Placement blogs

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

Une formule - a meal deal

📥  Politics, Languages & International Studies

I’ve been eating at bakeries for lunch recently to show my friend a nicer way of eating than the various bland pastas I usually eat for lunch, and I’ve learnt the French version of a meal deal (une formule) usually consists of:

A baguette or pie

A drink

A pastry

It’s like Greggs but maybe even better !

When in France, bake a Camembert

When in France, bake a Camembert


Intoxication alimentaire - food poisoning

📥  Uncategorized

I had to learn this word to explain to my housemates why I was sick… My friend and I went to this strange little restaurant since it was the only one with more than two veggie options, and I ordered mussels (can hardly say the word) and it gave me horrendous food poisoning, with pretty bad timing considering I’m supposed to be showing my friend around and taking her on a night out. Would not recommend. Maybe vegetarian people have a point…


Une cabine - a changing room

📥  Politics, Languages & International Studies

Une cabine is a word for a changing room. It sounds obvious when you think about it.

The reason I learnt this is because I had to go clothes shopping because the weather has dropped to about 18 degrees and it’s too cold and I need jumpers and boots. I’ve adapted quicker than I thought!



📥  Politics, Languages & International Studies

Similarly down the food line, I looove bavette and it seems really English to me. It’s chips and salad that comes with a thin steak and it’s cooked sooooo good and covered in this onion gravy and wahhhh it was so nice.

My friend arrived on Thursday (I’m writing this in the future because I’m lazy and don’t update my blog every day so I’m not sure if this counts as last Thursday or not xo) and it’s super nice to show her everything but a right pain to find a restaurant with a decent menu that isn’t a pizza restaurant or a pasta one. Frustrating but I guess the food is good wherever!

I topped my meal off with cheeky fondant

I topped my meal off with cheeky fondant

Bavette - a cut of beef that's really tender, with onion gravy

Bavette - a cut of beef that's really tender, with onion gravy


Pont l’évêque

📥  Politics, Languages & International Studies

This isn’t a word but it’s my favourite cheese so far since I’ve been here. I’m trying to save my money before my friend comes to visit but I sometimes let myself have a little cheese and this one is truly the best! My housemates are lovely and the French ones all share out our cheese bread and wine with me so we can have cheese feasts whenever we want!


*blows raspberry*

📥  Politics, Languages & International Studies

I’m feeling better, silly year abroad nerves. I remember how nervous I was before coming though, so I want to reassure younger years that IT WILL ALL BE OKAY!

Something weird I’ve noticed is that French people blow raspberries a lot when they talk. It’s usually when they’re taking about something that doesn’t really matter or something that they’re not quite sure of. So for example they could say “I could have my wine in a box or a bottle or *raspberry* I don’t really care”. It’s a full-on committed raspberry though, and everyone (mostly boys admittedly) does it!


Gamberger - to ponder

📥  Politics, Languages & International Studies

Today was kind of harder than most, I think I’ve been doing too much constantly and I’ve burnt myself out. I get hardly any sleep here and I think it takes its toll sometimes but it’s part of the year abroad, just like having ups and downs I guess. Even though I know how incredibly lucky I am to have this experience it’s human to feel a bit down sometimes, for whatever reason. I think I need to not take the people I have here for granted and when I feel lonely or sad, I should know I can go to them. But I’m sure it’s just tiredness so sleeping it out is probably the answer.


Training Commences: Placement is Real

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📥  2016-17, Psychology, Uncategorized

Ever since I was 11 years old I can remember being dead set on becoming a Clinical Psychologist, someone who helps those with mental health problems. For the past few years I have been collecting as much experience as possible, volunteering with Suicide Awareness For Everyone - raising awareness of mental health in secondary schools and at university volunteering with Student Minds to help run a support group for students with low mood and depression. All of it leading up to my placement.

SO I am living the dream, or at least I hope to be.

This year I am working as an Honorary Assistant Psychologist with the Lifetime Service at the Royal United Hospital in Bath, helping to support children and their families with life limiting illnesses. I hope it will give me the opportunity to learn if I am suited for such an intense and emotionally demanding job as a Clinical Psychologist.

I have just finished my first week! Yay! I thought it would never arrive after having problems with checks and induction training dates. But here I am!

Most of this week has been taken up by training courses. There is so much to learn about the company and how I can help support others. I have learnt about Dementia and how people with the condition are eventually robbed of their latest memories, often becoming trapped in a past time so that they no longer recognise their loved ones. We watched a harrowing video entitled 'Darkness in the Afternoon' where a beautiful 20 year old woman in a red dress strolls down a street and ends up being chased and harassed by an old man. In reality this woman is actually 80 and is wondering around the town in her nightie, the old man is her husband who is trying (poorly) to get her home. For me this was shocking, especially as two of my family members have now been diagnosed. It taught me that you should try to live with their 'mental time' and not assume they remember what actual time period it is. With the lady in the film clearly believing she was 20 and not 80 years old.

I also learnt about delivering first aid, such as choking, to individuals with learning difficulties. For this group they often do not understand that if they are choking their carer is trying to help them by delivering back blows, all they think is that it hurts. So it was really interesting to learn strategies that will help me to apply my knowledge to this group, taking into account their disability.

I have only had two full days at the Lifetime Service so far! In my first I learnt about delivering Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, which aims to help improve an individual's well-being by mindfulness and making small actions that aim to help the individual reach their main value in life, i.e. to be social or healthy. This was fascinating as so many other types of therapy may overlook the need to personalise therapy, for example one individual might feel their main value is to get a good education, not necessarily to recover from depression -the doctor's value. ACT is all about working towards this value through small actions, which here would include addressing the depression so the person can go to school or university. By taking the individual's main value into account the therapy seems so much more engaging to the patient.

I was then told about a research opportunity I can take part in, which aims to investigate the impact of having a child with a life limiting illness on the parents mental health and how the support provided by Lifetime and other care packages impacts the parents well being. I am so excited to be a part of research that hasn't been investigated before, I can't wait to get fully stuck in.

As cliche as it will sound I have found myself feeling truly grateful for all the opportunities I have been given to take part in so far at placement. Although a lot of it has been training, meetings or organising work, it has all been so eye opening and informative. In the coming weeks I am sure it will become more challenging and hands-on.

Here's to another good week!


À huis clos - behind closed doors

📥  Politics, Languages & International Studies

À huis clos means “behind closed doors” which I learnt during a cinema screening of Juste La Fin Du Monde I watched today with friends which was so French and really strange but quite good in a weird way. Nothing really happened in the film but I think it was more of a film to ‘explore life’ rather than entertain. Then we headed back to our friends who starts his PHD in nuclear fission tomorrow which is quite cool. I love his apartment and wished I’d found one like it but it’s impossible to unless you know people here. We went for a walk in the park too which was really cute, Aix has so many different types of places nearby, I’m lucky to live here!


Le facteur - the postman

📥  Politics, Languages & International Studies

I was woken at around 10am after a late night by the “facteur” (postman) who was delivering me a huge box containing a bunch of flowers from my boyfriend to celebrate being together for six months. This made my day before it had even begun, and at the same time restored my faith in the French postal system.

I spent the rest of the day getting to know my new housemate better and spending time with my other ones shopping, and I got a drink with my friend as we tried to see Juste La Fin Du Monde at the cinema but couldn’t get in. I spoke to my family and friends at the same time and started planning their visits to me.

It made me realize that even though I’m far away from the people I care about most, they’re still near and support me and look out for me. And I know it sounds surprising but I have huge trust in this long distance relationship! I think it’s important to be grateful for what you have even if it’s not near you at the time, and today I really truly was grateful for people’s kindness and love. I am also stunned at how welcoming people have been here to integrate me instantly into their friendship group, doing wonders for both my French and level of social ease here; I don’t feel at all isolated, both from French friends and those at home. I really have faith that it’s going to be a good year and it’s not down to me but the people who surround me, near and far.

Soppy moment done for the year, but it’s as an important part of moving away as any other.


facteur1 facteur2