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Madalina Juganariu

Madalina JuganariuMy name is Madalina Juganariu and I am originally from Timisoara, Romania. I come from a Computer Science background having studied Maths and Informatics at Grigore Moisil Highschool in Timisoara. After deciding that I want to go and study abroad in the UK, I have looked at various Universities and courses. So I came across Northumbria’s website which looked very professional and had all the information that I was looking for. The course I chose, Web design and development, looked very appealing as it combined programming with design and other modules which helped me develop various useful skills.

Before arriving in Newcastle I was mostly worried about not being able to make friends quickly, as I didn’t know anyone here and I was far away from home. But as soon as I went to the Induction week at University I was pleasantly surprised to see that everyone was really friendly from teachers to other staff, helping me with any questions I had. I also had the chance to familiarise myself with the beautiful campus and meet some of my course mates. Also during the Induction week I went to a presentation where I learned a lot about the University’s history, but also about Newcastle and I have met and socialised with many other students from all over the world.

I originally arrived in the UK with about £1500. My accommodation was £300/month excluding any bills. I was living in a four bedroom house, and my three other housemates were all students. The bills were around £50/month each, this includes internet, water, TV licence, gas and electricity. We used to pay around £70/month during the winter period as we kept the heating on for a little bit longer around 4 hours/day. I have spent around £100-£150/month for food because I didn’t really know how to cook, so I used to buy ready meals. I didn’t go out much in the first year, but now I go out once a week and I spend around £40 each time.

Overall in my first year, my parents’ were sending me around £600/month and that was enough to pay for the rent, bills, food, clothes and other basics, considering I didn’t go out too much. In my second year I decided to live in the same house as the house and the area were rather nice. I got the hotel job that I mentioned before which help me earn around £500/month depending on the number of hours I used to work. I usually had a day off from University a week so I managed to work and study at the same time. At this point I didn’t rely much on my parents’ financial help anymore.

My third year was a placement year. This time I found a placement quite quickly as I got the job from the first interview I have been to. The University organised some lectures where it explained what to expect from this placement year and advised everyone to apply for one early in the year. They help each individual with their CV and also sent relevant job adverts. The course also helped developing essential skills which were crucial at my job interview during the technical test. The company I applied to was called Enigma Interactive and it was a web development company based in Newcastle. I decided to do my placement in Newcastle as I really love and enjoy living here and it was also voted the number 1 city in the UK for students. The placement doesn’t have to be necessary in Newcastle or even in the UK, it can be anywhere in the world as long as it is a relevant job for your course.

Enigma has offered me the salary of £15,225/year excludes the bonus which was £1400, but the most valuable thing was the great experience and skills I have earned throughout the year. Apart from further developing the programming and designing skills I gained time management skills, customer service skills and also I had to work under pressure and deliver high quality work on time.

Overall the course at University had helped me gained a variety of skills throughout the years. The lectures were well presented and there were students from other courses taking the same module as me and my course mates had. I occasionally had some questions but the teachers were helpful in answering them, offering even the possibility to book an appointment to see them for an in-depth explanation. I had around 20 hours of teaching a week this includes lectures and seminars. Apart from that I used to study around 10 hours/week working on different projects for the University. I did most of my work at home but the University also offers great facilities with computers and all the software I needed to complete my projects. The campus also has free wifi so the students can bring their own laptops. Any technical questions I had about connecting to the wifi or any other stuff I contacted the IT helpline which is open 24/7.

In my spare time I go to the Northumbria’s gym and I am also planning to join the swimming club at the University. I also took part in University’s open days, where I had the opportunity to talk to potential students about my course and about student life in general. My plans for the future are to get a job in the industry after I graduate and possibly do a Masters degree.

If you are planning to come and study in the UK at Northumbria I will advise you not to worry about not being able to make friends as you will see that everyone is helpful and friendly. Also make sure to join societies in order to find even more friends. When applying for a job, if you do not have much experience you may want to consider doing some voluntary work as there are plenty of opportunities for that. 

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