Natalie Smith 940x600

Natalie Smith

Marketing - BA (Hons)

Natalie wasn’t sure whether she would fit in at university, as she lives at home while she studies and enjoys spending time with her family.  However, this hasn’t been the case… after changing her subject area, Natalie is flourishing studying marketing, and having finished second year, she is moving on to a year-long placement at Cross Country Rail.

“Originally, I went to college to study art and design, as I wanted to go into photography. But after my first year I realised that it wasn’t working out as well as I’d hoped, so I went to my careers advisor at college. We discussed my volunteering work at The National Trust and realised my work was heavily related to marketing, as I spent most of my time looking after social media channels. This changed my mind completely regarding what to study, as I realised there was a degree that would be perfectly matched to my skills and interests.

After visiting several universities, I felt Birmingham City University was best suited to me. All the lecturers were informative and friendly at the Open Day and their passion for the subject was so evident, which was really motivating!  Everyone at the City Centre campus was lovely and welcoming and I immediately felt this would be a great place to study.

I’m proud of the fact I have been involved in The Link Marketing Agency here at BCU for two consecutive years. The Link is the University’s in-house marketing agency, which gives students the chance to gain real-life experience in the marketing world. By joining the Link Agency, it gave me the chance to work with students outside the classroom and I really felt I was part of something significant here at BCU. It has given me the opportunity to work with real clients on live projects, putting the theory I’d learnt on my course into action.

I’ve found all of my lecturers to be very approachable and there is so much support here if you need it. When I started, I was worried I’d be behind everyone else, as I hadn’t studied anything business-related until I started here, but my personal tutor in first year was super supportive and made me realise my potential and helped me develop the confidence to succeed in my studies.

I feel more confident in myself since starting university. With the experience I’ve gained from both BCU and work, I’ve managed to secure a great placement with Cross Country Rail. I’m doing this as a sandwich year within my degree, which is really going to benefit me going into third year, as well as life after graduation.

There seems to be a lot of social pressure surrounding students moving far away from home in order to have the ‘uni experience’, but here at BCU, that’s not the case. I still feel like I’ve had the best experience, as well as being able to go home every night, having studied the whole day at university! Although I travel from Worcester, my placement year is located much closer to home which has been convenient, allowing me to stay closer to my friends and family. It just goes to show that there are opportunities everywhere.

‘I AM BCU’ means that I can be myself here at university without being judged. Just because I’m not what many might believe the conventional ‘university student’ because I commute, doesn’t mean I don’t have a place here at BCU and I think that’s what’s really special about being part of this community.”