Author Archives: amrita


About amrita

Hi my name is Amrita Bains, I am in my third year at Aston University studying psychology! I am currently abroad doing a research placement in Rio De Janeiro for 10 months at PUC.

The End of One Chapter is a New Beginning

Well my time in Rio is almost up…eight days until I make my way to Galeão International Airport for my 14 hour flight back to Gatwick! Of course I will be crying for at least 10 hours on that flight and perhaps the other 4 I will try and sleep, who knows, wish me luck.

When We First Arrived!

When We First Arrived!

But coming to the end of this experience has made me reflect on everything I went through, from getting accepted on to the placement, planning on to coming to Rio and most importantly being here and I am so glad that I decided to do a placement even though I was so scared of going abroad, to learn a new language and culture and to actually be put in a professional working environment that’s related to my degree but the outcome of this placement year I can happily say has been so beneficial, I am very thankful to have this opportunity given to me.
Your placement year will be one of the most memorable experiences of your life whether you are going abroad or even staying in the UK, you will grow professionally and personally as a person, I made life-long friends that I never knew existed, my eyes had opened up to different cultures from across the world as well as learning more about Neuropsychology and how to carry out my own research, safe to safe it has been a busy year no wonder it flew by so quick!

But now it’s time for me to say goodbye to Rio De Janeiro (for now of course) and make my way back to the good old West Midlands to complete the final year of my degree and eventually graduate! Even though it’s sad to bye to this home its comfort to know that I have made friends all over the world (which means more couch surfing and travelling for me) who will always be a part of my heart as well as my memories (I mean I can’t really forget about them, there are too many drunken pictures of us together on Facebook) but now I feel as if it’s time for me to move on and see what the next chapter of my life is!
For all you second year students who are now getting ready for their placements, honestly it will be one of the best years of your life, you’re going to love it! Remember even though you’re going to work or even study, make sure to have fun, go out and meet new people, don’t be afraid and enjoy yourself! And good luck guys, I know you will do great.

This is Brazil

This is Brazil

Okay so I’m going abroad…now what? Well Poppet, this is the start of YOUR adventure!

Right well my year abroad is slowly but surely coming to an end! Okay I know I have about two months left (well 8 weeks and 4 days but whose counting?) and to some of you who are reading this now you are probably thinking “come on Amrita that’s ages” well guys in 8 weeks and 4 days I am meant to be back for the “British Heatwave”, not sure if that will match up to the Rio weather but we’ll see, I have some faith. Anyway with this little time left I am doing what everyone does best, reminisce about the time I got accepted on to this placement and realised that I will be living in a different part of the hemisphere for a year, with a bunch of people who I never knew existed.  I still remember the excitement, the happiness and feeling of euphoria BUT I also remember the little mini-breakdowns and panic attacks I had…they weren’t that pretty and involved a lot of wasted mascara.

Anyway what I am trying to say is that I know exactly what you’re feeling right now, even if you’re not going far or even if you’re doing a placement in England that’s only 30 minutes away on the tram, either way most you will be having mixed emotions because it’s so different to university, no waking up to lectures or late nights at the library, instead you now will be waking up to make it to your desk at 9am without dying from that dry-mouth after having those regrettable 3 tequlia shots the night before (it happens to the best of us), it’s a big step to adulthood which is super scary but even today, doing a placement is one of the best life decisions I have ever made.


Let you friends go on holiday! Welcome Girls

Lets have a mini-story time…so going back many months ago when I found out that I got accepted to come to Rio for one year, I will be honest when I applied for the placement I didn’t think I would get it but I thought “hey why not, the worst thing they can do is say no?” clearly I am very positive person.  Anyway once I found out I got accepted I literally thought “oh my god, how am I going to tell my parents” you see my mother and father are very supportive yet they are very protective of their beloved child.  So I told my mother a few weeks (let’s try 3 months) after I got the yes and her instant reaction was no, I was not allowed to go, Rio is too dangerous and known for the wrong reasons but after a month of begging and learning more about the country (finding websites that said mainly positive things about Rio) and also learning that Sophia is coming with me, she give me the yes to go, well now are you thinking did I tell my father? The answer is no ladies and gentleman, I decided to leave that to mum whilst I went bikini hunting. Anyway at the beginning of when I learnt that I would be coming to Rio I was full of excitement to start this new adventure, to see a new part of the world and to be somewhat independent.  But then around three months before I left for Brazil the fear in me kicked in, I would say to my friends how I am too scared to go, to leave everything and everyone for one year because I was scared of change, I was petrified! I mean me? Living in Rio? In Brazil? I struggle to make a decent cup of tea in the morning, living in Rio seemed a bit too out of my league but from the support of my university, friends and most importantly my family I made it this far and I have not regretted one day since.


Even the Parents loved Rio in the end!

Doing a placement abroad really opens your mind to new things and new experiences, I have felt and done things which I never thought of doing let alone even have a chance of doing it.  My advice for anyone who is going abroad is don’t give in to that fear, you are a lot stronger than you think and you will be ready for every challenge that comes your way, and I mean personal challenges too, by going abroad not only are you developing yourself professionally for a career in the future but you will go through many personal changes, you will experience all sorts of things, from going out of your comfort zone, making friends from all across the world and even falling in love with people who eventually in a few months will no longer be your next door neighbour but all these experiences the happy ones and the sad ones will each be one of the best things to ever happen to you and that’s what you have to look forward to! Embrace the change in your life that’s going to happen, be prepared for the adventure, it will be a story you will never want to forget, if I could go back in time this is exactly what I would tell myself, that there is nothing to be scared of, you have all the support from your friends (old and new), your family and even your professors (abroad and at home), everyone is pushing you to succeed, you have nothing to worry about! Now go buy that camera, you have a lot of memories to make…


Family all over the world #Argentina

Friends, Amigos, copains, amici…Call it what you want Friendship is the same in every Language.

 “Sometimes you meet a person and you just click-you’re comfortable with them, like you’ve known them your whole life”- Alexandra Ardonetto

Vamos Começar (lets start)…

Class in Session

Class in Session

Firstly and foremost I have finally made my return to PUC, I finally stopped travelling (for now) and carnival feels like a lifetime ago and I have now returned to a desk with a book and pen, oh the joys.  Anyway returning to PUC means I have started my Portuguese classes which aren’t as scary as I thought they were going to be, of course my initial thought was ill be in a class where I don’t know anyone, in a university I don’t really know and (to top it all off) I’m in a country which isn’t my own, these are pretty intense negative thoughts right? Well soon as I quivered my way in to class, I assure you I was ready to run out that door (I had a scene playing in my head as if I was a cartoon and would leave a Rita shape hole though the door because I wanted to run away that fast) but instead I decided to sit in the corner of the class…okay I know that wasn’t the bravest thing to do but hey at least I’m being honest.  Okay so I’m quivering in my chair and ready to play the part of being the uncool person you see in those teenage American films but when it came to the crunch making friends with the people in my class was still awkward but it wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be, so long story cut slightly short, you’re going to be nervous for your class but I promise everything will be okay, want to know why?  Because everyone that is sitting in that classroom with you is literally feeling the same thing as you because they are in the same situation with you, so these awkward and scared feelings actually help you make friends (weird right?).  Making friends will be easier than you think, and you will be surprised with the people that you meet and the best thing is that you are going to meet people from all over the world and eventually some of those people will feel like your family and that’s one of my favourite things about doing this placement abroad, I met people who I never knew existed but now I have a little foreign family and the support you get through these people is indescribable, but here is the bigger bonus boys and girls, you can drag them along you with when you want to travel and that’s exactly what I’m doing, me and three friends are travelling to Sao Paulo to the Lollapooloza Festival.

Oi Sao Paulo!

Oi Sao Paulo!

One of the best things about doing a placement abroad is that you are able to widen your contacts as well as your friends list on Facebook, so one thing I do suggest for everyone to do before they go on their placement is to make a LinkedIn account, if you haven’t heard of this it’s basically a more professional version of Facebook, you can keep in contact with new contacts (mainly potential employers) and people can view your recent work/career related activities.  Overall I think it’s a good idea to make an account which allows you keep in contact with the professional people you meet without them viewing what you were up to last Saturday night.

Want to know how to survive in a City that never sleeps? You don’t…you learn to balance!

Okay so my supervisor (Daniel) has returned from his trip in Italy and we all know what that means, of course back to work I go! Although I will admit, I would rather return to a placement in Rio rather then returning for a second term with new modules (probably still drunk and disorientated from New Year’s too), is this another reason to do a placement abroad? I think so.

Anyway as I mentioned in my previous post, February is also a really important festive month in Rio  and that’s because it’s time to celebrate the world renowned event and that is of course *Drum Roll* Carnival! But this also means its time I learn how to balance work and manage a social life at the same time, and I’ll tell you one thing, films make it look so much easier than it actually is, even if my snapchat story begs to differ.

Masquerade anyone?

Masquerade anyone?

Right back to Carnival, this was like a once in a lifetime event for me (although I make it my life mission to see it again because funnily enough I don’t think just seeing it once will rest well with me), I finally got to see the cultural side of Rio and coming together of different nationalities for this event, you really get to meet some interesting people ( and I don’t just mean the weird drunks on the street) from across the globe and actually get to experience what Rio is actually all about.  So what did I do? Here they have events called “Blocos” these are basically street parties, people selling drinks and food in the street, there is a lot of music and of course a lot of Brazilian dancing, and I promise you, these guys can really dance! So I attended some of the Blocos mainly in Copacabana and Ipanema, stayed quite close to home but wow, people know how to party here and it just didn’t stop and to be honest I didn’t want it to either! But of course Sophia and I purchased tickets to see the Carnival parade in the Sambadrome too, which a part of me didn’t actually believe would be as amazing as Sophia said it would be (I know guys, I was completely wrong), but the costumes, the music and especially the atmosphere was unforgettable, sitting in this stadium from 9:00pm to 3:30am watching all these performances, everyones hard work and seeing all this talent was truly amazing and to be honest it is something I will forever appreciate seeing, seriously if you guys are wanting to travel around February time and really have got no clue where to go, I am telling you book Rio, don’t even think about it just do it. Please.



its almost like Disney magic

its almost like Disney magic

So here’s the difficult part, with my supervisor making his return, so did my work and responsibilities, which meant I had to add a new word in my vocabulary, balance.  Yes balance really is key, you can be anywhere and do anything but remember your responsibilities, its hard but so worth it when it comes to the crunch.  I guess this is more of the hard thing of being abroad, you eventually feel like your time is so limited being in a world you just want to explore, that it can be easy to forget why you are actually there in the first place, so how did I do it? I organised myself, which if you guys saw the state of my bedroom you would realise that’s not my strongest quality (I’m sure I’m not alone with this confession), so I planned my week, I also contacted my supervisor to see what my tasks would be before I return to PUC.  My main task being at the moment conducting a literature review of psychological research for him, looking at different papers regarding virtual reality and mood induction, grouping records and finding themes within them to see what has been found in this field so far.  I was able to organise days I had to work and then plan the days I wanted to party with my friends, and it  actually worked! I can say at times it felt like I was sacrificing a good night out but it was worth it, so here’s one tip I have for you guys, when on placement you just have to pick and choose your parties, it is super beneficial in the end, you get a reward, for example when you realise you have completed a lot of your tasks, you can plan a weekend away to Florianopolis with some friends you met at Rio Carnival, sounds good right? I think that’s what I am going to do next anyway.

Its easy to make new friends everywhere

Its easy to make new friends everywhere

Its January so time for Exams? Oops I mean it’s time to travel (Benefits of Working Abroad)

January is when exam season is right? Time for that last minute cramming right? To remember that one little important thing, in that one lecture you were hungover in right?  Well luckily for me, January in Brazil (well in PUC anyway) is still another month of vacation! Normally for students they don’t have to come back until March (I know, come on England I think you need to reinforce this rule), anyway students come back in March due to February being the month of Carnaval, another big holiday, so the Portuguese classes for me don’t start until March.

Anyway luckily for me and Sophia (another Aston student who got accepted on the placement) our supervisor, Daniel, is away on a business trip in Italy until February, so we also don’t have to go back until then, so with all this spare time, what would be the best thing to do? That’s right, let’s go travelling! See what Brazil has got outside of Rio!

Sophia and I went to a state called Salvador which is located in the north of Brazil, and what an experience that was. It was wonderful to experience another culture which Brazil had to offer, here the culture was more African influenced and it was amazing! We got to see many beautiful things such as “Igreja Senhor Do Bonfim”, a local church where people come and tie colourful bands and make three wishes (loved the positivity in this place) and a town called Pelourinho, where Michael Jackson had shot some of his music video for “They don’t care about us”, a monument was made in his honour.  But one thing that truly made my trip, everyone was preparing for carnival! This mean’t that everywhere on almost every street people where practicing their dancing, playing the drums for their set, so almost everyday we got a free show! What more can a girl want aye!

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One of my favourite things about doing a placement abroad is that I feel you learn more then what you’re supposed to learn on your placement or what you learn for your degree, you gain a higher insight of the world which I truly believe can help you develop as a person, there are a lot of personal benefits.  For example I believe that once I return to England and update my CV, I will be able to add more than just “Did a research placement in Rio”, I developed other skills such as learning Portuguese, pushing me to enhance my Spanish skills, developed my communication and problem solving skills, which are a lot of positive things you want to develop.

Welcome to Rio! Neuropsychology Placement

I never knew or even expected to do a placement in Rio, especially in a field that I have a huge interest in! Hi my name is Amrita Bains, I am a third year Psychology Student at Aston and I am currently doing research in the field of Neuropsychology alongside a professor in Rio De Janerio.  I started in my placement at the beginning of October and I have to say it is one of the best decisions I have made.  Being a research assistant is not actually as boring as it sounds, I promise, but to come in to a new country, with a completely different culture and different way of life was eye opening and has made me grow as a person, which I believe is one of the personal gains you get from doing a placement.  I will be here for 11 months but during the year I will have time to travel and actually experience South America, which again is one of the biggest benefits of going abroad, you can travel, meet people and gain a whole perception of the world, which I’m still experiencing and I am still so grateful for

Okay, so this placement is part time (16 hours per week), this includes lab work and also some classes at the university.  So PUC is the university where my placement is, and every year they advertise for an Aston Psychology student to come out and work alongside a researcher but also to take some Brazilian Portuguese classes, now I know what you could be thinking “I have to take classes, maybe this placement is not for me”, well even I was in two minds about the classes but they are actually so beneficial as not many people speak English here, so it was really good for me, also now I can proudly say I can speak enough Portuguese to lead a normal life as I would in England.  Also the classes, they don’t contribute to your mark for your placement year, so there is no worry there!

rio 1275