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Amrita's Placement Story

Aston student Amrita Bains
Name: Amrita Bains

Course: BSc Psychology (final year)
Placement role: Neuropsychology Research Assistant
Company: Pontifical Universidade Catholica (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) 

At Pontifical Universidade Catholica (PUC) I was a research assistant to the head of the Psychology Department Dr Daniel Mograbi. The department mainly conducted research in Neuropsychology; therefore, I was assigned to conduct my own research under supervision of Dr Mograbi.
As the role was part-time I only attended the university 2-3 days a week.  When working on the project how emotion can affect colour perception we would plan on how we would execute the experiment successfully. At the beginning of the placement we would have to complete paperwork regarding the plan of the study, its purpose and why it was being done. We would also ask the ethics committee for permission to conduct the study.

I was also lucky enough to learn Portuguese whilst living there, the university allowed me to take part in a beginner classes where I met other international people and made some life-long friends. 

I was able to observe experiments carried out by other researchers and learn about the progression of Alzheimer disease. I also observed a patient taking an MRI scan and was able to learn how the scan was set up and what it showed first-hand.  

My advice to students would be to make the most out of your placement and allow it to benefit you in the future. But don’t only focus on work, enjoy yourself as it is an experience to remember. You will make so many memories and meet interesting people, this year will help you develop professionally and personally.
As I did a placement researching and learning about different areas of neuropsychology, I knew I wanted to study in this field further. Therefore, I have applied to do a Masters in Cognitive Neuroscience; the experience that I had gained from my placement year helped my personal statement become more unique compared to other applicants. 
  • Try not to feel nervous, the people working with you on placement want you to learn, so if you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask!
  • I found it useful to keep a diary or a blog, this way it helped me to recall some of the experiences I had and look back at the tasks that I did. 
  • You are going to meet new people on placement, this is a good opportunity to make new friends, it will make your placement a whole lot easier when you have someone to share it with
  • Prioritise your workload, make sure you have some fun too!
  • If you are doing a placement in the UK try and go for a pre-placement visit, you can show the company that you are eager to learn and you get the advantage of seeing where you’ll be working and who you could be working with.

 

  • Have a camera, you are going to want to remember everyone you met and everything you had seen, even the place you’ll be working 
  • If you are going to a country where English is not a common language, try and learn some beforehand so you can try and interact with the locals, but once you are there don’t be afraid to try and speak it’s a good way to practice and will become a practical skill you can add on to your CV. 
  • Try and explore the country that you are working in, this a perfect opportunity to explore and learn about a different culture.
  • Again, you are going to meet many people, most likely people from all over the world. Don’t be afraid to make friends because you’ll be surprised that they might be feeling as anxious as you!
  • Try and say yes to any opportunities that you come across in your work placement. It is a good way of developing your learning and will be another thing to talk about when applying for graduate schemes, jobs or even a master’s degree.  

 

Luckily my placement was only part-time, so the few days I worked didn’t affect my student life much.  The best thing to do to balance your placement and social life is to make sure you stay organised and prioritise your tasks; make sure you meet your deadlines and prepare for a working day, but also plan a break so you can go out and explore. 
My favourite thing about my placement year, was that I was lucky enough to visit Brazil, a place I never expected to visit before.  I was very fortunate to meet many people and now lucky enough to call them my friends, I was able to learn about different cultures all over the world and was able to share my own.  The placement had allowed me to gain both knowledge in psychology and helped me towards my career in the future, but it had also developed me personally, allowing me to have amazing experiences and memories.