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Bethany OKeefe

Social Work

Where are you from?

Newcastle upon Tyne

Why did you choose Northumbria University, Newcastle?

I chose Northumbria University because of the high quality facilities and excellent location that is the North East. Being from Newcastle, I had the choice to go and study at any other university but chose to stay within my home city. This is because of the fantastic reputation the Northumbria Social Work degree has amongst higher education facilities all around the country and also the city of Newcastle allows for the perfect student experience being an incredibly vibrant and cultural city.

What do you think of Newcastle and our region and what are your favourite things to do?

Newcastle upon Tyne is a lively, spirited and innovative city filled with possibilities. The bustling City Centre is filled with various bars, clubs and restaurants and all surrounded by friendly and welcoming people. Not only that, the shopping facilities of Eldon Square, Northumberland Street and the Metro Centre mean that you are never short of anywhere to shop! The beauty of the famous Quayside can only be witnessed for itself and a late night walk when the bridges are lit up is a must. Newcastle is the perfect place to balance your studies with your social life providing you with the ultimate student experience.

What has surprised you most about living in Newcastle and this region? What has impressed you most?

The thing which has surprised me most about living as a student in Newcastle is how accommodating the whole city is of students. From student discounts, student shopping nights and student club nights, the city caters so much for people in higher education. People from all over the country are welcomed and accepted by the locals and as a result, they grow to love the city as much as Geordies do.

Did you find Northumbria University welcoming? Was it easy to fit in?

Northumbria University was extremely welcoming and my transition from A Levels to Degree Level was very comfortable thanks to them. My lecturers were organised and efficient in my induction week and all my little questions were answered by the staff and students. Sports teams and societies also provide a great way to meet people and get adjusted and the Student Union staff are always there promoting their services and support.

What have you enjoyed most about coming to Northumbria University?

I have enjoyed being taught by some incredibly qualified and skilled lecturers. Hearing their experiences and opinions have greatly contributed to my learning and are absolutely invaluable. Having the opportunity to interact and be taught by some experts within the field of Social Work is an opportunity which is second to none, the insights they can provide into the social care cannot be taught in any textbook.

Who has helped you most since you came to Northumbria?

My course mates have been the people who have helped me the most since I came to Northumbria, The sense of community amongst students is very strong regardless of what course you attend, everyone is there for each other and proud to study at Northumbria University.

Who has inspired you most at Northumbria University?

My course leader for third year Justine Stewart has been the person who has inspired me most throughout my time at Northumbria. She demonstrates a great balance between lecturer and support system and demonstrates a knowledge of social work and legislation which is second to none. Being taught by her has helped me shape myself into the Student Social Worker I want to be.

What is your favourite place on campus?

Habita is my favourite place on campus as it provides a relaxed and entertaining environment within the uni where you can switch off in between lecturers or at the end of a long day and puts on a great St Patricks Day event every year.

Have you joined any sports teams, clubs or been involved in any volunteer projects? Tells us about the highlights?

Although I am not a member of any sports teams, going along to support Team Northumbria at Stan Calvert or Clash of the Titans is a great student experience and I recommend it to anyone.

What is the best thing about your course?

The best thing about my course is the invaluable insight we get into the social work sector from extremely experienced and knowledgeable professionals. Also, we regularly have guest speakers, services users or organisations in providing training, information or insights into the experiences.

What are the most valuable lessons you have learnt to date?

The most valuable lesson I have learned to date is that you get out of a degree what you put into it. If you are willing to work hard, read, stay positive and remember to allow yourself time to relax then you will be successful in what you want to do. Also organisation is key in doing well and staying on track and it is essential you do this in order to reach your full potential

What do you want to do in the future? What skills have you learned/improved that you think will be of most use in your future career?

In the future I hope to practice as a Social Worker for a not for profit organisation, specialising in the field of substance misuse and addiction. Whilst attending the Social Work degree at Northumbria I have learned to be resilient, emotionally intelligent and to fight for social justice where-ever possible.

Have you worked on any projects with businesses or been on a placement? What were your most memorable experiences?

I have successfully completed my second year placement as a student Social Worker and am about to begin my third year practice placement. My most memorable experiences of this time were having the opportunity to interact with services users and use the theory I had learned in university and apply it to real life situations. Having people let you in their life at their most vulnerable moments is a privilege you aren't granted every day and I will always be grateful to the service users that helped me pass my practice placement by allowing me to be their Student Social Worker.

If you could offer some advice to students thinking of coming to study here what would you say?

My advice would be if you are hard working, passionate, friendly and motivated then you can succeed as a student at Northumbria University. Put 100% into your degree and in will give you that back once you have qualified. To anyone unsure as to whether Newcastle upon Tyne is the city of study for them then I would say Newcastle is a city for anyone and everyone and you will fall in love with it just as much as the people born here, I guarantee it.

How do you feel you have changed as a person since being at Northumbria University, Newcastle (e.g. confidence)?

Since beginning my degree at Northumbria University I am a happier, smarter and more world-wise and mature person. I have developed resiliency and gained a new perspective of life from both my course and living out of my family home. I have grown as a person and gained skills I would not have developed had I not come to Northumbria University and I will always be grateful to them for the important part they have played in my not only my future, but my life.

If you had 3 words to sum up your time with us what would they be?

Valuable, Fulfilling, Irreplaceable.

Would you recommend Northumbria University to a friend?

Yes.


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