Student experiences

Charlotte Cooper

Group of student nurses on go abroad placement.

BSc Midwifery

Midwifery student Charlotte Cooper tells us more about her experiences in India as part of a Go Abroad programme.

"Myself and ten other second and third-year midwifery students participated in the 2022 India Midwifery Elective Placement with The Fernandez Foundation.

"In India, there is little awareness of midwives as qualified health professionals and the term ‘midwife’ is still used interchangeably with traditional birth attendants (dais), Auxiliary Nurse-Midwives (ANMs) or Registered Nurses and Registered Midwives (RNRMs).

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"The Fernandez Foundation started in 1948 as a two-bed maternity clinic, and now has six locations with a total of 320 beds. There were 11 BCU Midwifery students who travelled to Hyderabad, India, to observe maternity services in Fernandez Hospitals as well as in public hospitals in India.

"During our experience, we spent two days with the Fernandez Midwifery students, teaching them obstetric emergencies with mannequins and props, and answering questions on midwifery in the UK.

"We visited seven hospitals where we were able to observe care for women and babies across all midwifery wards. Although some practice was different from what we are used to seeing in the UK, we were able to see the positive impact The Fernandez Foundation was having across all hospitals as its students were placed in public hospitals too, implementing woman-centred care for all women.

"We praised the exercises in pregnancy, the support of upright birthing positions and perineal massage, which was taught to women after their antenatal classes. This is something we could implement within our antenatal services in the UK.

"In our free time, we explored the local markets, travelled by tuk-tuks and had fun group days out, including bowling, go karting, a boat trip along the Hussain Sagar Lake, trips to the local shopping mall and the local theme park. This was as well as spending time after our placement and on weekends in the pool at the hotel!

"We all had an amazing stay of between two and four weeks, where we experienced midwifery in India which will stay with us for life and made some lifelong memories and friends.

"The philosophy of The Fernandez Foundation, which we have all seen demonstrated in India and hope to carry with us for our UK practice, was: “We believe that mothers are not patients, and childbirth shouldn’t be a painful event but a joyous journey. The experience must shift from doctor-centric to mother-led, where the woman can listen to and guide her body through the birthing process. With the right preparation, the support of a skilled Midwife and the presence of a birthing companion, most low-risk, healthy women can give birth naturally."

Miles Jackson-Lea

Miles Jackson-Lea with friends.

MSc Cyber Security

Second-year Cyber Security student Miles Jackson-Lea tells us about his experiences travelling to South Korea as part of a Go Abroad programme.

"When I had the chance to visit South Korea, it was something I knew I couldn't pass up. The School of Computing and Digital Technology was incredibly detailed with the application process and held multiple online and in-person meetings to make sure we were all comfortable with what we needed to do in regards to visiting the country.

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"After watching videos about South Korea and planning what I was going to do over there, the day of the flight finally came. It took almost 24 hours from leaving my house to arriving at my apartment in Myeong-dong, Seoul, however it was beautiful. 

"The following morning, we all met in the car park of Sungkyungkwan University and travelled to Gyeongbuk Palace. What an incredible event. I then had the weekend to recover from jet lag and get ready for the semester. 

"The next few weeks were a mixture of studying and going out for meals. I studied Artificial Intelligence (AI) and AI for social innovation. I learned so much during that month and made many friends, which I will keep in contact with as best as I can.

"The University took us to Everland, musicals and many other incredible places too, and I was sad that it had to come to an end. 

"I also received free tickets to meet and watch Tottenham Hotspur in its pre-season tour of Korea while I was over there. I was lucky as I got to meet England captain Harry Kane and Korea superstar Heung Min Son! 

The cities I visited over there were incredible and the UK doesn’t seem as bright and vibrant.

"If I could do it all over again, I would love to. It was the best month of my life and it has helped me focus on what I want to do as a career as well as providing reassurance that I am on the right path."

Soteris Yerosimou

Soteris Yerosimou with turtle.

MA Landscape Architecture

MA Landscape Architecture student Soteris Yerosimou tells us about his life-changing adventure in Sri Lanka as part of a Go Abroad programme.

"Volunteering in Sri Lanka last summer was a life-changing adventure. The marine and wildlife programme gave me the chance to make an impact and create a better place not only for the turtle hatchery but for the local community.

"I was able to collaborate with other volunteers and the local people, taking care of the turtles by cleaning their tanks, feeding them and administering medication. We had the chance to release some of the baby turtles into the ocean, which makes me even more proud of our goals as a team. 

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"What I learned from the experience is that it doesn’t matter how slowly you go, as long as you don’t stop! 

"The programme also gave me the chance to attend local schools and hospitals, where we took care of their garden, planted trees, painted the garden walls and created a more liveable space for students and patients. 

"Sri Lanka is a beautiful destination, and I am glad that I had the chance to discover the country from the local people. I had the chance to travel all over the country through the activities that Travelteer organised every week; visiting magnificent Buddhist temples, exotic beaches and picturesque cities. I was excited to discover the culture through the local cuisine, and had the best curry of my life.

"The country is well known for Ceylon tea and coconut cakes. Interacting with the locals was the most valuable experience for me as I had the chance to learn more about their lifestyle and background. 

"Sri Lanka is an economic crisis. It has rampant inflation and struggles to import food, fuel, and medicine. People queue for days for fuel. Some of the fuel stations were closed for long periods. As a result, the Government imposed a nationwide 10-hour daily power cut due to shortage of hydroelectricity triggered by the non-availability of fuel.  

"During the last week of my volunteering, the locals took to the streets in anger and frustration to request change from the Government. Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s residence has been invaded by thousands of protesters in the capital Colombo. 

"In spite of the crisis, the programme ran smoothly, we had transportation to the hatchery and back home, and we didn’t have any interactions with any strikes. We had daily power cuts during the day but during this time we found ways to be creative and to gather with the team and play games. 

"I am so happy that I had this opportunity to experience Sri Lanka. I am grateful and filled with memories from this beautiful island. I am glad that I met such special people, made friends, and made an impact. 

"Life is in your hands, make the most of it!"

Georgia Hewes

Georgia Hewes - Go Abroad

BSc Psychology

Third-year Psychology student Georgia Hewes tells us about her experiences in Fiji as part of a Go Abroad programme.

"From June to July 2022, I travelled to Fiji to volunteer with Think Pacific to facilitate the delivery of a mental health project. I was incredibly nervous until I landed in Fiji, then the excitement kicked in.

"I flew a few days early as I wanted to explore the island and go on a few adventures, which included swimming with black tip reef sharks, turtles, jellyfish, clownfish, and blue starfish. It was such an amazing experience that I was able to tick off my bucket list!

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"We spent six days at a resort attending workshops on Fijian culture, mental health in Fiji and being briefed on what our project would involve, as well as bonding as a group.

"The day we left for the village, I was very nervous, as it was a completely new experience. We didn’t know much about the village; only that it was called Nayavutoka, was on the north-eastern side of the island and was badly affected in 2018 by Cyclone Winston. It was a very long, bumpy drive to the village, but we played some music and were all up dancing to help pass the six-hour coach journey!  

"When we arrived in Nayavutoka, we were greeted with open arms. We headed straight into the community hall for the Sevu Sevu, a greeting ceremony welcoming and accepting us into the village. During this time, we met our Fijian parents who presented each of us with a beautiful flower garland before showing us to their homes.

"My house was made of tin sheets nailed to a wooden frame and was essentially one room divided into a main living area and two small bedrooms. One thing I discovered very quickly was that Fijians are possibly the nicest people on earth! Our families were all very poor, living off the food they had caught or grown, however, they would give you everything they had to make you comfortable – including their own beds!

"Our Fijian parents insisted on sleeping on the floor, so my project sister and I could have their bed, despite my Ma being seven months pregnant! After a brief introduction with our families, we headed for a group welcome dinner which consisted of a whole fish in a bowl for each of us and some cassava on the side. Later in the evening, we found our way back to the community hall for a welcome celebration and to drink Kava. The whole village joined in with the celebrations and everyone was singing and dancing – it was a really lovely, heart-warming experience.  

"We soon began running the sessions alongside another organisation called Youth Champs 4 Mental Health. Our days were structured, so we would assist with the project in the morning focusing on topics such as mental health vs mental illness, stigma, where to go for support and a big focus on suicide awareness and prevention. In the afternoon, we’d attend a culture session led by young Fijian in the village, where we learned skills such as fan weaving, Billy Billy making, visiting the farm and learning the Meke – a traditional Fijian dance.

"Every Saturday, we had a free day to do activities such as boat trips to a remote beach, watching the village rugby team play a tournament against a neighbouring village, and hiking up the mountains that surround the village. The village is very religious, so we attended church every Sunday and would then relax. To keep ourselves entertained, we played a lot of card games, made friendship bracelets and swam in the river surrounding the village. One of my favourite memories was teaching the young people to play rounders, which they loved, and we ended up playing for hours until it got dark.  

"Onc thing I was not prepared for was the number of animals and how noisy the village was.  I expected it to be peaceful, and it was to an extent, however I averaged about five hours of sleep a night. This was due to my little sister crying in the night, my Ta, the village Pastor, banging the Lali at 4am every morning to wake people up for devotion, and animals such as dogs and roosters. On top of that, we frequently had chickens wander into our bedrooms and lay eggs in our bags and clothes!

"It was winter, so although it was incredibly hot, it got dark early in the evenings around 6pm, so we had to use torches to navigate the village. As soon as the sun started to set, an abundance of frogs would appear, and it was a nightmare trying to walk anywhere without them jumping out at you. They made us jump so many times, but it was always a good laugh! 

"One Sunday during the project, the village hosted a Soli Soli, a fundraising day to help raise money for the church, which had been destroyed in the cyclone. Our lunch was cooked in a Lovo, an underground oven used for special occasions, and we performed the Meke for the visitors in the village. It was a really lovely day where people from all over Fiji visited, we drank plenty of Kava, sang, and danced until it was gone midnight! 

"My time in the village flew by and it was soon time to leave. Our last day was spent visiting the preschool where we knew all the children, as they spent most of their free time braiding our hair and chilling with our family.

"We also performed the Meke one last time before having a leaving party with everyone in the village, including drinking lots of Kava, eating Fijian sweets, singing and dancing. It was a really lovely but emotional night as Nayavutoka had quickly become our home.

"The morning of our departure arrived, and our Ta helped us take our bags to the bus. We had an emotional goodbye with our family including our very mischievous little sister and our Ma made us the most beautiful garland I have ever seen, including our favourite flowers picked from trees around the village. She also told us that they would be naming their baby after myself and my project sister, which was really touching to hear and made it even harder to leave. There was not a dry eye in the village as we drove off and it was a very quiet drive to the resort where we were debriefed.

"I have learned so many things about mental health in different cultures, how far behind many countries are in terms of mental health awareness, and how important organisations such as Think Pacific are to help educate people. Before I arrived in the village, I was sheltered and never really grasped how different other cultures are to what I have grown up with. After less than three weeks in Nayavutoka, the experience taught me to appreciate everything I have such as a roof over our head, running water, electricity and nutritious food – even fresh fish with its head attached.

"I can wholeheartedly say that my time in Fiji has changed my outlook on life and has changed me for the better! I’ll forever be grateful for the experience to live in Fiji and to be able to call it my home. I miss my Fijian family tremendously and cannot wait to return so I can visit them!"

Kayleigh Preen

BA (Hons) Criminology

Criminology student Kayleigh Preen shares her experience of studying abroad as part of the Turing Scheme and explains why it was the best decision of her life.

"Choosing to do study abroad in the US, in partnership with BCU, has been the best decision of my life. It brought me new levels of independence I couldn’t even imagine having before leaving for the US. BCU has many different partnerships with universities across the world. The first decision I had to make was which country I wanted to visit. I made the decision to attend Western Illinois University and it was an amazing fit for me.

Read more of Kayleigh's story

"Choosing to do study abroad in the US, in partnership with BCU, has been the best decision of my life. It brought me new levels of independence I couldn’t even imagine having before leaving for the US. BCU has many different partnerships with universities across the world. The first decision I had to make was which country I wanted to visit. I made the decision to attend Western Illinois University and it was an amazing fit for me.

“I used my time in the US to also travel, knowing that it was cheaper to do while already there. We spent labour day, an American holiday, on a boat that we rented and swam in the lake. Later, that month, we flew over to Miami Beach where we swam in the ocean. While doing all of this, I ensured that I was keeping up with my classes and getting the grades I needed to pass my course. Teaching in the US is different from the UK. You have work due for each class every week, and ‘midterms’ and ‘finals’ aren’t just a thing you see in the movies. “I study Criminology at BCU, but when I went to Western Illinois University I studied Law Enforcement Justice Administration during my time there. My future aspirations are to become a detective, and I’ll hopefully be joining the national detective programme when I graduate from BCU.

“There’s so much more I could talk about, from the amazing individuals I’m lucky to call my friends, to the weekend plans we had each week whilst studying abroad, to going to a real American football match, or even celebrating my 22nd birthday in another country. And if you’re thinking of going abroad for a semester and want advice on what to do or advice on finances, then feel free to message me on Instagram (@_kayleigh._xo). I would be more than happy to help you out, and maybe you can experience this once in a lifetime opportunity too. My top tip would be to create a group chat with other students participating in the Turing Scheme at Birmingham City University.”

Students can find out more about the Turing Scheme on iCity.

Nacera Felix

Nacera Felix
BA (Hons) Textile Design

Nacera had the chance to study in Chengdu, in Sichuan, China, as part of her studies. As well as exploring the city and surrounding area, she also had the chance to get an insight into student life on the other side of the world.

“I love East Asia, so any opportunity to explore culture is a 'must' in my eyes! We explored the city of Sichuan, including the shrines and Buddhist temples, and sampled the food within the city and the university campus.

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“I’ve learned more about how people relate, even though there was a language barrier, and how history and cultural aspects are important as they have certain traditions that are still important in the country today. We didn’t really get anything taught to us in terms of a specific topic; however, we had a puppet show presented to us and that was pretty interesting.

“I would say that I'm now more opened-minded, not that I wasn’t before, but I've experienced something and now it holds a special part in my life. I’d advise anyone else going abroad to be open-minded as every culture is different. Do your research before attending, as you wouldn't want to do something out of context which cold offend someone – just be patient and respectful.

“Looking ahead, I’d love to keep on travelling with my career in mind – Japan would hopefully be my next journey or anywhere else that is as inspiring to me personally, and hopefully I could possibly work abroad and gain a number of experiences.

“I think my travels will have an effect on my planned career as a textile designer, as I will have experienced a different sort of life and project those experiences through my own perspective. That in itself is my future plan.”


Hunaynah Seedat

Hunanyah Seedat
BA (Hons) Accounting and Business

Hunaynah took part in a summer school in Brunei as part of her Accounting and Business studies at Birmingham City University. She took part in a number of leadership-related activities with students from all over the world, as well as getting to find out more about the lifestyle and culture of her host country.

“I chose to go to Brunei as I didn’t know much about the country and the activities planned seemed interesting and challenging. My first impression of the Universiti Brunei Darussalam was that the campus was small compared to BCU; however, it was nice and I liked the open space and greenery.

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“The lecturers at the university were friendly and made all of the participants feel welcomed. They were interested in knowing more about the different countries and universities each participant was from. Each leadership activity was different, challenging and interesting, such as being blindfolded and listening to instructions to get to a destination, and negotiating and working in teams.

“From taking part in the summer school I have gained more independence in travelling abroad on my own, as well as becoming more confident. Meeting different people from different countries, I was able to learn a few phrases of their languages as well as their lifestyle and information about their country.

“The advice I would give anyone doing this would be to research the country and lifestyle, and also be open to try everything from various activities that may be out of your comfort zone to different types of food.

“My plans for the future are to work in an accounting or a business firm and hopefully progress to become a leader where I can open my own accounting firm. The summer school programme relates to my future plans as it taught me how to become a better leader and enhanced my cultural awareness.”

James O'Connell - USA

James O'ConnellBA (Hons) Media and Communication

James spent a semester studying at Northwest Missouri State University as part of his degree in Media and Communication at Birmingham City University.

As he lived at home during his time as a student in Birmingham, this gave him the opportunity to get a different insight into student life, as well as experiencing work and study in the USA.

Read James's story

“I chose this course because of my passion for video, editing and TV production, and BCU offered amazing facilities and experiences. I decided to take part in Study Abroad mainly due to being a commuter student and I wanted to sample a true university experience. I was emailed the opportunity and was encouraged by family and friends to pursue it. I think we only get so many opportunities in our lives, so I immediately applied. I wanted a change and to move away from my daily routine.

“When I arrived at Northwest I found a blanket of snow covering everything; it was so cool. On my first day, I walked around the campus and met with students and staff. Finding their union with a huge canteen, the basketball pitch and stadium made my jaw drop! Northwest has such a beautiful campus. I was greeted really well and I felt at home straight away.

James O'Connell 1

“I kept myself busy all the time at Northwest. I studied five classes, mainly in production – I created videos, filmed live sporting games and devised advertising campaigns. There were some amazing things I filmed that really helped me learn. Away from the classes, I made loads of new friends and went on road trips with them in Kansas, Nebraska and other places. In my downtime I hung out with friends, watched films and played board games. There was also live music and concerts during the semester; they had Echosmith playing which was fun.

“I think that at BCU we have some of the best facilities, better even than in Northwest, but Northwest also had everything I needed – a TV studio, radio studios, editing suites, live music rooms, and a hi-tech camera lens and lighting – and because of the encouragement I received, I was able to use them fully.

“I really enjoyed the teaching – there were a lot of assignments but teachers were always available and helped me a lot. I really learnt a lot about design and video production classes where our teachers would go round the room and give us feedback. I felt more relaxed and I did some of my best work during that time.

“Maryville, where the university is based, is a little bit isolated from larger cities but it had everything you would need. There were some great restaurants and the student halls were walking distance from everywhere in the city. I really enjoyed the student halls environment. It did get lonely on some occasions but always tried to keep myself busy.

“I feel like I benefited so much from going abroad and I feel so much more developed as a person. I gained so much confidence in myself and learned what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I found my calling in video production and I am now pursing it for my future career. I also made lifelong friends and I’m planning to visit them again soon. Study Abroad really changed where I see my career going and has opened my eyes to brand new and exciting opportunities.”

View James's blog

James O'Connell 2

Nikola Tonev – USA

Nikola Tonev BSc (Hons) Sound Engineering and Production

Nikola took part in a semester-long exchange programme at the University of Rochester in New York.

Read Nikola's story

This was an amazing opportunity to experience the American college lifestyle without paying their insane tuition fees. It was a great chance to see a completely different educational system and teaching approach.

The teaching there is very dynamic and demanding. It stimulates you to think and work almost constantly, which I believe is the sole purpose of university. What I really love as a concept (even though it was very hard) is their form of assessment. As opposed to the UK system, where the mark for the semester is formed by 1-3 big courseworks or exams in the end of the semester, in the USA there is a small (OK, sometimes not so small) assignment/homework that has to be completed by the next week and is being marked.

First of all, this a great way to keep the students involved. The other huge benefit is that your mark is divided into many small chunks. So in case you have one thing that you are not really good at, or you have been sick or unable to do your best for some reason, this will only reduce your mark a tiny bit.

Nikola Tonev

University of Rochester has one of the best sports centres I have seen in a school or university. There was an amazing basketball court where the university team was playing its NCAA games and three more courts that were convertible and could be used for volleyball, football, badminton, etc. There were four tennis courts, five or six squash rooms, a swimming pool, a huge gym and an indoor baseball pitch. There was also a full-size stadium for American football and a newly built baseball pitch. What was the best part of it? Everything could be used at no additional cost!!

I have learnt an awful lot about American culture, geography and lifestyle – things that I barely knew anything about before (I mean like real knowledge based on personal experience and not on movies). I have learnt a lot of new and useful skills for adaptation in a completely different environment, because even though I came to the UK from Bulgaria, this is still in Europe, things are not so different, but going to a different continent (not only as a tourist, but actually living there) was a hell of an adventure!

I spent a considerable amount of time with people from many different countries and backgrounds. We travelled a lot together, meaning we had long periods of being together literally 24 hours a day. All of this is very, very beneficial for one’s communication skills, especially if your first language is not English (mine is Bulgarian).

My advice to someone thinking about going abroad would be: Go for it. Whatever opportunities you have, go and make the most of them. Take risks, go out of your comfort zone, get involved. Because all of this will be totally worth it in the end.

Nikola Tonev

George Marrable – Australia

George MarrableBA (Hons) Media and Communication

George went to Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia for his four-month summer exchange programme.

Read George's story

I had the choice between America and Australia, and the climate and lifestyle initially drew me in. However, after looking at the course, I knew it was for me because although it was similar to what I do at BCU, there was a variety of modules that were very different to my course here, and would give me the chance to broaden my knowledge.

The learning at Swinburne was slightly different to BCU. Although it consisted of lectures and seminars, we were assessed on a series of small tasks throughout the year, rather than one or two big projects at the end of the module. Staff were very involved and took a great deal of care with the students, and were more than happy to offer extra help and explanations. For me in particular, they were very accommodating in making sure I understood the cultural aspects and situations that I may not have been familiar with.

The experience definitely allowed me to add a different perspective to my learning, but it also gave me the opportunity to try new things in areas such as advertising - something I cannot do at BCU.

The course definitely made me a lot more confident, and allowed me to take my guard down a bit more. I was very nervous about going to Australia without knowing anyone, but doing the study abroad made me act more confident. I have also noticed that a lot of my skills, particularly my writing, have greatly improved. The experience allowed me to build contacts and friends that I still speak to regularly.

The four months I spent in Australia were absolutely unbelievable, and were completely worth it from both a personal and educational aspect. You just have to throw yourself into everything and try everything you can. Everyone was so welcoming to me, and making friends was the easiest thing ever. Take every opportunity they offer you and do as much as possible because the four months is over so quickly!

I am hoping to go into PR or journalism after my final year, and the study abroad gave me something amazing to put on my CV, and was crucial in securing jobs and internships since I have returned.

George Marrable

Anne Driza – South Korea

Anne Driza BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance

Anne took part in the Summer School at Hanyang University, South Korea for her exchange programme.

She chose Hanyang because she felt it stood out and had the courses she wanted to learn.

Read Anne's story

I chose to do a Summer School abroad because I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to develop myself by being in a completely different environment to the one I’m accustomed to. Also it would give me a chance to meet people from other parts of the world and connect with them. I particularly wanted to go to Hanyang University because when I researched the different institutions I could go to, Hanyang stood out and had the courses I wanted to learn.

Overall, the teaching was great because the teachers could communicate the information needed for the exam. The teaching material given was also great as it contains important information we can use in the future as well. I could tell by the way they taught that they had great knowledge in that area.

I have learnt and was able to experience the values and culture of Koreans. I have learnt to be more independent and become more aware how important cultures are in various countries. I have developed more confidence in myself to speak and be around various types of people from different backgrounds. I’ve become more independent in the way I study and live my life because I was able to be in a completely different country where I didn’t know anyone and adjust to their culture. But also it gave me more motivation to study and work harder by being around individuals who had such high goals in life.

My number one advice is to just embrace the culture. The only way to fully experience and have great memories is to not be afraid to try things. One of the main reasons you are there is to develop yourself and find out about what makes that country different. Also, be prepared to have exotic food because if you are going abroad somewhere in Asia, the food will be nowhere near similar to British food. Lastly, be aware of the weather beforehand in order to bring the right clothing.

This experience relates to my future, to see for myself if I was capable enough to adjust to the environment of different countries, as I would like to work abroad in the future.

Anne Driza

Alicia Rutherford – South Korea

Alicia Rutherford BSc (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy

Alicia took part in the Summer School at Hanyang University, South Korea for her exchange programme.

She chose Hanyang because it offered health-related courses she was interested in and is a well-established university.

Read Alicia's story

My first impressions were that the campus was beautiful and massive compared to what I have seen in the UK! The International Team staff were all incredibly helpful while we were arriving and settling in, and they were eager for us to really experience the culture and city as much as possible during our time there.

The courses I took were Mind Body Health and Adulthood and Aging. I thoroughly enjoyed both courses, and both will be very useful in my studies and when I am a practising Speech and Language Therapist. This is because of the theory I have learnt, but also working with such a diverse group of students from many countries really has enlightened me to considering healthcare in a global context, realising different attitudes, approaches and solutions to health/illness and also emphasised the importance of being a holistic, person-centred practitioner.

Personally I have learnt that I am capable of independently travelling to a different continent and successfully navigating around walking, using public transport, shopping and eating out in a different culture where I speak very little of the language. This has really boosted my self-confidence, as well as showcasing my resilience, perseverance and problem-solving, as it was not always easy and I had to find ways to overcome language barriers and cultural differences.

Alicia Rutherford

I was nervous going away on my own that I would not make friends, especially as a mature student, but being in the situation pushed me to use and develop better communication and networking skills. I met so many people from many different places and I have made close friends I am still in touch with and plan to meet up with again in future. I have also learnt a lot of academic theory that will be useful in the next two years of my course and general study skills, like for presentations, group work and managing time between studying, making friends and exploring Seoul. I have an increased understanding of Korean history, culture, politics and economy in the context of North East Asia and a wider world view. I can also use chopsticks now after having to use them every day for five weeks!

Since returning I have noticed that I am much more confident with myself and I know that I am capable of being independent, overcoming difficulties when I need to and making friends wherever I go. I also feel that I have developed a much deeper understanding of diversity and appreciating differences between cultures and people, as well as finding similarities and connections. The experience has opened my eyes to there being so many opportunities out there to find, places to see and people to meet and that the more that you do the more this enriches you as a person and also in your profession.

I have just started back at University for my second year of Speech and Language Therapy, so that is my plan for the next 18 months. From the work I have done this Summer I have gained interest in new areas of study, exciting areas of research in health and a desire to study at Masters level, which I have already started exploring. My overseas experience has opened my eyes to the opportunities that might be available to study outside of UK and given me the confidence that I could do it.

Alicia Rutherford