As I am a European student (I’m from Romania), I didn’t really have the chance to visit UK universities when I was making my decision. When I was looking at universities, I was looking for one that had a balanced blend between good academic reputation and opportunities to have a good social life. Aston University seemed to offer both, with its good rankings in university tables and it being a small community in the centre of Birmingham.
My whole university experience has been really good, worthy of the name “the best years of my life”. Looking back, at the end of my Final Year, I can say I enjoyed both the academic side of things and the extra-curricular side, by choosing to become actively involved in the Students’ Union. As for highlights, I would have to mention my dissertation, as I was able to research and write 10,000 words on a topic entirely of my choice. Final Year in that respect has been good as we had almost complete freedom in choosing our essay topics. The people I’ve met at university and the friends I’ve made definitely represent another strong point. Aston is such a multicultural environment and it has given me the chance to learn so many different things about a variety of countries and traditions. It definitely made me feel more like a “citizen of the world” and I’ve met great people with whom I’ll be staying in touch after University. Also becoming involved in the Students’ Union, from society member to committee member to being elected as a part-time member of Executive in my Final Year has given me the opportunity to try and make a difference for the student community, while learning a lot of things for myself.
On my Placement Year I chose to do a study placement in France, at Sciences Po Lille. I had the opportunity to study at one of the prestigious French institutes for political sciences, while brushing up on my French skills, as most of the modules I picked were taught in French. Whilst there, I managed to obtain the Certificat d'Études Politiques, an extra qualification Sciences Po offers for their Erasmus students. Therefore not only did I get to experience a new country and culture, but I also got a new qualification to put on my CV and improved French language skills.
After 3 previous years of involvement in the Students’ Union, I decided to run in the annual elections for a full-time executive position, following which I got elected as the Vice-President of Finance, Media and Entertainment for the year 2012/2013.