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My names Aishling, I’m nineteen and from Galway Ireland in my second year of occupational therapy. Moving away from home can be a daunting experience and one that needs to be well thought out. While it’s important to be certain of your course, I think everyone worries to start with and that’s fine because it’s natural to care! Moving from Ireland to the UK, from the comfort of home to student halls was a shock to the system, but it is a student rite of passage and something I would definitely recommend. Halls worked out to be a great choice for me, it provided me with a great social network and I was able to meet lots of new people.

I chose to come to Bournemouth because I love the area. Bournemouth has a great student base and Lansdowne where my course is taught has an intimate, close knit health and social care student community. There is a night out every night of the week (completely optional of course) as well as lots of other student activities. Bournemouth has lots of societies but the dance society was definitely the biggest pull factor for me. I wanted a balance of work and studying with being social too. Living by the beach has many perks too and it was these combined factors which made Bournemouth an obvious choice for me.

Bournemouth provides a style of learning for everyone, not only do we have lectures and seminars; we also have practice sessions included on our timetable too. Practice sessions take place in the skills rooms which replicate real life hospital environments, getting us ready for placements. I personally find practical sessions most useful as it reinforces the theory I have learnt which makes me feel more confident. If I ever have any questions about the theory side of things the lecturers are so helpful and approachable. They provide endless academic support but also moral support which is equally as valuable. Each student has an academic advisor, usually a lecturer on your course; they will give you advice on so much more than the academia side to uni.

I find studying my course so enjoyable. The course content is captivating and I find myself wanting to read even more in my spare time. I love that lots of our assigned reading is articles and journals, as they are more up to date and often have current themes in them. The lectures will ask the class at different points throughout the year what’s working well and what’s not. They listen and take on board all feedback and this is so helpful because any student issues are simply resolved. Within my course there is a major sense of community among both staff and students. Not only will your lecturers be role models for you, they will be people you can build a friendship and laugh with.

As with all healthcare courses comes placement. For me personally it’s my favourite aspect of the course! I learn so much and get to acquire skills from other occupational therapists. The fact that some of your course friends are often in the same hospital as you is also nice for moral support and lunchtime catch ups. My course friends are definitely the people I spend most of my time with. I study with them, socialise with them and live with them! When first coming to uni I was nervous about the friendship side of thing, as I am quite comfortable and familiar with my social circle at home. By Christmas I had found my social circle and my place in BU.

Coming to BU has been a very positive experience for me and has allowed me to become more independent and grow as a person. While moving away from home is daunting, BU have made it one of the best experiences I’ve ever had and it is one I will cherish forever. Here, I have made friends for life, learned to cook, and will in a years time have acquired my degree to follow my dream vocation.

Aishling, 2nd Year OT student

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