Student profile

Elisavetha Sergeev

"I would absolutely recommend doing a Professional Training Year, not just to enhance technical skills and knowledge but to develop soft skills, which at times can be more important."

Entry year


Placement company


Why Surrey

My passion is developing technological advancement for the betterment of people’s lives. I also want to be involved in space exploration and solving problems the space industry faces in reaching other planets and stars. I chose Surrey as it’s one of the few universities that offers Aerospace Engineering and it’s home to the Surrey Space Centre. The research opportunities were also promising, along with the placement support, which is said to be the best in the country. 

Student life

I made the most of the social opportunities at Surrey by joining clubs and societies, such as the Team Surrey Archery Club and MechSoc, which I really enjoyed. There are also lots of opportunities to get involved in other extracurricular activities, such as volunteering, being a course rep and doing a part-time job. Taking part is so important and it makes for an unforgettable experience. 

Studying here

My course offers practicals and lab work that applies theoretical knowledge in an effective way. The work involves many pathways, from material science to computer-aided design (CAD), and the optional modules cover space systems and aviation. Although most of the course is theoretical, the knowledge you acquire is used in practical projects, including building a model radio-controlled plane. The facilities on my course include a Design Centre, a workshop and multiple computer laboratories. There is also a flight simulator and a miniature engine, which students use to demonstrate theoretical knowledge.

My placement

I completed a placement in 2020-2021 at Stanhope-Seta as a Mechanical Design Engineer. My responsibilities included creating CAD models and drawings for the units produced in the company. Some of my work included coming up with innovative ideas to create or redesign a part for ease of assembly, material- and cost-efficiency or functionality. It was exciting to see an instrument that I had been staring at on CAD for months get built and to be able to assemble it myself. 

I would absolutely recommend doing a Professional Training Year, not just to enhance technical skills and knowledge but to develop soft skills, which at times can be more important. This includes the ability to present yourself and your ideas in front of people who have more experience, network with directors and managers and adapt to new environments quickly. 

Looking to the future

Having arrived at university as an anxious 17-year-old, I have gained confidence in myself, made lifelong friends, had memorable experiences and taken a new outlook on life. I have learnt many skills, such as driving, competitive target archery, presentation, professionalism and report writing – and how to be an adult! I believe in myself more than ever. I’m considering doing postgraduate study when I finish my course, and I would like to work part-time as a research assistant.


Discover more about our School of Mechanical Engineering Sciences and our Aerospace Engineering BEng (Hons)/MEng course.

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