BSc (Hons) Environmental Health (placement at South Tyneside Council)
Completion Year: 2009
What appealed to you about Northumbria University / studying in Newcastle?
I decided to study at Northumbria University because the Environmental Health course was accredited by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) and it gave me the opportunity to live in Newcastle. I am originally come from a small town in Derbyshire and although I liked living at home, I thought it was time for a new challenge and Newcastle upon Tyne is a lively city that has not disappointed.
What was it about the course / subject area that particularly appealed?
Environmental Health is a very varied profession with opportunities in both the public and the private sector. I chose Environmental Health because it is not a traditional sit behind the desk kind of profession. It involves aspects of inspection, investigation, enforcement and education which all interest me. Ultimately, environmental health professions perform a valuable public health service that improves the well-being and quality of life of the public.
What qualifications did you have?
I applied to Northumbria University through UCAS in 2005 following a gap year.
How did you feel during your first week at Northumbria?
During my first week at Northumbria I remember feeling nervous and excited at the same time. I decided to throw myself into fresher’s weeks, met loads of people and had a really good time. I was initially nervous about meeting others on my course, but the group gelled really well within the first few weeks and we remain close friends today.
What do you like most about the course?
The thing I like most about my course is the people and the lecturers. I also enjoy learning about environmental protection and would like to specialise in this area one day.
Can you give an example of a piece of work you’ve been involved with recently and what it involves?
I recently handed in a group-report based on an investigation into ‘clean-label’ starches to determine if they are viable alternatives to modified starches in frozen food products. The investigation involved working in the food laboratory and analysing tomato sauces for their freeze-thaw stability.
The Environmental Health course at Northumbria is varied and interesting covering aspects of food safety, health and safety, housing, public health, health development and environmental protection (not all within the same year!). The course has been challenging at times but definitely helped me during my placement year in the ‘real world’.
Do you have the opportunity for any work placements during your course?
The Environmental Health course at Northumbria University allows you to take a work placement at the end of your second year or continue into your final year. The course leaders help you with finding placements within the public and private sector.
What do you do when you’re not studying?
When I’m not studying for my degree, I am usually out with friends. Newcastle has a lot to offer a student and that there is always something to do or something going on. I also have a part-time job in retail to help will bills etc… which I enjoy and doesn’t impact too heavily on my studies.
What’s your accommodation like?
My accommodation at the moment is amazing. I share a flat with two of my best friends in Jesmond, which is a few minutes walk away from the centre of town and you can roll out of bed at 8.45 and still manage to get in for 9 o’clock lectures. Perfect.
What would you like to do when you graduate?
When I graduate I would like to travel for a while with the money I saved from my placement year. When I return to England, I aim to look for jobs in the public sector (local authorities) ideally in the Tyne and Wear area. I have also been looking into job opportunities abroad in Canada and Australia.
How do you get on with your tutors?
I like to think I get on well with the tutors on my course as we have known each-other now for over three years! Every-time there is an occasion like the end-of-term, end of exams, Christmas etc… our tutors always come along for a celebratory drink. All of them are easy to talk to especially if you have any problems with an assignment and sometimes go out of their way to help you.
Have you used Student Services during your course?
The only student services I have used so far is the library and the student union. I have however made an appointment with the Careers Service to discuss my options closer to graduation.
What three words would you use to summarise your time here?
Do you have any advice for anyone applying for your course, or is there anything else you’d like to mention that you haven’t had a chance to write about already?
The only advice I would give to prospective students is to apply for work placements early. I believe that the practical experience I gained on my placement year has helped me in my final year of study.
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