More about Selena
Why did you choose NTU and your course?
When looking at universities in England I was drawn to NTU because it had won several awards, including University of the Year. This told me that the experience I would have at NTU would be challenging and fulfilling.
I chose to the course Youth Studies because I had previously worked in the education system and knew that was not the place for me, but I still desired to work with young people. The course description outlined previous students had gone on to work in a variety of fields. I felt this was a good fit for me as I would be able to learn how to work with young people in a noneducational capacity while still keeping my options open after graduation.
Could you describe your experience of being an NTU student?
My experience as an NTU student has been very rewarding. I have been challenged by my lecturers to push my learning to achieve above what I thought I was capable of. As the elected Course Representative all 3 years, I have had several opportunities for leadership and sharing the student voice, including through meetings (course, department, school, and university wide), promotion videos, focus groups, and surveys. I have felt that my concerns and ideas were taken on in all aspects of the university. Additionally, through course placements and work experience (offered through Unitemps) I have had the opportunity to apply the skills I learned in the classroom to real-life experiences.
How would you describe the support from your tutors, university staff and student services?
Overall, I would say I have received great support across the university. My tutor and lecturers take the time to get to know me on a personal level and understand the aspirations I have. They weave mine as well as the others’ interests into the lectures to ensure the content is relevant for us. Other university staff and student services ensure I have the support I may need. It is reiterated repeatedly over the years of the different support we, as students, can access if we want/need it, including library, academic writing, and financial. While at NTU I feel like I have a large support system I can rely on if I am need of support.
Have you completed any work placements on your course? If so, tell us about your experience – where did you go, what did you do, what skills have you gained and what have you enjoyed the most?
I have done two placements for my course. First, I went to Nottingham Education, a local alternative provision, where I supported in the education of Year 10 & 11 students. I gained many communication and de-escalation skills that will be useful in my future practice. I also learned that working in an alternative provision is a future pathway that I want to explore. I really enjoyed getting to know each of the students and have 1-to-1 conversations with them about their lives.
The second placement I had was with Nottingham Health and Education Support. With this organisation I supported the academic development of students from marginalised societies. I learned about working with people from different cultures and how to be culturally conscious when working with others. I enjoyed learning about the different cultures of the students and helping them grow academically.
Do you have any memorable moments from your placement?
I think the most memorable moment I have is playing chess with a young boy who needed some quiet, relaxing time. It was one of the first times I had taken initiative at the alternative provision to support the young people how I thought would be best for them. I was able to compromise with him on what he wanted to be doing and what he should be doing. While playing chess we were able to talk and built on our student-volunteer relationship. I did not know how to play chess, so he taught me and practice his communication skills. Overall, the session adjustment had been a success.
Do you have any advice for future students going on placement?
If you can choose your own placement, visit several places before picking one if you can. While on placement do not be afraid to speak up and share your ideas. Often times the placement will take kindly to them. Showing initiative and asking for more or less responsibility can go a long way. Sometimes placements do not know exactly what your role is meant to be, but by having direct, honest conversations you will be able to maximise on your time at the placement to develop several professional skills. Finally, keep a reflection log! This can be really helpful later on when you are writing an assignment to refer back to situations you may have encountered. Additionally, it is an opportunity for you to reflect on what you did that day and identify things that went great and things you will do differently next time.
Outside of the Lecture Theatre…
What three words would you use to describe Nottingham?
Where is a good place to eat, drink or visit in the city?
Zaap Thai Street Food
Oscar & Rosie’s
Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem
Nottingham’s historic cave networks
Did you find it easy to make friends and settle in at NTU?
I found it easy to make friends within my course, my peers were kind and welcoming. Additionally, the international officer for my country held a social hour which allowed me to meet people who were going through the same experience as me.
Settling into NTU was a little bit harder because there is a lot of things you need to right when you get here, like open a bank account, get a phone plan, understand the bus network on top of prepare to start university. I don’t think I realised how many things I would need to do when I first got here that I was not completely prepared for how to go about doing it. But once I sorted it all out my experience at NTU has much calmer.
The Next Steps…
Has the employability team helped you plan for life beyond NTU?
Yes, they have come to my lecturers to discuss options we have beyond NTU and the support they can offer us.
I have not used them personally yet.
What would you say to someone who is thinking of applying to NTU?
Do it. Come and take a tour. Attend an open day. NTU is a very inclusive university that strives to support each of their students. If you put in the effort at NTU you will find that NTU will put effort into supporting you. Often people believe when they come to university that they are on their own and there is no support however that is completely the opposite at NTU. Here there is a vast number of support services you can access for almost any type of help you may need. NTU is constantly wanting to be better and support the current university student, NTU urges for the student voice to be heard you can have the opportunity to be a part of that.
What is one thing you wish you knew before starting at NTU?
I wish I knew how much support was offered at NTU before I started.
As an International Student...
Why did you want to study in the UK?
I wanted to study in the UK because I had friends here and have been coming to the UK for several years.
What experiences have you had as an international student at NTU?
I have participated in focus groups to help the university understand how to improve the experience of an international student.
What advice would you give to help new international students get settled in at university?
Ask for help, utilise the international officer for your country. Try to get involved in societies to meet people outside of your course.