Produced by Sarah
BA (Hons) Sociology
One of the main reasons I decided to study at Bournemouth University (BU), besides the seven mile stretch of Bournemouth beach, was to have the opportunity to undertake a placement year as a part of my BA (Hons) Sociology degree.
This initially daunted me. Although I knew undertaking a placement would be great for my future career prospects and would allow me to explore a potential career area, I knew this would mean some of my course friends would progress into third year and I would need to make new course friends when I returned in final year. Luckily taking a placement in Fundraising and Development was the best decision for me, and I particularly appreciated the help and advice BU Placement Coordinators gave me on the way.
First I decided to have a general look at job adverts for placement students in and around the location I wanted to be in, which happened to be near home, however some students decided they wanted to stay in Bournemouth to do their placement or even go abroad!
There was a variety that came out over the year all the way from September to the end of the academic year. Don’t panic too much if it feels like it is getting later on in the year, some placements come out very early, and some come out later in the academic year. The placement coordinators helped us with this by giving advice 1-1 about placements and also dedicating a few lectures towards placement support.
I then needed to dig out my old CV and edit it towards the roles I fancied applying for. I would really recommend contacting the Placement Coordinators to help with building and tailoring your CV to the roles you are interested in. I did this multiple times! At times it was disheartening if there was a role I wanted and I either did not hear back, or I did not get through the interview rounds successfully. This does happen but I am very pleased I persevered to find the placement right for me!
My experience on placement
Overall I had a great experience on placement. I enjoyed working within a university fundraising for bursaries, and I was exposed to many new skills that challenged me but I also enjoyed, and inspired me to think about my future career with what I liked doing and what I didn’t like.
When my placement got a bit stressful, as it sometimes did, I contacted the BU Placement Coordinator who gave me lots of advice on how I could navigate how I was feeling.
Initially a year felt like quite a long time away from my studies, but it flew quickly as I was so busy and I was learning so much! When I returned with another friend, I found a new set of people to live with through a housing Facebook page. This did take a bit of effort but went smoothly. BU can give advice if you are worried about this. It was great to have new people to get to know off the bat. I also attended the Freshers Fair to see the societies I could get involved with. I ended up joining the Social Science Society!
Benefits I have experienced
I grew in confidence over the year, something that I feel needed developing, and this has transferred over to my studies at BU. Before placement I was a bit hesitant to contribute in lectures and seminars, and I found the prospect of group work quite daunting. Now I contribute more and feel less afraid to get involved with group work as I learned a lot of transferrable skills over the year. This has really been beneficial as when I got the opportunity to apply for an Erasmus+ placement in Kosovo I jumped at the opportunity and my work experience helped me secure my role. I have also noticed the work experience has helped with recruiting for my dissertation as I was able to reach out to more people on LinkedIn about participation.
Everyone’s journey will be different, but I found undertaking a placement as a part of my course with BU extremely beneficial. I encourage you to take a look to see if it also is a good decision for you.