Alice Copperwheat’s Placement Year Blog

Hi I’m Alice Copperwheat and I am a third year (not final year) zoology student currently on placement in Greece. For those of you who read the blog last year, you may remember my 2nd Year Blog and so, welcome back! For new readers, nice to meet you! For all of you, both returning readers and new visitors, I aim to use my posts to give you an insight into my adventures and experiences on placement. My placement is with Archipelagos, Institute of Marine Conservation based on the small island of Samos in Greece. I will use this post to talk about how I found the placement, helpful advice for students applying for placements and a quick bit of information about my first month.

First of all, how I came across my placement. When applying for Manchester I didn’t apply to do a placement year, however in the interview I was offered it and I gladly accepted. Nonetheless, I still had to achieve at least 60% in first year in order to remain on the course. After getting over this hurdle, the dreaded search for placements then began. I didn’t find it as hard as it was made out to be mainly due to how helpful the placement office were. The first placement I applied for was in November, with a science communications/media company. Unfortunately I did not get this placement but they gave me lots of helpful feedback. Finding a placement is competitive so don’t worry if you get rejections, just take the positive notes from them and use them to help you in future applications. I found out about my current placement around December from a list sent out by the placement office. I applied and quickly had a Skype interview lined up. I made sure I tidied my room and looked presentable, however the interview ended up being voice only! The interview took place mid way through my January exams, which did add to the stress, but luckily I got the placement. This took a weight off my shoulders as it meant I no longer had to search for placements whilst balancing university work. Don’t get put off if it takes you a long time to find a placement, one of my friends got hers in August.

Next, a bit of advice and knowledge about placements. When you find and accept a placement you will stop receiving emails from the placement office and thus you might, like me, always be wondering what other opportunities you might have missed. The best thing to do is to try and put this to the back of your mind or you will always worry. Some organizations, like the one I am currently on, take placement students throughout the year so you do not have to rush to meet the deadline and can find out about other placements if you so wish. Definitely take the time to think about where you are going and do lots of research into different placements available, you can also search for your own placement instead of just sticking to the ones sent out by university. Making sure you will enjoy what you are doing on your placement is crucial to your experience. Also, I truly believe that what you put in to your placement is what you get out of it.

Finally, my time here so far…when I arrived in Greece it was definitely a shock. I am used to travelling and meeting new people, however living and working in a very remote place with people from all over the world can take some getting used to.  Nevertheless, I quickly adapted and threw myself into work. For the first 5 weeks I was located at the main base on Samos, I then moved to an even smaller island called Oinousses and have been here 5 weeks now. I will talk more about my first 5 weeks on Samos in my next post and about the last 5 weeks in Oinousses in a future post. I really can’t believe how quickly my placement has gone, I’m already nearly a third of the way through. My final comment is that anyone who is contemplating doing a placement, do it, you won’t regret it.

Stay tuned for more of Alice’s Aegean Adventures!

p.s. since starting my placement I have set up my own blog to tell others  all about it. The blog includes posts about my day-to-day life on placement, my adventures and also scientific posts that are not only interesting, but also relevant to my placement. With the Manchester Life Sciences blogs I aim to summarize my experiences on placement, however if you would like more detail then follow this link to my blog: Alice’s Aegean Adventures. 

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