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Student Testimonials

Please see the below testimonials from students about their experience of the Add+vantage modules offered by the Employbaility Team:

if you were involved in a CUSU Add+vantage module or a General Schools placement and would like to complete a testimonial, please complete the following questions for your opportunity: CUSU Add+vantage Module questions or General Schools placement questions. Please return all completed questions to employability.su@coventry.ac.uk

 

Kiera Donohoe

What module were you involved in?

I was involved in the module Volunteering in Schools and I completed this module over all three years.

What were the best bits of experience?

The best part of the module was the hands on experience that came as part and parcel of the module. It gave the opportunity to fill out my CV to show that I have actively engaged in work in preparation for my future career. Also the relationship that you create with your lecturers is wonderful as they are equally committed to you and the schools that you are involved in.

What skills have you learnt from the experience?

The skills that I have gained from this experience have been leadership as I have had to take control of groups of children and also planning as I have been responsible for the learning that students were to undertake therefore I had to be prepared. Overall these skills have aided in my becoming a better practitioner.

What would you say to encourage other students to join the CUSU add+vantage programme?

I would encourage any student to undertake this module if they have an interest or love for working with children. It offers the opportunity to get a proper insight into what is involved when working in schools and gives you the unique chance to explore and learn about the multiple roles that are involved in schools. This all adds up to creating invaluable experience for your future career.

Has the module encouraged you or helped you to decide your future career path?

This module has given great encouragement to my future career by instilling a deep passion for working with children within a primary school environment.

What were the overall benefits of the module?

The benefits of this module are the chances for hands on experience without there being any pressure on your studying as it is well integrated into your timetable. Additionally this ties in with learning how to plan as you have to ensure that you balance work and study.

Lucy Kennet

What module were you involved in?

A209CSU - Sign Language Skills

What were the best bits of experience?

I’m a shy person and didn’t know anyone before I started the module, so I think the best bit for me was in week 6 or 7 when I looked around at everyone else in the classroom and realised that I felt really happy and comfortable in the class, and that everyone appeared to be enjoying it as much as I was. I also loved meeting Marian, and learning about her experiences, as she has been deaf her whole life. She is a great teacher, and a genuinely lovely person. I really enjoyed this module and looked forward to going to it every week!

What skills have you learnt from the experience?

The main skill I learnt were the basics of BSL. Before I began the module, I knew a few letters of the alphabet, and three or four signs in French Sign Language (from my time at a Scout camp in France). Now, after completing this module, I can happily fingerspell the alphabet, and sign basic things such as simple who, what, where, when, why, how questions, food, drink, numbers, the time, days of the week, months, and describe my family. The module has also improved my confidence, as I have had to meet new people and try new things, so I now feel much happier if I had to do that again.

What would you say to encourage other students to join the CUSU add+vantage programme?

I’m not sure that any of the other universities I visited when deciding which one to go to gave such a great opportunity to enhance your CV, so make the most of this opportunity! Take a module that will give you a new skill (like I did with Sign Language Skills), or that will improve on one of your weaker skills, so that it’s no longer a weakness, as it will improve you CV and make you stand out.

Has the module encouraged you or helped you to decide your future career path?

I study Geography and Natural Hazards, and want to go into volcanology or seismology, so this module hasn’t impacted my career path, however it has made me think about the difficulties that Deaf people face, as well as the amazing culture they have.

What were the overall benefits of the module?

The main benefit for me is that I know and understand the basics of BSL, as well as some of the history of BSL. I have also had the opportunity to meet other people from the university who are interested in BSL, who I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise, as they’re on completely different courses to me, as well as meet Marian.

Dongjun Shim

What module were you involved in?

I participated in Students’ Union Work Experience: Project Management; a project to promote SU to students, helping to increase participation.

What were the best bits of experience?

Overall, it was a good experience especially meeting new people while researching information.

What skills have you learnt from the experience?

A. IT skill I researched CUSU information through internet and used Microsoft project to produce the pamphlet.
B. Interview skill I had an interview with CUSU staff to collect more information. It helps me develop how to organise the interview questions in a logical order and how to process an interview smoothly.
C. Communication skill I improved the communication skills as communicating with new people and interviewing tutors.
D. Design skill I used my design skill to design the pamphlet and poster. It helps me delivery information visual-effectively.

What would you say to encourage other students to join the CUSU add+vantage programme?

It enables students to develop their skills while participating in the module.

Has the module encouraged you or helped you to decide your future career path?

It has not contributed to my future career development directly but helped me develop my skills which are beneficial for my career.

What were the overall benefits of the module?

Even though, I am a student in Coventry University, I have no idea about CUSU and its roles. This activity let me be interested in SU and encourages me to get involved in the SU activity in next year.

Yongchen Zai

What module were you involved in?

A304CSU Students Union Work Experience: Project Placement - Volunteering

What were the best bits of experience?

Very good atmosphere with discussion in class.

What skills have you learnt from the experience?

Teamwork skills and Communication skills.

What would you say to encourage other students to join the CUSU add+vantage programme?

This is a very very interesting module, which combines theory with practical experience to build up the student’s abundant uni life, especially for international students.

Has the module encouraged you or helped you to decide your future career path?

Yes. This module helped by using SWOT method and SMART targets to help us have a clear target in the future.

What were the overall benefits of the module?

Firstly, this course allows us to adapt the placement well in advance, then, I made good friends from this class, it can improve the range of social and precious experiences from placement. Besides that, the module tutor Laura and my placement manager Sophie are both very kind and patient, they help me a lot whether in class or after class. I am very appreciative about that!

Please see the below testimonials from students about their experience of General School Placement opportunities offered through the Employability Team:

Aleksandra Konkel

What encouraged you to get involved in Schools Placement opportunities?

I thought that it could be a great experience because I really love children so I decided to go with her and I’ll see if this is for me and here I am!

What were the best bits of experience?

I think the most remarkable is the fact that there are children from different countries and I’m so impressed that all these little humans are so brave to face all of these new things like new culture, language etc. alone because at school they are without their parents.

What skills have you learnt from the experience?

Definitely patience and composure.

What would you say to encourage other students to join the Schools Placements programme?

I think that this is a fantastic opportunity to look at life from the other perspective. In the way how children look. They enjoy little things all the time but all of them are also so sensitive and this is beautiful. When you spend time with them you feel like you are in a different world, you don’t think about your problems, you feel desire to help them as much as you can.

Has the experience encouraged you or helped you to decide your future career path?

A lot! I’m a Sport Management student and in the future I want to open my own club which will train children so any experience with all of these little humans is fantastic experience what can be really useful in my career after the uni.

What were the overall benefits of the placement opportunity?

As I mentioned above – I started to look at my life from different perspective. I saw that sometimes I just think that I need to enjoy everything what comes to my life and feel carefree. Obviously, this experience in voluntary sector will look great in my CV.

Alexandra Negotia

What encouraged you to get involved in Schools Placement opportunities?

Getting experience working with children; Awareness that I could help youngest Romanian children to do better in school activities.

Were you pleased with the overall organisation of the placement? If so, why?

I was pleased with the overall organisation because:
- I received all the information I needed on my training;
- The schedule was adjusted to my classes;
- The main teacher gave me freedom to organise the structure of my hours.

What were the best bits of experience?

On the first place, for the first time in my life, I felt almost like a teacher. All children (and other teachers) called me “Miss”. So I knew I can have a real impact on those children, and I cannot compare this feeling with anything. Also, the kids were determinate to learn and we had little “talks” about life in England if they did good on the tasks I was choosing ( and they always did). So the beauty was, I was like a teacher, but also like a friend. And I received respect for that.

What skills have you learnt from the experience?

-time management ;
-decision making ;
-communication ;
-listening skills.

What would you say to encourage other students to join the Schools Placements programme?

It is a great experience. Leaving the fact that it shows you engage in extracurricular activities, it is a beautiful life experience. You get insights from an institution and feel part of something. You feel appreciate and increase your self-esteem. It may be confusing at the beginning, but you really receive all the support you need in order to better define your personal identity and start a professional identity.

Has the experience encouraged you or helped you to decide your future career path?

This experience was the first one in terms of working in a school. I did not consider (ever ) before working with children. This experience did not make me want to work in a school, but it made me want to get more experience with children. So I did other volunteers with primary school students and now I am strongly thinking that my professional path is going in this direction. In conclusion, it introduced me to a “world” I was not even aware that I may like. And it turned out that it may be the start point in my professional identity.

What were the overall benefits of the placement opportunity?

For me, the best feeling was helping children. I tried to support them improving their confidence and, without them knowing this, they helped me improve mine too. So I am more confident now, I have some insights from the U.K. primary school system and one valuable experience to write on my CV.

Waqar Arshad

What encouraged you to get involved in Schools Placement opportunities?

I have been interested in community/volunteer work since the start of my educational journey, was involved in volunteering work in my undergraduate degree as well. When I came to Coventry University, I came across the Employability Unit’s opportunities to get involved in community work. I decided to pursue Schools placement for two reasons. A) I wanted to make a difference in children’s life by helping them with their studies. B) I wanted to explore the British education system and compare it to my own country so that when I go back I can make a difference there as well, as I used to teach back home too.

Were you pleased with the overall organisation of the placement? If so, why?

Yes, I am really satisfied with my placement, it was a simple, and straight forward process. After the initial training, I waited for the DBS check. Once that was clear, I got an email with all the necessary details about the address and point of contact at the school. Arranged a meeting with the school representative, agreed on a time and day of my choice and started my placement. I like it specially because it was flexible and could be tailored to my choice. I could easily choose the days and time which do not conflict with my own study schedule.

What were the best bits of experience?

The most overwhelming experience for me was the knowledge that I was there to make a difference in student’s life. The times when I was able to help the student to understand and solve a mathematics question or when I was able to help them improve their reading skills were the best bits for me. I also enjoyed supervising them in their practical activities. For example, as part of the science lesson, they built umbrellas for themselves, and they were much indulged in the activity. They also had a day out in school garden to study the different types of plants and flowers. I enjoyed supervising them and learnt a lot myself as well about gardening,

What skills have you learnt from the experience?

The most overwhelming experience for me was the knowledge that I was there to make a difference in student’s life. The times when I was able to help the student to understand and solve a mathematics question or when I was able to help them improve their reading skills were the best bits for me. I also enjoyed supervising them in their practical activities. For example, as part of the science lesson, they built umbrellas for themselves, and they were much indulged in the activity. They also had a day out in school garden to study the different types of plants and flowers. I enjoyed supervising them and learnt a lot myself as well about gardening,

What skills have you learnt from the experience?

I have developed multiple skills as a result of this placement. Conducting class activities, and managing difficult students enhanced my management and leadership skills. Interacting with students and staff helped polish my communication skills as well. Managing my own study schedule together with this placement, help me better manage my time and I learnt that I could maximize my time effectively if I properly plan ahead. I was also able to learn about effective conflict management when helping difficult students in the class. I enhanced my coaching skills as a result of helping students with elements they found difficult to understand.

What would you say to encourage other students to join the Schools Placements programme?

I would say that studying for an undergraduate or postgraduate degree at the university is not the sole purpose of the educational journey. Our aim should be to bring the best out of ourselves while studying. And one way to achieve this is by helping others in any way we can, and also maximizing our time at the university to gain as much transferable skills as we can. Placement at a school is a very interesting and constructive way of gaining all this. Teaching is a very noble profession and the basis of all the future development. We are going to be teachers in future in some capacity no matter what career paths we pursue, and therefore these placements would always help us in one way or the other.

Has the experience encouraged you or helped you to decide your future career path?

Yes, it has encouraged me to be a teacher in any capacity. I now try to help my colleagues in our group study sessions as well. It will always encourage me to help and teach my colleagues wherever I can for my own and my colleagues’ personal and professional development.

What were the overall benefits of the placement opportunity?

I was able to develop and learn the skills of communication, teamwork, time management, leadership and management. I was able to make a difference in children’s lives, therefore felt as a useful member of the community. It will also increase my employability after I graduate into a competitive job market.