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Helen Dewell

BSc (hons) Sport Coaching

What appealed to you about Northumbria University / studying in Newcastle?

Studying at Northumbria University appealed to me as when I first applied I was competing as an elite level gymnast and I trained in Durham. Newcastle also has a great nightlife reputation and a great social network. It's a bigger city than Durham so I was also looking forward to that. Many of my friends also attended Northumbria and I'd heard about its great reputation and about the new exciting facilities it was about to introduce in 2010.

What was it about the course / subject area that particularly appealed?

I was recommended on to the course from the Course leader, as I had started studying nursing and I realised this was not the career I wanted. I missed coaching and being involved within sport and that was when I realised I wanted a career in coaching rather than in nursing.  I was informed about all the coaching placements and practicals the course offered and also how the course was flexible with competitive students and allowing students to take time away to study to compete in competitions.  

What qualifications did you have?

When I applied for nursing I applied through UCAS, however to transfer on to the coaching course I reapplied though UCAS but as this was a late application I was then put through clearing as the interest on the course was so high.  

How did you feel during your first week at Northumbria?

I enjoyed my first week at University. I was able to interact with all students on my course and within our guidance tutor groups. We also went to St James Park to undertake a pub style quiz as an ice breaker to get to know our lectures and other peers, although I do feel I missed out on night life as I lived at home in Durham not in halls with my other peers.

What do you like most about the course?

The course is flexible and is interactive with other students, therefore we are able to share ideas and interests. The highlight of the first year at university was the field trip we went on in May. We were put into groups of about seven, mixed with other sport students. This helped you to be able meet new people and the team had to work together in various different tasks.

Can you give an example of a piece of work you’ve been involved with recently?

We had to write a critical review about student employability. We had to use the library and access academic sources using NORA and Google scholar. The University work has been good, however it does get hectic at times especially around the end of first term.

How do you get on with your tutors?

Yes the tutors on the Sports coaching are very relaxed which helps you to feel more at ease and able to talk to them about any issues. All the tutors get to know you individually also.

Do you have the opportunity for any work placements during your course?

Yes, in the second year we undertake a year long placement, which requires us to do 72 hours.

What do you do when you’re not studying?

I work part-time back in Durham on weekends working in a restaurant. I am no longer competing at international level gymnastics,  I am however hoping to join the University's gymnastics team in the coming weeks. I also coach on a regular basis. I live in Newcastle now with the nursing students I lived with from halls. This means I am able to socialise more with my peers and am able to go on nights out etc.

What’s your accommodation like?

I live in a house in Heaton. It’s lovely though finding it hard to find time to do the daily house chores and taking on the responsibilities of owning a house.

What would you like to do when you graduate?

When I graduate, I would like to maybe travel and see what other options there are in other counties. I may then return to England and undertake a PGCE and become a PE teacher.

Have you used Student Services during your course?

I am dyslexic; therefore I am undergoing tests to see what support and help I can have with my university studies.

Do you have any advice for anyone applying for your course, or for university in general?

I was in touch with the senior lecturer for sports coaching programme so was able to contact him with any problems or queries.

What three words would you use to describe your time at Northumbria?

Unforgettable, Enriching, Supportive (from peers and University).


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