International Studies

Today I spent my time revising again and working on an assignment and looking into potential career options (scary)

But I also procrastinated by looking up the difference between pronouncing the “s” in “plus” or not (shout out to the bro that brought this little piece of language fun to my attention xoxo)

So this is what I found:


Plus de (+ noun) e.g. Plus de travail – meaning more, if there’s confusion*
Before a vowel
When it means plus e.g. 2 plus 2
At the end of a sentence, if the meaning is “more” (davantage)

Plus de (+ article) e.g. Plus de la moitié de français
Negative expression (ne… plus)
Before a consonant or even
When it can mean “more” and there is confusion*

When it means “more” (can be substituted for “davantage” in French) and there’s no confusion
*confusion =

“Plus de travail”can either mean more work, or no more work…


Essaim - swarm

📥  Politics, Languages & International Studies

More useful information - The French don't have half terms but they do have a week before Halloween called Toussaint. I used this time to go home for a family event.

Today I unpacked from coming back from England, did some homework and revision for a test on Monday and had dinner and watched a movie with two housemates. One let me loose on his Tinder account, and I learnt an interesting amount about French girls on tinder; some good, some bad, but very entertaining. We watched a classic 60s French film and started talking about social media, because my friend found an app called Swarm and he wanted to know what it meant in English. I then learnt the word “essaim” which means a swarm.


One Month In of a Lifetime.

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📥  2016-17, Psychology

This week marked one month since I started working at the Lifetime Service at the Royal United Hospital in Bath. The Lifetime Service aims to support children and their families with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions through an amazing team of Clinical Psychologists and Nursing staff.


In my first month here I have learnt so much. I have learnt how to conduct an audit and have since analysed the psychology referrals to Lifetime. I have also started to carry out an audit from scratch, looking into how many complex cases the staff manage through designing a questionnaire to see what types of complex cases are most common in the service and also the use of mobile tablets to enter patient records. This has taught me really valuable research skills which are great for providing experience for my Clinical Psychologist application in future.


I am also helping to run a research project by the Lifetime Clinical Psychologists which is looking into the psychological impact of having a child with a life-threatening condition on parents and how that impact is influenced by having a care package in place. I have created drafts of the consent, debrief and risk assessment, giving me a solid grounding for when I start organising my dissertation.


I have also learnt that working with children promotes a whole different range of therapeutic techniques than you would see in an adult. Instead of trying to work it all out in their heads the team use apps on tablets and diagrams to help the child make a picture of their thoughts that they can then explain and be treated. In children you would also be more likely to use a family focused technique, such as systemic therapy. Here you do not see the individual person experiencing difficulty as the only one who needs 'fixing', instead you look at how the family functions as a whole and how they might exacerbate or worsen the individual’s issue. Together they work towards creating a better environment and well-being for the whole family. Creating long lasting change and addressing issues that might have arisen in other family members as a result of the individual's behaviour or concerns. An amazing alternative to person focused therapy.


In addition to this I have learnt more about the variety of ways Psychology is used in the health service, it is not just used for treating mental illnesses! Did you know that Clinical Psychologists are also involved in the diabetes service to encourage children and adolescents to take their medication, even though they are terrified of needles? Did you know that Clinical Psychologists help to support families as they come to terms with the loss of a child? Or when they find out that they will likely bury their child?


I have discovered that Clinical Psychology is so much broader than I thought possible, with endless applications. I am finding out about areas of psychology that are less in the public eye but just as important to the well-being of their patients. It has made me so pleased that I decided to choose a placement that was not directly in the area I felt most interested in, if I had I would probably have never discovered the wide range of things Clinical Psychology has to offer.


But perhaps the best experience this has given me so far is the time away from constantly studying, so I can see who I am as a person and enjoy some of my early years before continuing the long slog to being a Clinical Psychologist. The most memorable event: Taking part in RAG's Zombie Apocalypse for the first time in three years. Update.... I probably would survive a zombie apocalypse (it must be all The Walking Dead training).

And this is why placements in Bath should never be underrated!


Mignon tout plein - totally cute

📥  Politics, Languages & International Studies

Today I made my housemate a birthday cake and gave him his card and decorated the flat for when he came home. He really liked it and nearly cried and I get on with him so well so I was really happy. My gateau moelleux thingy wasn’t quite as good as the one I ate in the restaurant but that’s okay…

I went home to England today too and he came to have a chat and say goodbye properly and thanks for everything which I thought was really sweet. I’m going to miss France and my housemates and friends but I’m looking forward to England. I won’t write a blog post when I’m in England because I won’t be learning words there !



Gateau molleux

📥  Politics, Languages & International Studies

Very useful information: this ranges from anything from a brownie to a soufflé to a fondant consistency. But when I tried it at one restaurant in Aix, I ask myself why anything else was ever invented. Incredible !! It was a chocolate fondant with salted caramel interior and Chantilly ice cream and hands down the best dessert of my life.