"The course at Surrey includes a lot of research methods training which is really useful and transferable to loads of graduate jobs."
Placement companyUniversity of Surrey
"I chose to come to Surrey because of its place in the league tables, as one of the UK’s top universities. The opportunity to do a Professional Training placement was also really important to me to get experience in a supportive environment, and was a defining feature of my degree.
My course was really interesting from the get-go, and I enjoyed getting to know the town of Guildford.
Sociology covers a wide range of topics which are very interesting. The course at Surrey includes a lot of research methods training which is really useful and transferable to loads of graduate jobs.
All of the academic staff on my course are really friendly and only an email away, you can also pop in and see a lecturer if their office door is open. I felt really supported by the Department of Sociology during my degree.
I lived in Manor Park accommodation in my first and second year and loved it. The room was big and well heated, and if there were any problems they were sorted quickly. My bathroom was also clean (not as common as you’d think!). Manor Park also has a café called Heart and Soul, where I would sit and revise if I was sick at looking at my desk!
The flats I lived in felt like home and I really enjoyed my time there.
I was the Vice President of Pole Fitness in my second year which gave me invaluable involvement in student life and a whole new group of friends - it was also a great way to de-stress. I’m also the Editorial Director at SUBCULTURED, which is a fashion magazine and a society on campus. I’ve been in that role for two years and enjoyed every minute of it.
The best things about life in Surrey are how close it is to London, without being a huge city itself, and the amount of vegetarian/vegan choice in places to eat in town- that might seem like an odd one but was really important to me. Mostly when I’m on campus I’m studying, but I love to go to the lake on a sunny day to chill out. My favourite coffee shop is Lakeside because it’s affordable and there’s loads of options.
I did my Professional Training placement as a Research Assistant in the Department of Sociology and the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP). This was at the University of Surrey so I was still on campus. The work involved doing qualitative social research and the main highlight was all the research skills I obtained. These skills will be really useful in lots of graduate jobs such as social or market research. I also got to go to really interesting external events, travel to London and Stoke-on-Trent, and meet loads of different researchers, each with their own interesting focus. Other than the research skills, I learned how to behave in a professional environment and at external events.
On my placement I developed my teamwork skills and got experience working with real research participants.
Whilst on placement I spoke to a ‘visiting tutor’ three times from the University. This was really helpful not just in checking in with how I was finding placement, but also how my experience was shaping my goals for the future. I would definitely recommend doing a Professional Training placement to other students. It was a defining feature of my experience at Surrey and gave me invaluable skills which you can’t get from just studying. It will also look great on my CV, which is always a bonus.
My best moment at Surrey so far was when I gave a short presentation about a project I worked on during my placement year at CUSP.
The project had won funding with the University’s Sustainability research theme, and the event was celebrating all the work the theme had funded. I was very nervous because I was speaking to researchers, academics and university staff, but it went really well. It was a great moment because it felt like the conclusion to my placement year and everything I had achieved on it.
I think university life can be very challenging at times, and being at Surrey has made me more resilient, able to deal with problems, and more confident in my own ability. Importantly, it showed me that life doesn’t always go as planned, and I think I’m a happier person for knowing more about the world, and being slightly more spontaneous!
I’d like to do social research when I graduate, which relates directly to my degree.
My time at Surrey stretched me and taught me a lot about myself. It also provided invaluable opportunities, and showed me that I can do exactly what I want if I strive for it. The university was a brilliant source of support throughout my four years, and my course and Department were excellent. Not only did I enjoy my degree subject but I also loved getting involved in societies and the wider university community. It has been an experience that has changed me for the better, and I will never forget it."