Tag Archives: study abroad

Towards The End of Placement

Almost a year on, and Placement is coming to an end… 🙁

I can definitively say it has been one of the best years of my life, and has really been a highlight of University so far. And to think I was questioning what the fuss about a Placement Year was all about!!!

Doing a Placement abroad can be very costly, depending on where you complete yours, but also on whether you’re working, or studying. However, it can also be relatively cheap, if you’re careful with your spending. I would not want any student, who has their heart set on doing a placement abroad, to be put off by the financial aspect that is involved. There are many forms of financial support available to students, primarily Student Finance, but also scholarships, and help from Aston. See what you are eligible for, and apply! These services are in place to help you, so utilise them. If ever in doubt about anything, just make an appointment to see the Careers + Placement Team, and air any concerns, or queries that you may have. They are very helpful, and will ensure that you are supported as much as possible.

As you start your Placement journey, do not forget to stay in touch will your friends from Aston, as you, or they, may be feeling a little homesick, and might want to speak to a familiar face. No one’s Placement goes smoothly for the whole year, but if yours is going well at the start, just remember that your friend’s might not be going as well, especially if they are working, as this could prove to be more difficult – physically, and mentally – than studying. So, just keep some sort of regular contact, so that you can exchange stories, and experiences of what has gone on so far.

Of course, they might not need any support, as their Placement could be going great. In fact, some of my friends are staying abroad for another month, or two, even after there Placement has ended, as they have enjoyed it so much.

loving madrid thus far!

Keep in touch with your family, so that they know that you are enjoying the experience of a Placement, but also to put their nerves at ease. Moving out, or living abroad can be stressful for you, but also for your family members, as they will be worrying about you non-stop. Whenever you get the opportunity, just allay their fears, so that they know that they do not have to worry about you so much. Although, if you are not enjoying any aspect of staying away from home, or living abroad, then let your family know, as there is always a solution.

Whilst on Placement, ensure that you keep on top of all your paperwork e.g. Erasmus forms, as problems with those documents will only add more headaches to your already hectic life! If ever unsure, just drop the Aston team an email. Personally, with my Placement coming to an end, I have reflected on the past year, and am so happy that I took this route. I know it will not be for everyone, but if you believe you could see yourself studying abroad, in an international environment, meeting people from all over the world, who will become lifelong friends, then do your research, and if you’re still interested – APPLY!!!

see you soon!

Till next time!

Mastering Madrid.

Greetings from Madrid!

I have now been studying here for roughly two and a half months, and have loved every bit of it. This post will mainly focus on what Madrid has to offer, so anyone aspiring to do their placement here, can receive a few hints, and tips of what might be in store for them. I will also briefly touch upon the finances of studying, and living abroad, as this is a big factor in the decision-making for most people, myself included.

Where to begin?! The University life here is somewhat similar to that of Aston, however, I found that there are some differences, mainly in the way you are examined, and in the way some of the courses are organised. First, and foremost, I got to choose my own modules here, something that you do not get the chance to do until final year, if you’re a joint-honours ABS, and LSS student like myself. This is something I feel is a benefit, as you are given more autonomy, and can focus on a field that you enjoy, or are good at, or both! At UC3M, which is the University I am studying at, there is a big emphasis on continuous evaluation, and mid-term tests. This is something we do not really encounter at Aston, but I have found that they are really not that bad, and can work out in your favour, as there is then less stress on you for the final exam.

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The social life is great, and there is so much to do. The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) team here are really helpful, and arrange some great events. You should sign up for the ESN card, it’s only €5, and it great value for money. I would recommend everyone to take part in the early events, as it is a great way to get to know people, and to learn about Madrid, and all of it’s hotspots. The food is unbelievably cheap – especially compared to England! Madrid really is a sports-mad city, so for any football or basketball fans that are planning to study, or work here, they will not be disappointed.

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Generally, the city itself it relatively cheap. Accommodation is cheaper than the majority of anything that you will find in England. You can purchase a travel card, which is €20 a month for students, and with that, you can travel anywhere within the region of Madrid, on any mode of public transport. Flights back to the UK are also quite cheap, so you can return home, if you need to. So, for anyone that wants to do their placement abroad, but is put off by the expenses, should really look into it, as Madrid is relatively cheaper than most other European capital cities, and you will be guaranteed to have a great experience.

Thanks for reading!

May Your Placement Be Interesting…

Hi again,

So my time in Finland is coming to an end, and it feels that it has done so at the perfect time. I have really enjoyed it thus far, but no place beats home! For students thinking of pursuing a study placement abroad, I would definitely encourage them to do so, but I would like to point out that, there will be some aspects that you might not enjoy to begin with.

When I first arrived in Helsinki, I knew that the Business School I would be attending – Aalto – had a great reputation. This made me wonder how it would compare to Aston, and how difficult the work would be. As Aston, the top five grades you achieve on placement from the modules you choose over the two semesters, contribute 50% to your overall grade for your placement year (the other 50% being two assignments that Aston set you, but we’ll come to this later).

In my first week here, all the way back in September, I had a lecture for a module called ‘Corporate Finance’, finance being the area I want to work in once I graduate. So, I was looking forward to it, more so than any of my other classes. When that first lecture finished, the only thing I could think, was what have I gotten myself into?! To say the content was tricky, would be a grand understatement. It was covering areas that I had never even needed to touch upon at Aston. Before I arrived, I had felt that when it came to the fields of Finance/Accounting/Business, I would be able to do the work to a very good standard, once I applied myself. This lecture took it to a whole new level. I’m happy to say that once I started revising (which was the second I left the lecture after seeing that), I got to grips with the module, and got some good grades for the assignments.

This situation would lead me to tell all prospective students thinking of studying abroad, to really research the University that they will be attending. I later got chatting to a Finn, who said that Aalto Business School really takes their Finance courses seriously (no kidding!), and their degree in Finance is one of the best in the world. I would not want this to discourage anyone from studying abroad, but just make sure what you know what you’re letting yourself in for. Not all of the modules will be difficult, I have completed some courses that are actually quite easy compared to some of Aston’s courses, so it won’t be a one-way thing.

I think you’ll find when you first arrive, your placement will feel a lot like a holiday. I believe this goes for work, and study placements. You’ll have a lot time on your hands, and will be visiting the sites, landmarks etc. Make sure you do all of this, as your placement year is supposed to be fun, and enjoyable, as well as challenging. This brings me to your Aston assignments, for students studying abroad, they’re sort of like a journal, with personal aims, and goals you have set yourself before your placement begins. I would advise you to start these as soon as possible, while everything is still fresh in your mind.

To finish this entry of the Careers+Placement Blog, I would tell all Aston 2nd years to apply themselves as best they can, while on placement. Moreover, you won’t enjoy every single aspect of it, but it is up to you to make the best out of the situation. There will be times where you’ll be having great fun – cherish those moments, and there might be times where you’re wishing you did something else for your placement – these times will swiftly pass.

Good luck with your placement search.

Reece.

Have fun!

Have fun!

Hasta Luego (See you later)

Hola chicos y chicas,

You are probably busy with exams and essays as usual but guess what?

It will all come to an end soon and we will swap places. You will be in Spain soaking up the sun whilst I’m in the UK depressed because of the weather 🙁 .

I’m kind of jealous now (I’m being honest) because even though it has been 9 months and I still have 3 left. I’m dreading leaving Seville. I have fallen in love with this beautiful and magical city and like I’ve said before I would marry Seville (I’m not kidding). As you can see I have loved my Erasmus year and I can confidently say that it has been one of the best years of my life. I know what you are probably thinking.

 

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I’m not even going to defend myself, I’m just going to let you go abroad and then we will talk when you finish your placement 😉 . As you can see, this blog post is kind of sad because that time of the year has come again. Time to say goodbye and I thought I would be the best at this because I’m already used to saying goodbye to people. I’ve had to say goodbye to my friends and family when I left Portugal, I’ve had to say goodbye to my family when I moved to Birmingham (I know it’s not that far away from Cardiff, but it still counts) and then when I moved to Spain. So, I thought “I will be fine when the girls leave, it will be like a piece of cake”.

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By the way, I did not cry (I’m not lying, ok) but it was hard to say goodbye to some of the best people that I’ve met. I think they have made my experience and influenced me a lot (not in a bad way, obviously, maybe). You would think, I would have to wait until June but no. It started in September, two weeks after I started my placement, I had to say goodbye to my older sister (which happens to be an Aston student). Two months later, I had to say goodbye to my princess, followed by my godmother in December, my twin in January, my annoying cousin in February and my next door neighbour in April. Everyone left me, literally, not even my Polish mentor stayed to check on my progress.

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However, I’m actually proud of myself because I thought I was going to cry a river, when my next door neighbour left. She was the last Original girl, they were all here when I was just a newbie and we kind of started all at the same time. To see them leave one by one was hard, specially the last one. Anyway, the moral of the story is, enjoy every single second of your placement year abroad. Enjoy your new friends and the memories that you will create together. So that during your final year, you can go and travel around Europe to reminisce over your memories.  I know I will be doing that because I’ve already been invited to a wedding in Vietnam (look at me, V.V.I.P )

 

Don’t forget, when you are in your placement year abroad to have fun, meet a lot of people, travel, create amazing memories and say hasta luego. Hasta Luego is more joyful and exciting than a good bye (let’s be honest, you want them to stay in your life otherwise how are you going to get invited to international weddings?)

 

Hasta Luego 🙂

Semana Santa

(Please be aware as this blog post may contain pictures that may cause distress)

Hola chicos y chicas,

How are you and how is your placement search going?  I guess some of you may have secured your placement while others are still looking. Don’t get stressed because like I always tell you, you still have time.  You can still find an amazing internship abroad or in the UK. Why don’t you broaden your horizons and become more flexible about the roles and the salary or maybe the location. You might get lucky  😉

 

Nonetheless, I came here to tell you about one of the most exciting weeks in Seville. Semana Santa (Holy week). Seville is known for its celebration of the Semana Santa because of the breath-taking processions and the streets filled with tourists and locals that came to see their “Virgen”. This is how it works, every church has its virgin and the older churches also have a brotherhood. So they come out and walk around Seville for hours with a statue of their virgin and one from Jesus’ path to crucifixion. They also have the ‘nazarenos’ which can be mistaken by Ku Klux Klan because of their outfits, however their outfits have a different meaning, like they are different (so calm down). In the past they used to wear the overall and the hats to hide their identity as they were ashamed of their sins and they did not want to be labelled as penitents. If you look closer you can see that the outfits are different.

WP_20150330_002 WP_20150330_003 WP_20150330_004 WP_20150330_011 WP_20150330_012 WP_20150330_014 WP_20150330_015 WP_20150330_024(Please don’t ask me the same thing that my brother asked me, “Ana,  OMG no one was arrested?”)

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The adventures of a placement student

Hola chicos y chicas !!!!

I know it has been a while but I hope everything is going well with your placement search.On this blog post I will be telling you about my new adventure.  YYYYYYEEEEEEAAAAHHHHHH.So, I red in this article that people that like to travel a lot have this gene called wanderlust gene. I think mine has started to manifest as now I’m always travelling or planning trips. So, this time I went to Africa.

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I spent 4 days in busy Marrakech and I can tell you that I would definitely go back, just for shopping. Marrakech is completely different to every place that I have been and as soon as I got there I got a cultural shock. There were donkeys on the road, people crossing the road without looking, motorcycles everywhere with the whole family on top. Different stairs, cats everywhere and people calling all sorts of things just to get your attention ( They called me Shakira, like, do I look like Shakira). I was shocked.

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Fiesta Time

Hola chicos y chicas,

 

How is the placement search going? I hope you are all on the interview stages now and I promise my next post will be about interviews. So keep an eye on the blog.

Like promised, I came to tell you about my new adventure. It was like a week ago but I have been so busy that I did not have time to write a post. Please, forgive me.

On the 14th of February, some of you were out and about celebrating with your other half, others were with their friends while the rest stayed at home and pretended that Valentine’s Day doesn’t bother them (yes, I just said this and I was talking about you). I have told you before to stop lying to yourself that is a disadvantage when looking for a placement. Anyways, I’m here to talk about what I did on my Valentine’s Day, which was….

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CELEBRATE CARNIVAL, YEEEEEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHH

Yes, chicos y chicas. I celebrated Carnival and it was such an experience.  Thousands of students from different countries, studying and working in different cities all came down to celebrate the same thing. There were a lot of different costumes and I can tell you that the Spaniards had the best costumes. See what experience does!!!  I met amazing people during Carnival and I had so much fun. See that is one of the reasons why I think you should do your placement year abroad and experience the culture. It turns you into an open minded, experienced and grateful individual. At the end of your placement you will be a completely different individual. So now enjoy my pictures from Carnival and watch the video below.

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Estoy enamorada!!! (I’m in love)

Hola chicos y chicas!!!

 

I wasn’t supposed to write about any of my adventures until the C**** (it’s a secret).However, I had to share with you my experience and the events of Friday and Saturday night (sorry to disappoint but it does not involve alcohol).  My flatmate took me to this flamenco bar, a really small and dark place (you can judge because I did the same).

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I didn’t expect much from it, I thought they were just going to play some flamenco music over the radio, or play some videos of famous flamenco dancers, or something similar.  I was surprised when I heard a deep voice sing an emotional song. I felt every single word that came out of the singer’s mouth.  Instead of describing it, I’m going to let you listen to it.

 

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