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Katarina
Miler

Croatia
Employability Team has shown great reliability and extraordinary interest in each student’s satisfaction, they have provided constant support and were enthusiastic to keep up to date with my tasks and progress while on placement.

More about Katarina

Tell us about your course...

I’m doing my final year of BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences (Environmental biology), I love the fact that all the theory we learn is strengthened by practical work. That makes memorising much easier and gives wider context to the topic. Thanks to my course, I have visited many beautiful and protected areas in the Midlands, such as Sherwood Forest and Attenborough Reserve. The content of this course is quite wide as it covers multiple aspects of ecology and environmental management. That is good as it enables students to find their place within the study area, especially if they go for a year-long placement, and then choose a more specialised master’s degree. For me, the placement year was a turning point in my career as I have finally found out what exactly my interests are.

How do you relax and have some ‘down time’ from your course?

I enjoy a range of hobbies; I spend a lot of time doing yoga classes provided by NTU Fitness, going to NTU gym and bouldering in Depot. Aside from that, I am a Networking Officer of NTU Sustainability Society which I enjoy as it involves socialising, meeting new people, but also acquiring many transferable skills. I love spending time outdoors, I prefer going for a long walk to Wollaton Park so I’m looking forward to warmer weather and sunny days. Although I spend most of my free time being active, I love reading books and watching documentaries to completely relax.

What’s Nottingham like for students?

Nottingham surely is a student city, therefore it provides many opportunities for engagement and socialisation. You can join societies at NTU, that range from certain interest groups and sports to national and cultural societies. Various teams at NTU such as International, Global, Employability and Sustainability, organise events for students. Some of those are intended to boost student knowledge and skills, but many are oriented towards networking and pure socialising. Outside of Uni, Nottingham offers many events and has lots of interesting venues, such as theatre, cinemas, playhouse, interesting arts and crafts shops, independent bakeries and cafes.

I love green spaces in Nottingham and the surrounding area, especially Wollaton park and River Trent, but there is also Arboretum which is basically in the middle of the city and Sherwood Forest and Sherwood Pines are perfect for a one-day nature retreat. If you are into arts, you would certainly love Nottingham Contemporary and small-scale artist exhibitions that take place all around the city. And if you ever miss home, it’s most likely that you’ll find a nice restaurant with your country dishes. (That’s also quite efficient nowadays as many people miss travelling and want to get the sense of other cultures).

How would you describe the support you get at NTU... 

As my course is quite small, we get more direct support from the teaching team, personal tutors and course leader. However, my friends, who are doing courses with a bigger group of students, agree that there is a lot of academic support available no matter of the group size. Aside from NTU academics, I received a lot of support from the Employability and the Global Team. Employability helped me a lot to improve my CV and personal statement when I first came to NTU, and I’ve been using their online resources ever since. They have supported me throughout my placement year by having regular calls with their officers and by organising occasional meetings with my course leader.

Employability Team has shown great reliability and extraordinary interest in each student’s satisfaction, they have provided constant support and were enthusiastic to keep up to date with my tasks and progress while on placement. Also, they provided me with the opportunity to nominate Oikon, my placement provider, as the best industry placement. In the end, Oikon won that title for the SME category.

NTU Global team supported me with the application for Erasmus Mobility Grand. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t even know about all the support available for students doing international placements and exchanges.

What are the living costs as a student here?

I live with my friend in a flat, each of us has a room and we share common areas. We share the majority of grocery costs but normally we cook separately. I spend every day (during weekdays) out of my place so I cook in bulk and I try to minimise eating out although that normally happens once a week. My groceries are usually around £120ish a month. My hobbies (sports) are £65 a month (gym plus climbing membership), accommodation £500 with bills.  Each month I spend around £200-250 on additional shopping, eating out and drinks. All in all, I end up spending £900 per month.

I would say that groceries in the UK do not differ much from my country where the living standard is lower, so taking that into account, groceries are cheap here. Drinks and food are expensive when going out, same as for sports, memberships that are not uni-provided are quite expensive (that’s why I go to the University gym for £15 a month)

From your experience, how would you advise future international students? Any top tips?

If you come from a family that has to be cautious about spending, the organisation is the key. There are many cost-effective alternatives to eating out, paying for busses daily and drinking in clubs. The most important thing is to research a bit about student offers in Nottingham and NTU. For example, to save money you can buy groceries and cook in bulk (some stores are cheaper than others, for example, Aldi and Lidl) or have pre-drinks in someone’s flat prior to going out (bottle of wine for £4, same as medium glass). You can buy year-long bus pass (if you know you’ll use busses daily), join NTU sports clubs or gym (plus the benefit of socialisation), use student discounts when shopping and eating out (Nottingham has plenty of those) and look out for NTU events such as community lunch at Global lounge (food + socialising). A wise thing to do is to keep track of your weekly spending so you can manage it as soon as you realise you’re spending too much.

Do you work or volunteer part-time during your studies?

I work in IDO as International Enquiry Assistant, I’m a library mentor at Brackenhurst and a Networking Officer of Sustainability Society. Sometimes is hard to manage all those with coursework and other hobbies but all part-time roles at NTU are flexible and managers understand that we prioritise our studies so I haven’t had any problems

General tips:

Ask questions! You probably can’t even imagine the array of support that NTU offers and that is all there for you, for us. If you don’t feel confident enough to approach staff, ask student mentors, ambassadors, or just send an email if it’s easier.

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