A year of development

Written by Sandra Nielsen

My name is Sandra. My professional passion is human behaviour and inspiring & encouraging people to use all their potential and talents. Hence, I would like to share my experience of being an Erasmus student, to give you a kind push to do it – because trust me, it will change your life in ways you can’t even imagine!

I was an Erasmus student at UoR in 2018/2019, doing my last year of my undergraduate in psychology. I am originally from Denmark, but have ended up staying in England, as I am currently studying an MSc in Organisational Psychiatry and Psychology at King’s College London – and honestly, I have no plans of retuning to Denmark, looking at how many opportunities this year has brought me!

Arriving in Reading I didn’t know a single person, but within the first 2 days of welcome week I had established a network of students from all over the world and all sorts of different faculties – a network that I spend hours and hours with, and that I’m still in contact with today. These people have contributed to so many great memories and learning opportunities, and whenever one of us was struggling, we always helped and supported each other. UoR definitely facilitated this through the great amount of welcome events and societies – it’s just a matter of taking the first step of showing up, then the rest comes naturally. Yet I must admit that due to my passion of dancing and the amount of time I spend dancing, most of my friends outside university was in the dance environment in Reading (and that is absolutely amazing!). So, Reading facilitates friendships both at university and outside university!!!

Academically I had the opportunity the explore more than just psychology, as both my home university and UoR accepted me applying for modules on other faculties, that in different ways supported psychology and the career path I had planned. Hence, I did modules in psychology, law and business – enjoying sharing knowledge between the different faculties with my fellow students and discussing with the great teachers how everything could be interconnected. Though sounding very different, they complement each other very well, and I can see how this diversity of modules has contributed to me in my current MSc. So, don’t be scared to explore new fields and try to create your own education – you might, like me, get a bunch of awesome modules that somehow help you understand each of them better!

Obviously, it’s not just fun and amazing – life has its ups and downs, but when university gets stressful there is amazing support. The UK way of doing university is very different from in Denmark, which affected my studies as I had to do my dissertation at the same time as all exams at UoR. It was very stressful, but I found a lot of good support from the Erasmus office and the friends I made in Reading. And even though it was tough, I still managed to reach my goal of getting into KCL and at the same time learning and realising, that “I got it!” even though it’s hard. I got to know my own strength in a completely new way, and through this I developed a lot.

Concluding, my time at UoR has contributed to so much more than my education. Both socially and personally I’ve benefited so much from the year, and I’m so much more prepared for what life brings now!

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