Stephanie’s international placement was a life-changing experience

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Physiotherapy student, Stephanie Joy Evans, talks about her once-in-a-lifetime experience of her clinical placements in Rovaniemi, Finland.

The land of Santa Claus

Stephanie Joy Evans

UWE Bristol’s Study Abroad made the unimaginable my living reality!

Moving to Finland, the land of Santa Claus, to complete two physiotherapy placements was beyond my wildest childhood dreams.

Waking to wild reindeer outside my window and sleeping with the glow of the northern lights peeking through my curtains, was certainly a unique opportunity.

Horse riding through Lapland’s famous woodlands, camping in its wilderness and swimming in its vast lakes; I’ve never felt so close to nature. All this, alongside my degree. I assure you, I can now spell phenomenal!

New opportunities and challenges

Sometimes it’s easy to think that your normal is the only way of life, but this experience exposed me to completely new opportunities and challenges that I never thought I would face.

It’s reinforced the idea to me that diversity needs to be embraced, not just with people, but also in workplace practices.

We can learn so much more if large groups of people collaborate together, sharing ideas and professional opinions, with enthusiasm and respect.

Using this approach, we can make positive changes to healthcare, driving an ambition forward with the goal being to provide the highest quality of care possible to those who need it.

Teamwork drives change, but a team celebrating diversity, strives towards positive change for all – I know which team I would rather be a part of.

Embrace the unknown

This opportunity has urged me to embrace the unknown, welcome change and challenge and to remain optimistic in all situations. In healthcare, these skills are assets to overcome the daily complications that so commonly arise.

My confidence in my ambition to strive forward, to achieve my career aims – to create the greatest possible impact upon those in need – has strengthened.

This experience has given me the courage to believe in myself and my ability to make my goals a reality.

The development of my non-verbal communication skills has progressed to beyond what I originally thought possible. Leading exercise classes independently and motivating individuals through their rehabilitation, without any common language, has advanced my use of facial expressions and body language in physiotherapy practice.

A priceless learning opportunity

This learning opportunity has been priceless and upon returning to my next clinical placement, I plan on progressing my ability of reading and responding to a patient’s body language. I will achieve this by associating a patient’s spoken words with their use of body language, which I can then apply if an absence of language becomes present in my future career.

This opportunity took me far outside of my comfort zone. As an individual with limited international travelling experience, the idea of moving abroad for any length of time was a daunting thought. However, this trip has taught me the wonders of diversity and encouraged me to embrace differing cultural traditions and ways of life.

My appreciation towards planet Earth has grown enormously. My aim upon returning to the UK is to reduce the negative impact that I make upon the planet and to encourage others to do the same, in aid of the whole ecosystem.

Advice to other students: Just go for it!

What are you waiting for?!

Just apply and think about the practicalities and logistics later – filling in that application form will be the best decision that you ever make!

Don’t think you’re not good enough, because you are! Just go for it!

I applied thinking – I would never be chosen – and here I am now, in my third year of university, having travelled for the past three months – funded and everything!

I wish I had known

Unfurnished means no curtains! Turns out the midnight sun literally means the sun never sets, meaning that I lay in broad daylight waiting for the possibility that it might just set – even for a minute! It didn’t, so I lay and watched the birds outside of my window wondering if they ever slept and how they maintained their energy levels!

Once in a lifetime opportunity

My lasting impression from this once in a lifetime opportunity, has been to actively encourage both myself and those around me to take a leap of faith into the unknown.

As long as the experience is approached with optimism, an open mind and a hard-working nature, your personal and professional development will progress far beyond what you could ever imagine.

A truly phenomenal experience that will stay in my heart forever.

How the experience has changed me

This experience made me realise that life is made to be lived and enjoyed, so I’m going to face challenges head on, with a drive to reach my career ambitions.

There are so many people in this world, all with different stories to tell, and I want to work in the most multicultural environment as possible to expose myself to new learning opportunities. I feel like the hospital is the best place to start!

Find out more

Find out about the benefits of going on placement from Francesca

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Francesca tells us about her fantastic placement with Sony.

Hi, I’m Francesca and I’m studying BA (Hons) Marketing Communication Management at UWE Bristol. It’s a fantastic course and one of the great aspects is that it includes a placement year. I secured a placement with Sony from July 2016 – July 2017, where I worked as a Trade Marketing and Channel Communications Executive. Going on placement is invaluable and I wanted to share my experience with you.

From day one, this was very much a real job with real responsibilities. My role involved creating communications such as newsletters, webinars, an SMS service and emails. I also got involved in monitoring sales, producing reports and supporting customers. I was impressed how much I was able to get involved in as a placement student. It was a little daunting at times, but I loved the opportunity to gain real experience.

The best part of my placement was working for a multinational corporation for the first time.

“Names don’t come much bigger than Sony so I was excited to be a part of this global brand. “

And I had some fantastic opportunities during my placement. I worked with colleagues across Europe, attended meetings in Paris and Malaga as well as trade shows in London and Bristol. These experiences brought my placement to life and gave me a better understanding of the business.

My advice to anyone going on placement is to take all opportunities that come your way. Remember to put yourself out there and network. Be proactive and ask questions. Take responsibility for your own learning, and you’ll get the most from it. And it’s normal to feel nervous, I certainly did. But everyone knows you’re on placement and they’re often happy to help – you just need to ask.

Going on placement has increased my confidence so much as I’ve gained new skills and experience. I’ve become more organised, which has been useful in my final year. And I now also understand the business world far better – I’ve had first-hand experience. I’m confident working with people at all levels too having learnt how to articulate myself well. In fact I’ve become a different person since the placement and I’m sure it will help me secure a great graduate position. I can’t recommend going on placement enough – you won’t regret it.’

Learn how students support each other through the Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) scheme.

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Elizabeth tells us about being a PAL leader. What it is and how it’s helped her make friends and grow in confidence. PAL stands for Peer Assisted Learning and is a scheme where students support each other throughout their studies.

Hi, I’m Elizabeth and I have been a PAL leader throughout my second year here at UWE Bristol. I used the PAL scheme during my first year and found it a really good way of helping me settle in and get to know people. It was good to talk to people who had been through it already and learn from their experiences. My brother had also been a PAL leader before me and so it was something that I really wanted to get involved in.

As an academic PAL leader I run a range of study support sessions. These are timetabled and group based and can be attended by students from all years. I run workshops to help students with academic skills and guide them to get any other support they may need.  Other PAL leaders run sessions to help with emotional resilience and careers and employability.  We make the sessions fun with interactive activities and games, so they’re a great way to get to know people.

We get to design the workshops based on our own experiences, along with help and support from staff and the senior PAL leaders who are in their third year. We find that workshops are particularly busy just before exams  where we talk a lot about coursework and how best to prepare.

Being a PAL leader has really increased my confidence. You are responsible for making sure you get to the sessions on time, sticking to deadlines and deciding what to talk about. I’ve also developed my presentation and organisation skills and used work based tools such as power point, which will look great on my CV.

I’ve made lots of friends through being a PAL leader. It’s a great way to widen your circle and get to know new people.  You get to talk to staff around the University which is a great confidence boost and it’s great fun as well.  I really want to become a senior PAL leader next year and would recommend getting involved in this scheme either as a leader or for the great support and advice it offers you.

Find out more about Peer Assisted Learning

 

 

Share Dan’s experience of running his own business venture

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Dan talks about the practical and hands-on nature of his course at UWE Bristol .

Dan is in his first year studying BA(Hons) Business (Team Entrepreneurship) . He takes us through what it’s like to set up and run your own business ventures in a risk-free environment.

“You just have to look and you’ll find opportunities here.” Dan

From working collaboratively to how the facilities at the Bristol Business School are supporting his ventures, Dan shares his experience as a student at UWE Bristol.

Beth’s tips for transitioning to university

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“You’ll make friends so easily, I promise you.” – Beth talks to host Mikey about transitioning to university.

Say hi to Beth. Beth is in her second year studying BA(Hons) History and she talks us through her experience of leaving home for the first time and how she adapted to university life at UWE Bristol.

Beth provides tips on what to pack, tells us what living in shared accommodation is like, and explains how people helped her to settle in.

Experience UWE Bristol through the eyes of our students

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Welcome to our student views blog

Choosing where you want to spend the next three years of your life – or longer – isn’t easy. So you need an opinion you can trust. You’ll want to hear from the students who actually study here.

Our eager team of students have joined together to tell you about their experiences of living and studying at UWE Bristol.

Through a series of podcast, blogs and short films they’ll tell you about the whole university experience in their own words. From the clubs and societies they’ve joined, to living in Bristol and the accommodation and facilities on offer here. Find out how they felt about coming to university at the start, the challenges they may have faced and the advice they have to offer.

Keep an eye out for regular posts and articles designed to help you experience UWE Bristol through the eyes of our students and give you an insight into what it’s really like to study here.