Boryana’s experience as a Interior Design intern in Spain

Boryana is a second year Interior Design student, she shared her experience of what it was like working on an overseas placement at Siesta Homes in Marbella, Spain.

Why did you decide to travel abroad with DMU Global on an overseas placement?

From the start of my second year, I knew I wanted to take a placement year to boost my CV and gain valuable industry experience. I wanted to work on real projects with real clients and see the behind-the-scenes processes. I chose to seek this experience outside the UK, as I eventually plan to return to my home country, and the UK’s design and engineering approaches are quite different from those in the rest of Europe. During a lecture on employability, a third-year student who had done an overseas placement shared her positive experience and detailed the company she worked for, inspiring me to apply there as well.

Did you notice any cultural differences whilst abroad that you needed to adapt to?

Yes, I noticed several cultural differences. Spain is beautiful but quite different from both the UK and my home country. The pace of life is slower, with shops closing between 2PM and 5PM and a general lack of urgency. Public transport was a challenge; buses required cash payments, only stopped if signalled, and often didn’t stop if nearly full. The frequent local celebrations were a memorable experience. The food, primarily tapas, required me to request full portions at restaurants. Additionally, Spanish people are generally louder and more lively, especially in groups, which took some getting used to as they are less mindful of others’ need for rest or work.

What was the most interesting thing that you learnt as part of your placement abroad?

As an interior design student, the most interesting aspect of my placement was learning how the business operates differently from what we are taught at university. I gained insights into project presentation, client communication, team collaboration, workflow, and the design process. Effective communication proved to be the most crucial skill for an interior designer, essential for project completion and client approval.

Were there any local foods or drinks that you discovered and enjoyed?

I discovered many wonderful restaurants and bars, especially along the beach. Bungalow, with its impressive design and relaxed atmosphere, became a favourite spot for evening wine and exceptional food. Tricadero Estepona, with its unique design and outdoor garden with a pool, was another favourite. The Golden Mile, particularly Puente Romano, offered a scenic walk with high-end restaurants, bars, shops, and stunning views, making for a fantastic experience.

What are the top skills you have improved from your experience?

During my placement, I significantly improved my adaptability to new environments, people, and lifestyles. My technical skills in Microsoft Office, SketchUp, and Enscape advanced considerably. I also enhanced my time management and attention to detail. Most importantly, I developed a deep understanding of commercial awareness, learning how to manage client relationships, work towards company profitability, and effectively market the business and its services. This business insight was both new and fascinating to me.

Has your DMU Global experience inspired you to pursue further international experiences?

Absolutely. If given the opportunity and resources, I would eagerly pursue more international experiences. Exploring new places and cultures has been incredibly inspiring and motivating, driving me to continually improve both personally and professionally.

DMU Student Shaun secures dream placement with BAE Systems

Securing a placement at the largest defence contractor in Europe, BAE Systems, is a dream come true for Aeronautical Engineering BEng/ MEng student Shaun Goodwin.

The 20-year-old from Nottingham had previously missed out on a degree apprenticeship with the company before enrolling at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

Keen to prove himself, Shaun kept himself in BAE System’s talent pool by updating his details in the company’s prospective list each month believing a new opportunity would come up through the university.

That would prove to be the case and after a year-and-a-half of studying, and a trip to Toulouse courtesy of DMU Global, Shaun’s qualities shone through and he secured a year-long placement which he hopes will launch his career to new heights.

He will be working on a variety of projects, from initial design to the building and engineering of concepts.

“I’m not afraid to say when I got the call and heard I secured the position, I phoned my dad and shed a couple of tears. It’s something I worked really hard for and I’m very proud.

“In terms of experience and how the placement will look on my CV, it’s an absolute game-changer and a pivotal moment in my career.”

Interested in engineering from an early age, Shaun helped his dad build a supercharged trike based on the classic Volkswagen Beetle with his dad in their garage.

When his plans to do a degree apprenticeship with BAE Systems didn’t work out, Shaun enrolled at DMU, having been impressed by the positive vibe on campus.

It proved to be the right move and, with access to state-of-the-art equipment including a flight simulator, he has gone from strength to strength, securing firsts across his modules.

He said: “It was devastating having the degree apprenticeship offers fall through but I wanted to keep as many doors open as possible and looked at universities as a backup.

“I remember going to a DMU Open Day and thinking that it was the happiest environment. People were eager to help and provide information and that’s all I wanted really.

“If you had asked me a year and a half ago what I’d have been doing, not a single detail would have been what I predicted.”

Shaun’s university experience was further bolstered this academic year when he joined students on the November 2023 DMU Global trip to Toulouse.

France’s fourth-largest city is considered one of the world capitals in aeronautical technology and is home to various museums and engineering institutions amongst its striking Renaissance architecture and rich culture.

Shaun and the group enjoyed tours around the Aerostructures facility of Collins Aerospace, the Airbus Toulouse Blagnac Tour, the Aeroscopia Museum and the ISAE SUPAERO, the city’s internationally renowned aeronautical university where visitors can admire the decommissioned jets dotted around campus.

He said: “We were in Toulouse for three or four days and the people were super friendly and everyone we spoke to was super patient while we spoke in English.

“Collin’s Aerospace was a particular highlight. It’s such a hub for leading engineers in the field and I was able to chat to one of their lead engineers who moved over from the UK, so that was eye-opening.

“Being up close and personal with the Rolls-Royce engines, walking around the factory floor in the boots and equipment and chatting one-on-one with their engineers really stuck out to me.

“With DMU being such a diverse university, the trip was a great opportunity to mix with different cultures. The two lads I shared accommodation with were Muslim, so I asked a lot of questions about their religion, and we were able to have a lot of deep conversations which I would have missed if I hadn’t gone.”

Joanna receives the first ever Green Global Grant to study on exchange!

Joanna Baginska is a second year Advertising and Marketing Communications student who is studying on exchange at Rennes School of Business in France. She was the first ever Green Global Grant recipient who travelled in September 2024 to Rennes by train. Here are her reflections on the experience…

Every product and service we consume leaves marks on the environment, contributing to pollution, climate change, and exploitation of non-renewable resources. In contemplating how individuals can positively impact the earth’s situation, I found myself with a choice in September 2023 when I needed to travel from London to Rennes for my year studying abroad. Opting for a train journey instead of a plane became my way of contributing to a more sustainable future.

Let us start with the benefits of taking a train. Unsurprisingly, planes emit more carbon than trains, from thirty to fifty times more. In other words, the carbon an aircraft uses from the London to Paris route could provide enough for the train to travel through London, Brussels, Amsterdam, Cologne, and Paris! Trains provide not only environmentally friendly options but also superior comfort. With more space to move around, the ability to stand any time, and less restriction on items, train travel enhances the overall experience! Also, more comfort in trains could help people who feel claustrophobic or uncomfortable with pressure in the cabin. Alternatively, taking a train allowed me to see beautiful and various things, from passing through small villages in the UK, to big cities like Paris and London, which would be impossible to see if I took a flight.  

While benefits are significant, it is essential to acknowledge some drawbacks. In the UK, prices for planes and trains are pretty similar, but depending on the route you take by train there can be multiple connections. Based on my research the entire journey by flight (including getting to the airport, checking-in etc.) might take five to seven hours! Whilst, a train with fewer checks and less waiting will likely take a bit longer due to the slower pace of travel. As a result, it could discourage people from travelling more sustainably due to the longer journey time and perceived lack of comfort. 

On the whole, I was happy to travel by train and learn about positives and negatives of choosing a more sustainable mode of travelling compared to flying. Personally, I wanted to minimize my carbon footprint and support a more sustainable mode of transportation. While there are challenges, the overall experience for me, and the belief that small individual choices can collectively make a significant difference to the environment made it a worthwhile experience! 

Divya’s study abroad experience in the Netherlands

Divya is a final year student studying International Business at DMU. She spent a year studying abroad at HAN University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands. 

Why did I choose to study on exchange? 

If you had asked me in my first year what I felt about studying abroad, I would say it seemed like a distant dream. This is because I have never lived or travelled alone; I commute from home to DMU, so I have no experience living independently and paying my bills. This was a great opportunity for me to gain independence and experience life on my own. I have always been fascinated by different cultures, history, and languages, so the opportunity to study overseas was a dream come true. I study International Business, which is why this opportunity will help me enhance my career, as my course is based on why organisations want to compete in the fast-paced global market.

How did you prepare for your year abroad?

It was quite an interesting process for me as I was in charge of booking my flights and accommodation. I knew that I did not want to share my room with more than one person; my friends here have told me about their roommates, so I was not risking it! I got what I was looking for within my budget. Since I have a European passport, I did not have to do a visa application. 

How did you travel to the Netherlands?

I booked evening flights, so I stayed in Amsterdam for a night because I was not sure about the train timetable in the Netherlands. As I landed, I assumed that the train might not be running at 11pm. I took a taxi from the airport to the hotel (which was a big mistake) in the evening the demand for taxi is very high. I had to pay €65! My advice would be to avoid taxis. Later, I discovered that in main cities like Amsterdam, the train runs till 1am. Everything is quite accessible by train and bus. Many people prefer to rent a bike because all the cities are quite accessible for the bikes as they have their own lanes. 

What was the integration process like?

During my first week as an exchange student, I found myself feeling quite sad and lonely. My roommate had not yet arrived, and I did not know anyone. As a result, I spent most of my time alone, feeling isolated and disconnected from my new surroundings. However, everything changed on the introduction day; I met two girls at a bus stop. One was from Mexico, Ana, and the other was from Vietnam. They became my really close friends; we tried different restaurants and experienced the unique flavours of each other’s countries. Through our shared experiences and cultural exchanges, they made my experience as an exchange student much more meaningful. 

How was your study experience at HAN?

One of the obvious differences was in the Netherlands’ teaching style. I started at DMU in lockdown; I did not have any face-to-face interaction with my classmates; studying abroad was my first experience of meeting people from different backgrounds. The university I studied at was HAN University of Applied Sciences. Their teaching style is very interactive, and all the skills and knowledge you gain are preparing you for the workplace. They teach project-based learning and apply actual business situations. 

Did you travel much whilst on exchange? 

The location is very suitable for travelling as the Netherlands is in the middle of many European countries such as Germany, Belgium, and France. With my friends, we went travelling during Christmas time, so we attended quite a lot of Christmas markets. We travelled to Paris, where we got stranded on Christmas day as most of the hotels were completely booked. However, since I was with my friends, it became quite a story to tell. 

Why should somebody consider going on a year abroad?

A year abroad is an amazing experience! It’s a journey of self-discovery, personal growth, and the development of a global perspective that can positively impact various aspects of your life. I have improved and learned so much from my study abroad. I was very shy and quiet, I would not speak in class, and I had huge stage fright. Since then, I have become more confident speaking in class and giving presentations. Meeting new people, forming lifelong connections, sharing stories, and experiencing individuals’ diverse backgrounds. It also gave me a chance to learn more about myself. I was exposed to a variety of different cultures, which made me appreciate the experience as it helped shape me into a more confident person. 

Céline’s Marketing trip to Dubai

Celine is a third year Advertising and Marketing Communications student, and in June 2023 she travelled to Dubai as a part of an academic-led trip to explore marketing in the Middle East. She shared her thoughts with us about her experience below.

Why did you decide to travel abroad with DMU Global?

One of my lecturers emailed me about an academic-led marketing trip taking place in Dubai, and that sounded like a good opportunity to me. After visiting the DMU Global website and reading more about the support that was available, I felt more confident and exited to apply. 

What activities did you participate on whilst abroad?

During our trip to Dubai, we had the opportunity to participate in a lot of activities, it was almost one or more activity per day! We visited iconic landmarks such as the Burj Khalifa, the Emirates and Dubai Mall, the Gold Souk markets, the desert & Dubai frame to name a few. In addition, we also participated in lectures led by the professors at the DMU Dubai Campus. 

What was the highlight of your DMU Global experience?

The highlight of my trip was definitely visiting the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa. I was so impressed by the structure of the building and how fast the lifts to the top were! The views from the top floor were absolutely breathtaking and definitely a must-visit if you’re ever in Dubai.

What would be your top tip for anyone traveling to the destination you went to?

Try new things! It may sound very cliché however I feel like Dubai has so much more to offer than what is portrayed on social media. What I really enjoyed about my trip to Dubai was the Old town with all the markets and local food.  

What would you say to somebody considering participating on a DMU Global experience?

Just do it! The DMU Global experiences are very student friendly, considering the cost-of-living crisis. However, apart from having a student-friendly price tag, the structure of the experiences is created for students to grow both on a professional and personal level.

Amie’s experience at the Malaysian Culture Summer School in Kuala Lumpur

Amie is a second year Education Studies student, and in June 2023 she spent nearly four weeks at a Malaysain Culture Summer School organised by Tunku Abdul Rahman University of Management & Technology (TAR UMT)  in Kula Lumpur. Below, she shares her thoughts about her time at the summer school.

Why did you decide to travel abroad with DMU Global?

I decided to travel to Malaysia with DMU Global because of the unique opportunities they offer to enhance my cultural awareness and personal growth. The itinerary set out aligned closely with my personal interests and was great value for money! Additionally, the prospect of immersing myself in a different culture for a month and meeting students from Malaysia and the UK was incredibly appealing.

What activities did you participate in whilst abroad?

During my time in Malaysia, I engaged in a variety of enriching activities. These included attending academic workshops that provided insights into the local culture and the international student experience. Some of the workshops included batik painting, calligraphy, cooking lessons and fitness tests (which actually turned out to be quite fun). 

As well as workshops, we also got to see tourist attractions such as local temples, the elephant sanctuary, a Durian farm and the Water Park. Whilst most of our activities occurred in Kuala Lumpur, we also spent a week at their other campus in Pahang, where we got to do a lot of our activities on the beach!

What was the highlight of your trip?

One of the highlights of my trip was our visit to the elephant sanctuary. It was amazing to be able to see them up close and feed them lunch. We got to learn about the care that goes into looking after rescue elephants and all the hard work their volunteers do.

How do you think you have benefitted from the experience?

This experience has definitely increased my confidence as immersing myself in another culture forced me to step out of my comfort zone. I was able to navigate a new city independently and participated in activities I wouldn’t normally such as traditional dance workshops and dragon boat racing. 

I was able to develop my cultural awareness by experiencing Malaysian traditions, cuisine, and customs first-hand. 

Most importantly, I made many meaningful connections with students from DMU, as well as students from other universities, that will last a lifetime.

What would be your top tip for anyone travelling to the destination you went to?

My top tip for anyone travelling to Malaysia would be to embrace the local culture wholeheartedly. Engage in cultural workshops, try the diverse range of local cuisines, and participate in community events. Be open to exploring beyond the typical tourist attractions; some of the most enriching experiences can be found in the lesser-known corners of this beautiful country such as the national parks and waterfalls. And don’t forget your raincoat!

Ed’s Engineering trip to Kuala Lumpur

Edward is a third year Energy Engineering student, and in July 2023 he travelled to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia as a part of an academic-led trip to explore a global perspective in engineering. Below, he shared his thoughts about his time in Kuala Lumpur.

Why did you decide to travel abroad with DMU Global?

I was alerted about the opportunity through my mailbox as I went to one of the stalls in a fresher’s event and signed onto the mailing list. I saw that there was an Engineering trip which immediately caught my attention, plus it was in Kuala Lumpur which I had already seen amazing pictures of on social media!

Both me and my housemate were able to go onto this trip, so we decided to go together. We are both keen travelers and we already had discussions about going travelling together and at the perfect time this opportunity came up.

Neither of us had gone to Asia before but we felt safer knowing we were going with other people from DMU so there was a large group of us when wandering about the city. Lastly the DMU Global bursary came in really handy, and allowed us to save more money to spend on the trip. 

What activities did you participate on whilst abroad?

Our trip was a mixture of learning and relaxing, one day we travelled to the KL University of Technology and Innovation and had a tour of the immense building which featured so many cool gadgets and projects such as augmented reality headsets as well as industrial wireless-controlled drones. Other enjoyable activities included going on a safari and seeing tigers and rhinos, as well as strolling around the street markets and seeing what the locals had to offer.  

All of this was interspersed with having amazing Malaysian cuisine with a fantastic group of people. We all got along and had a laugh every time we sat down together. 

What was the highlight of your DMU Global experience?

For me, the highlight of my experience was taking a small boat to monkey island, and feeding the different types of monkeys that lived there. The big ones were very strong and very skilled in stealing your food, but the smaller spider monkeys would sit on your shoulders or head and eat pieces of food bit by bit, they were very, very cute. The monkeys happened to be extremely photogenic, so this was a great selfie opportunity to say the least.

What would be your top tip for anyone travelling to the destination you went to?

The itinerary is going to be busy as there is so much to do there, so use your time wisely. Try not to stick to the activities that you are used to, as now is the time to really push yourself and do as much as you can whilst you have this amazing opportunity. Make sure you’re well rested each night to be energised for the action-packed day ahead of you when out in KL.   

What would you say to somebody considering participating on a DMU Global experience?

Even if you’re not keen on travelling far away take a leap of faith and jump into a DMU Global experience. Regardless of whether if it’s something to do with your course or an extracurricular activity it looks great on your CV, and to future employers when trying to get a job! 

DMU Global really help you out before the trip, from the financial side to making sure you’re prepared with a pre-departure checklist, so you know what to take and what not to take to make the most of your experience. They are always well organised, so you won’t be in the position of not knowing what you are doing, especially when you’re indecisive like me as it takes away that stress. Overall, this is an amazing opportunity and I hope I can go on to another one before I finish my studies at DMU. 

Sophie’s exchange year in Michigan, USA

Sophie Bartrop is a final year student on the Design Crafts course and specialises in metalsmithing. She went to Grand Valley State University in Michigan and describes it as being one of the best years of her life.

Why did you decide to study on exchange?

I was desperate to discover and experience new things and reignite a passion for activities I love. I wanted to travel and immerse myself in an entirely different world where even food shopping was an exciting possibility of new things to try. Coupled with the fact I would be able to strengthen my artistic capabilities by taking classes I wouldn’t have the chance to otherwise is what sold me on pursuing an exchange year.

How did you deal with being alone in a new country?

I struggled a lot more than I thought I would with living a new country. I like to pride myself on my independence, but establishing a new support system whilst being in a different time zone was extremely challenging and I ended up making use of my university’s counselling services which helped me adjust. Over my first month in the US I developed deeper connections with other international students, who helped me feel less alone and we found we could all relate to similar struggles and confusion. Although you will likely encounter feelings of worry and doubt on an exchange year, it’s important to remember that they will not last. Over a few weeks the culture shock will fade and you will make friends for life.

What was one of your funniest moments from your study abroad? 

During my first semester I was given the assignment of going to a local museum, so I decided to invite my international friends along with me. We spent time looking at the different exhibits and my friend Alex expressed great excitement at the fact the museum had a planetarium and immediately insisted we book onto the next show titled “Dark side of the moon”. We took our seats, sat down and the lights went off. We stared at the dome in anticipation of a calm, educational narrator talking us through the stars and moon. However, we were instead met with bombardment of brightly coloured strobe lights and projected hypnotic patterns. It was then I realised we had booked onto a laser light show to the entirety of Pink Floyd’s album “Dark side of the moon”. The shared expression of confusion from my German and Australian friends was truly unparalleled. Alex then slept through 80% of the show.

What’s something you miss from your host country? 

Hammocking! Michigan summers are incredibly warm, so during the afternoons on campus it wasn’t uncommon to see people setting up hammocks in between trees on the arboretum. I spent many afternoons in a double hammock with my flatmate, lying in the sun, reading books and chatting. We even went to a local pier, set up the hammock, shared a blanket and watched the sun set over the lake horizon.  

How did you find the different styles of teaching?

It took me a while to get used to the way classes are done in America. They are much more structured and run independently from class to class. Although the workload for studio art classes was very demanding, I feel like I really benefitted from this style of teaching as I could expand my knowledge on multiple subjects at once. I learnt more CAD and digital design programs and improved my drawing ability alongside other beginners. I even found the technique I am specialising in in my final year at DMU. I created some of my favourite jewellery pieces so far in the US and believe the additional time to specialise and improve my skills have been invaluable.  

Did you join a sports club at your host university? 

Whilst I was at Grand Valley State University, I joined the dodgeball club as a way to meet new people and stay active. We travelled to other universities in different states for competitions and tournaments and having spent a round trip of 16 hours driving to and from West Virgina I can say I definitely bonded my team.

Did you travel anywhere after you exchange year? 

After my exchange year I went on a solo trip up to Toronto, Canada. I stayed a youth hostel, met and explored the city with other brits, travelled to Niagara Falls and tried some of the most amazing food in Toronto’s Chinatown. 

Felix’s life-changing exchange experience in the USA

Felix Austin-Ricketts a third year Forensic Science student, spent a year studying at Towson University in Towson, Maryland. Below, he shares his experience of living, studying, and travelling in the United States. 

Why did you decide to study on exchange?

I have always wanted to increase my confidence and get out of my comfort zone, but with an academic purpose, so this opportunity was perfect for me. I decided to pick Towson University because its forensic chemistry course was accredited, and the state was safe for LGBTQ2+ people. 

As someone part of the LGBTQ+ community, did you do anything to prepare for the year abroad, and was there anything you did during your exchange to keep yourself safe?

The first thing I did was research where I was going to ensure that I would be safe, this included legislation for the state of Maryland and safe spaces at Towson University. This process didn’t take long, but was well worth doing, because I discovered that Maryland is one of the safest states in the US for LGBTQ+ people, and the university has regulations to ensure that no discrimination occurs against minority groups. I also found two societies I did join at the university: the LGBTQ+ Student Union and GenderBlur.

During my exchange, I was happily surprised when at the beginning of the semester, you filled out a form asking if you had a preferred name and pronouns! This was ideal for me because I hadn’t legally changed my name yet, but I still wanted to be known by my chosen name. In the second semester, they had a dedicated spa day just for the trans community – which was great because I got a free 15-minute full body massage and a free haircut (usually priced at $35!) courtesy of local LGBTQ+ companies.

Can you tell us about Towson University, and a little about Maryland?

My first impression was just how huge the campus was! There are designated buses that go around campus though, so it saves walking everywhere. The buildings are a nice mix of old and modern, like DMU, and they have up-to-date technology. They are also sports crazy, so they have amazing sports facilities and if you want to get involved with US culture, just go to a football game. 

Obviously, food is important, and Towson University offer a wide variety of menus, including traditional choices, ethnic and international cuisine, and a good deal of vegetarian and low-fat options as well as kosher and halal menus, at 16 varied dining locations. My personal favourite location was Newell for the desserts, and Glen dining hall for the variety of foods!

In terms of academics, I loved that I could pick my modules per semester, even taking two modules that were not part of my degree (ceramics & acting), which was fun! The way in which you get taught is different too, with an emphasis on active participation to get a better understanding of the topics, and how high of a grade you get. 

Maryland is quite a small state and is known as “America in Miniature” due to its variety in topography. If you are a beach person, then Ocean City is for you. It has a 3-mile boardwalk with plenty of tourist attractions. If you are more of a city person, then the Baltimore Inner Harbour is a tourist haven, with restaurants, museums, and an aquarium!

Did you find your host destination an expensive town/city to live in?

Yes, Maryland is very expensive due to the high tax, so be warned! On the bright side, the public transportation is good, and the local bus service (The Loop) is free! Due to the size of the US, you will have to rely on transportation to get around and explore. I recommend making friends who drive to take you around, or there are other services available that you can pay for. 

What kind of accommodation did you stay in?

As an exchange student, I stayed on campus at the Residence Tower in the Global Village section, which is where all the international exchange students are put. In this accommodation, you had to share a room with someone, and in my case, I had a fellow exchange student from DMU as my roommate. There is a main open area in the centre of each floor, which is for socialising and chilling out, as well as a small study room. 

Did you work or do any volunteering while studying abroad?

Yes, I volunteered throughout the year with the national honours academic fraternity Phi Sigma Pi (PSP). I had great fun litter picking in the local area, making cards for PSP’s philanthropy Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Foundation (HOBY),and taking part in The Big Event was a really enlightening experience.

 I also volunteering my time to become the scholarship chair on the executive council, which was great for enhancing my leadership skills, as well as educating people about UK culture. The bonus of joining PSP was making life-long friendships with some of the brothers, who will be coming to visit the UK soon!

I also joined and volunteered at the International Student Association (ISA). This opened my eyes to many different cultures and enabled me to explore the state of Maryland; we even went on a day trip to NYC! In my second semester, I was appointed as the community partnership chair on the executive board, which further developed my communication skills.

What would you say to somebody considering going on a year abroad?

Each experience is unique; how much you get out of this experience depends on your involvement. Personally, I grew in confidence. Academically, I was exposed to different pedagogy, like small class sizes, one on one time with the professors and active participation. This has made third year easier in terms of independent study and has already improved my academic performance. In terms of professional development, my soft skills evolved, and there was plenty of opportunities for networking at an international level. In summary, JUST DO IT!

Journalism student prepares to spend a year studying in the US through DMU Global

A Journalism student from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) is preparing to head off on the trip of a lifetime, spending a year studying in the USA.

And the golden opportunity to head to Georgia has all come about thanks to a former boss who recommended he study at DMU.

Rian Fearnehough has just completed his second year in Journalism and, thanks to DMU Global, will spend the next year at Georgia College and State University, in Milledgeville, studying Journalism and the History of the USA since 1877.

He is already planning trips to Florida to watch his favourite NFL team the Jacksonville Jaguars – who are owned by the same person who runs Rian’s football team Fulham – and friends and family are also looking forward to travelling out to see him.

Rian had not planned to study at university but, when COVID hit, he had to take a step back and reassess his career plans.

He explains: “I was working in a little café and, like so many people, I lost my job due to COVID. When I was speaking to the owner it turned out he had a daughter who had studied at DMU and loved her time there and he recommended I apply. My Dad then said I should go for it.

“I am the first person in my family to go to university and it has been really good. The Journalism course is great because it presents me with so many options to work in areas such as broadcast, news writing and sport.

“And now I am heading off to the US for a year. I knew about DMU Global when I applied and it was definitely a big attraction for coming to Leicester. I was always planning to take up the option to study overseas for a year.”

“I am definitely going to Florida to see the Jacksonville Jaguars. I am a massive Fulham supporter and the NFL team is run by the same owner of Fulham. Then my friends are all looking forward to coming out to see me for Spring Break. And my sister wants us to go to Boston because she is fascinated by the Salem Witch Trials!”

Rian, who studied history, geography and psychology at A-level, would not hesitate to recommend a trip with DMU Global.

“Applying has been really straight forward,” he said. “Any time I have had a question I have always been able to get good advice from the DMU Global team. I am just really excited about exploring a different culture.

“The US was always going to be my choice as I have always wanted to go there. My mum and dad took my older brother and sister to Disneyland in Florida before I was born and I always felt I had mossed out,” he laughs. “Now I am finally going out there.

“I know I have not got to the US yet but the way the DMU Global team has been means I would definitely recommend a year abroad to anyone else at DMU.”

Students are invited to apply for this opportunity in their second year of undergraduate study to spend a sandwich year abroad. All selected students receive comprehensive support prior to, during and upon return from their exchange.

Students also receive financial support from the UK Government Turing Scheme. For academic year 2023-24 we have students from all four faculties on various degree programmes spending a year in a range of exciting destinations including South Korea, Japan, Finland, Germany and more.

To learn more about studying on exchange, click here.

DMU Global alumni lands job in New York

Back in 2017, Mollie Mansfield was taking in the stunning views of skyscrapers on the Manhattan skyline as part of a DMU Global trip to New York.

Now, just six years later, the De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) journalism graduate is working in one of those skyscrapers as an editor for the US edition of The Sun newspaper.

Mollie works on the famous Sixth Avenue – or Avenue of the Americas – just off Times Square, in the News Corp. Building, which is also home to the New York Post, Wall Street Journal and the Fox News studios.

Mollie is just a half hour commute from work, living in Jersey City, New Jersey, and loving every minute of the cut and thrust of carving out a career in one of the world’s great cities, being available 24/7 to work on any breaking story.

“The number of opportunities there are… there is always a news story developing”, Mollie says from a stifling hot New York.

“A lot of people in the US, and certainly in New York, are more open to telling their stories. There are so many different people with different lives, and different tales about how they ended up in the city.

“It doesn’t matter if I’m sat in the subway or the pub, people will tell you something interesting.”

With a great job comes great pressure to be first with the news.

Mollie said: “I’m Head of Live Coverage for The Sun and The US Sun, but I’m based in New York. In this role, I manage Breaking News, but before that I was the reporter writing the stories.

“The one thing I pride myself on is being quick. I can jump on a story and make it live in a matter of minutes.

“I was on my shift when I saw a post on Twitter from someone saying something about Tiger Woods being in a car crash.

“I saw it before anyone else reported it, spoke to the police to stand up the story and published.

“It was a big story, and of course everyone in the world knows who Tiger Woods is, so it went global.”

Mollie started her career working at Caters News Agency in Birmingham, chasing and supplying stories to the national and international media before she graduated.

Caters then moved her out to New York where she worked for over a year before she was then poached by the US Sun to help establish the newly formed media outlet. She has worked in the city ever since covering everything from Biden’s election victory to being flown to London for the Coronation of King Charles III ‘as the US loves the Royal Family’.

Mollie says she owes a lot of her success to the DMU Journalism course and its tutors, who showed her the skills required to take on a job in the media.

Mollie said: “I look back on my time at DMU really, really fondly. The diversity of teaching, in the sense of how the lecturers’ careers took different paths, really helped.

“There was always someone you could talk to about different issues. Before my interview with the Caters news agency in Birmingham, I asked for some advice about whether it was a good career move or not.

“The course was also focussed on digital journalism and not all about print.

“So that made me familiar with skills I would need. It also built my confidence. Every Tuesday we would have to go out into the streets of Leicester and vox pop people

“I loved the fact there was the NCTJ qualification and I learned media law and shorthand. You need all that knowledge.

“It is crazy the amount you learn and, at the time, you ask yourself when are you ever going to use all these different skills. Well, I can safely say I use them every day of my life.”

So, what advice would Mollie give to any journalism students thinking of breaking into the media?

“I would say get ahead of yourself.,” Mollie says. “Talk to people about work experience and internships. Take up freelance positions while you are still at university. Get all that experience under your belt.

“I worked for music publications and the Leicester Mercury while I was still on my course. I also worked for the Demon newspaper the whole time I was at DMU.

“It helps you understand about meeting deadlines. And, of course, keep writing and perfect your craft. Always keep yourself involved in journalism.

“Utilise your lecturers. Whenever you have a question, ask them for help. And make sure you go to all your classes – especially shorthand.

“I have had to graft to get where I am. I did years of unpaid work and worked as much as I could. I still give it my all every single day. I am always coming up with ideas and always thinking proactively. You must have confidence in yourself.

“It is an all-consuming thing. I can’t get home after work and not know what is happening in the news. You have to immerse yourself 24/7.”

Stefan’s insight careers in technology in Toronto

Stefan is a second year software engineering student, and in June 2023 he travelled to Toronto with the DMU Careers team to learn more about the employability opportunities in the technology industry. He shared his thoughts with us about his time in Canada

Why did you decide to travel abroad with DMU Global?

I decided to travel abroad with DMU Global because I saw it as an incredible opportunity to broaden my horizons and gain a global perspective. Toronto, with its thriving tech industry, was a perfect destination for me to explore and learn from professionals in my field (software engineering). I wanted to immerse myself in a different culture, expand my network, and enhance my understanding of the global tech landscape.

How helpful was the DMU Global bursary in allowing you to participate?

The DMU Global bursary played a crucial role in enabling my participation in this experience. It provided the financial support necessary to cover the costs associated with the trip, including accommodation, transportation, and activities. Without the bursary, it would have been challenging for me to afford such an enriching opportunity. I am extremely grateful for the assistance that made this experience accessible and unforgettable.

Did you notice any cultural differences whilst abroad, that you needed to adapt to?

During my time abroad, I noticed several cultural differences that required some adaptation. Canadians were incredibly polite and friendly, which created a warm and welcoming atmosphere. I had to adjust to their social norms and manners, such as saying “sorry” and “thank you” more frequently. Additionally, the multicultural nature of Toronto exposed me to diverse perspectives, languages, and customs, enriching my understanding of global interconnectedness.

What activities did you participate on whilst abroad?

During my time in Toronto, I had the opportunity to engage in a variety of exciting activities. I explored the historical Casa Loma Museum, immersing myself in its captivating architecture and rich history. The Royal Ontario Museum also offered a fascinating journey through art, culture, and natural history, broadening my knowledge and appreciation for the diverse exhibits. Additionally, as a passionate sports enthusiast and a football referee, I was able to attend a Major Soccer League match which was an unforgettable experience

Were there any local foods or drinks that you discovered and enjoyed?

Toronto offered a delightful culinary experience. I had the pleasure of trying local specialties such as poutine, a savory dish of fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. I also discovered delicious maple syrup-infused treats, like pancakes and pastries, which showcased Canada’s love for this natural sweetener.

What was the highlight of your DMU Global experience?

One of the major highlights of my DMU Global experience was the opportunity to visit prominent tech companies in Toronto alongside my peers. We had the privilege of visiting LinkedIn for a brilliant session led by Alix Altow, which shed light on the importance of networks and contacts. The session was engaging and provided valuable insights on how to stand out on the platform. It was an eye-opening experience that emphasized the significance of building professional relationships in the tech industry.

The combined experiences of visiting companies, engaging with industry experts, and learning from my colleagues made the DMU Global trip truly exceptional. It solidified my passion for technology and opened my eyes to the vast array of opportunities available in the field. I am incredibly grateful for the hands-on learning experiences and the chance to network with professionals who are shaping the tech landscape.

What was the most interesting thing that you learnt as part of the trip?

One of the most interesting things I learnt during the trip was the power of collaboration and networking in the tech industry. Witnessing industry professionals discuss their collaborative efforts, cross-disciplinary projects, and innovative solutions was truly inspiring. It highlighted the significance of building connections and the impact it has on problem-solving and creativity. Technological advancements often emerge from the intersection of various fields, reinforcing the importance of collaborative approaches. Networking provides opportunities to exchange ideas, gain new perspectives, and explore potential collaborations. This experience deepened my understanding of the collaborative nature of the tech industry and ignited a desire to cultivate connections for future projects.

Has your DMU Global experience inspired you to pursue further international experiences?

Absolutely! My DMU Global experience has ignited a desire within me to seek out further international experiences. The exposure to different cultures, perspectives, and professional networks has expanded my horizons and reinforced the value of global engagement. I am now eager to explore more countries, engage with diverse communities, and continue to broaden my understanding of the field of technology.

What would you say to somebody considering participating on a DMU Global experience?

I would highly encourage anyone considering participating in a DMU Global experience to seize the opportunity without hesitation. The journey offers a unique chance to step out of your comfort zone, gain cultural understanding, and self-development, and expand your personal and professional networks. It is a transformative experience that not only enhances academic knowledge but also fosters personal growth and global citizenship.

Imogen’s Contour Fashion trip to Los Angeles

In this video, Imogen talks about her recent DMU Global trip to Los Angeles. From visiting businesses in the fashion industry, to exploring LA’s iconic landmarks and city’s vibrant culture, you’ll get an insight into what Imogen’s DMU Global experience was like, the support she received to take part, how it impacted her studies, as well as her future aspirations following this unique trip.

Charley’s Biomedical Science trip to Dubai

In this video, Charley talks about her recent DMU Global trip to Dubai. From learning about Diabetes and Kidney Disease to exploring Dubai’s rich culture and stunning architecture. Charley gives an insight into what her experience was like, how it impacted her studies, as well as her future aspirations following this unique trip.

Tamzin exploring Branding and Advertising in New York

In this video, Tamzin talks about her recent DMU Global trip to New York. From visiting marketing and branding agencies to exploring the concrete jungle and everything the city offers, you’ll get an insight into what Tamzin’s DMU Global experience was like, the support she received to take part, how it impacted her studies, as well as her future aspirations following this unique trip.

Benjamin exploring Comic Arts in Brussels

In this video, Ben talks about his recent DMU Global trip to Brussels. From learning about the Comic Arts industry to exploring the city’s diverse history. Ben gives an insight into what her experience was like, how it impacted his studies, as well as his future aspirations following this unique trip.

Holly’s Graphic Design trip to Amsterdam

In this video, Holly talks about her recent DMU Global trip to Amsterdam. From learning about the creative scene to exploring Amsterdam’s abundance of museums, you’ll get an insight into what Holly’s DMU Global experience was like, the support she received to take part, how it impacted her studies, as well as her future aspirations following this unique trip.

Sharelle’s visit to the Première Vision trade show in Paris

Sharelle is final year Fashion Textile Design student, and in February 2023 she travelled to Paris with her course to take part in the one of the world’s most creative textiles trade fairs to gather information about the fashion industry. She shared her thoughts with us about her time in France…

Why did you decide to travel abroad with DMU Global?

I really wanted to come out of my comfort zone and travel independently in an unfamiliar country with people who I did not know well, with the intention of improving my communication skills to increase my confidence. Paris is notoriously known as a city which specializes in fashion, and I was keen to get ideas and inspiration from unique styles, cultures, and ways of living. The Premiere vision exhibition was something I was really looking forward to, and I wanted look at fashion textiles in a new light.

Were there any barriers that you had to overcome to participate on this experience? Were you nervous about anything prior to going abroad?

Yes, I am neurodivergent and it is hard for me to feel comfortable in social settings, especially ones which are unfamiliar to me. Going on this trip was a huge jump and step out of my comfort zone. Sometimes I find it hard to read cues in conversation so I was worried about several things such as interactions in shops and cafes, using the transport network, with the language barrier on top. Anything new like this causes me anxiety so I was pleased I was able to participate and have a good time. 

How helpful was the DMU Global bursary in allowing you to participate?

It was extremely helpful. Being a student without the best financial situation, it’s common to miss opportunities as such. This trip was very insightful on a personal level as well as educational and it wouldn’t have been possible without the bursary. In addition, fashion textiles, or fashion courses, are expensive and intense, so it relieved some of the pressure and I didn’t have to worry about forming a dent in my expenses to enjoy the trip.

What was the highlight of your DMU Global experience?

There were a few highlights to my trip, one of them being proud of myself in terms of personal development and travelling independently. I also met a lovely person on the trip who helped me with some basic information and navigation and really made me feel at ease. I loved seeing some of the famous fashion houses on such a grander scale and was interested to see how so many of the stores were tailored to the brand itself. I loved seeing how multicultural it was, which made me feel much more comfortable exploring the city. By the end of the trip, I got the courage to go out on my own to get some food and this was a huge step for me in terms of personal confidence.

Did your DMU Global trip help further your understanding of your area of study

The Première vision exhibition opened my eyes to how many techniques there actually are for textiles, how many colour combinations there are, how many textures you can create and how many different aesthetic styles there are to suit a range of different designs. Sometimes it is easy to forget there is a whole world of creativity in your field when you are in the bubble of a small class at university, but going to somewhere like Premiere Vision made me realize how extensive an area this is and that there is perhaps a place for everyone with a strong vision.

Has your DMU Global experience inspired you to pursue further international experiences?

Yes, definitely! I have already booked in two trips for the upcoming year now as Paris has really opened my eyes to new possibilities. I don’t feel I fear independence as much as I did before the trip. I’m from London and being a curious person, it was intriguing to see the similarities and differences between two major cities. For the most part, I realized it was nice to lose myself in a different place and do something that isn’t a constant like staying in my local area. I am going to Barcelona and hopefully another place like Portugal later in the year and whilst I will be anxious, I feel much more confident in my ability to enjoy my experiences out there.

DMU pharmacy student on fact-finding visit to Dubai

Thanks to the global opportunities offered by De Montfort University, Leicester (DMU), Pharmacy student Yasmin King has just returned from a fact-finding visit to Dubai with 18 fellow students.

While there, they had a chance to exchange ideas with prospective pharmacy graduates from that country and attend a three-day instructional conference.

As well as interacting with students from the Dubai Pharmacy College for Girls, Yasmin got a flavour of what it is like to study in Dubai, saw a working robot dispensing machine and went on a tour of the country’s newest private hospital.

Yasmin was full of praise for the eight-day trip organised by DMU Global, the university’s award-winning international experience programme. “It was a fabulous trip packed with activities,” said the 21-year-old from Nottingham.

“It’s given me a wonderful opportunity to meet other pharmacy students elsewhere in the world and see how another country approaches this subject.

“On the first day, we visited the Dubai Pharmacy College for Girls where we were given a tour of the grounds and gained a bit of an insight into what it is like to study pharmacy in Dubai by sitting in on a couple of lectures.

“The students we met spoke very good English, which made it really easy for us to communicate with each other. It was great to be able to discuss with them their course in detail. In the pharmacy industry so many medication names are the same all around the world, which is an exciting concept because it makes global discussions around pharmacy easy and increases job prospects.”

Yasmin also enthused about a tour around the Fakeeh University Hospital, a new private hospital in Dubai which was only built two years ago. “They showed us the latest technology they use, including a huge dispensing robot and a chute which transported medication to different wards,” she said. “We got to see so many of their different areas, including an amazing maternity suite.”

Yasmin and her group, which also included two pharmacy academics from DMU, went on to attend the DUPHAT three-day conference at the Dubai World Trade Centre. She said: “Like most other things in Dubai, it was on such a huge scale, with speakers and exhibits from 75 different countries. I loved the fact that we were able to choose which talks we could go to, because this made it really interesting and relevant to our own experiences of pharmacy so far and for the future.

“I attended some interesting talks on drug-beverage interactions, pain management, health promotion in pharmacy education, medication shortages and the life cycle of drug development.”

Yasmin revealed that there was also time allocated in the schedule to go on some exciting excursions. “We stayed at the Rove Trade Centre hotel, really close to the World Trade Centre and sampled some of the exotic attractions of Dubai, including seeing the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa,” she said.

“We also had some down time, when we all went on a desert safari as a group. We tried dune bashing – that’s riding in a vehicle circling sand dunes – plus quad biking, sand boarding and even riding on camels.”

This trip was a grand finale to the start of Yasmin’s final year on the four-year integrated master’s course at DMU, which she began when she was 18. From August she can look forward to starting her foundation training year at Kingsmill Hospital in Mansfield.

“I like the idea of continuing working in a hospital in the future,” she said. “I have already worked in a community pharmacy part-time for a number of years, while studying at DMU.

“My friends were really jealous hearing about my trip to Dubai,” Yasmin said. “It has been a life-enhancing experience and I feel very lucky to have taken part in this amazing opportunity.”

Georgia’s unforgettable year studying in the USA

Georgia Fidler a third year Interior Design student, spent a year studying at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. Below she shares her experience of living, studying and travelling in the United States.

How did you find out about studying abroad and what made you want to do it? 

Since my first open day at the university, DMU Global, and everything they offer, was a huge influence in me deciding to study at DMU. The opportunities they offer stuck with me at the back of my mind right until my second year, when I had to decide whether I wanted to make the most of a possible sandwich year between my studies, or simply carry on with my third year. I had no reason not to study abroad, so I looked more into it and realised it was something that would be so beneficial to me – personally and academically. 

Tell us a bit about Weber State University, Ogden city and the state of Utah

Weber State University is in Ogden, which is North of Salt Lake City, in Utah. Just like the rest of the state, Weber’s campus is surrounded by a stunning range of mountains – evidently different from DMU’s city footprint. Utah has a population of around 3.3 million, and there are a lot of activities to make the most of, including hiking, skiing, and, famously, exploring National Parks. As well as everything the state had to offer, Weber State itself offered a multitude of exciting events, the most prominent being the football and basketball games – go Wildcats!

What kind of accommodation did you stay in

Weber State provided a range of accommodation options – both on-campus and nearby. As I was moving to a completely new country, I decided to stay on campus – in a shared dorm with my own room. This way I could be in the centre of the community and really get involved in the Wildcat life. I made so many great connections by staying on campus and what’s better is each accommodation offered meal plans, so everything I needed was right at my feet. It also meant I didn’t have to walk far in the deep snow!

Favourite place that you visited whilst you were there? 

I was lucky enough to become very close to one of my roommates and her family. They really looked out for me whilst I was there, which I am still extremely grateful for, and they were kind enough in making sure I got to see every aspect of Utah. For Easter break they took me to St. George, a city in Utah close to the Arizona border, south of Ogden and Salt Lake City. This was by far one of my favourite places I visited in Utah. Despite being in the same state, it felt like we were in a completely different country, it felt very tropical. There were palm trees and red rock everywhere, and what’s better… High School Musical 2 was filmed here!  

What did you find most challenging in your year abroad? 

As you can imagine, moving to a new country alone comes with a lot of ups and downs, but one of the most challenging aspects I encountered whilst away was coping with the time difference between Utah and England. Utah is 7 hours behind time in England, which meant it was difficult to just pick up the phone and call my folks back home – of course they would’ve answered but I didn’t want to call them at 3am to tell them I tried a new food or that it was snowing! 

What was the funniest moment during your experience? 

I laughed a lot whilst out there, especially with my roommates. But perhaps the funniest moment was dressing up as the Scooby-Doo gang for Halloween. Making an appearance as Velma, alongside my roommates Daphne, Shaggy and, of course, Scooby-Doo was a hilarious way to spend my first American Halloween. I have to say, we pulled it off very well and going for ice cream afterwards (yes, we actually went and sat in a public restaurant) was the cherry on top – we certainly helped make a lot of people laugh that night.

What was your most memorable experience whilst abroad?

Again, there is a lot to choose from, but if were going off what I remember feeling in that very moment, it’ll have to be when I first saw the Grand Canyon. We took a road trip in Fall Break to a variety of National Parks around Utah, and the Grand Canyon was on the list of destinations. Myself and my friends, who were also not local to Utah, were extremely excited for the trip, but our breaths were taken away the moment we witnessed the sheer beauty of the Canyon – and I still remember that very feeling a year later. 

What benefits have you noticed so far after returning to DMU from your exchange?

I didn’t realise just how much my study abroad year was going to benefit me. I have noticed that I have a greater passion for my degree since returning – perhaps because I experienced a new perspective of the subject. It has also become evident that I am so much more confident in public speaking and even more independent than I was before. I am sure that in a few years’ time, I will still be experiencing even more benefits! If there are no reasons for you to not go on a study abroad year, then don’t even think about it – just do it!

Sian’s employability and cultural experience in Vietnam

Sian is current second year Computer Games Programme student, and in November 2022 she went to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam for a weeklong DMU Global trip focused on employability and Vietnamese culture. She shared her thoughts with us about her time in South East Asia…

Why did you decide to travel abroad with DMU Global?

I’d always wanted to go on a DMU Global experience, and it was a key factor in choosing to come to DMU. I’ve never been to Asia before and when I saw the Vietnam trip, I thought it was a great opportunity and affordable, due to the generous funding offered by the University. 

Were there any barriers that you had to overcome to participate on this experience? Were you nervous about anything prior to going abroad? 

I had travelled abroad before and enjoy travelling, but the culture of Vietnam compared to the UK is very different and going with the guidance and support of DMU and Pagoda Projects helped reassure me. Going solo would’ve been very intimidating and watching YouTube videos could only do so much to prepare me. Having the local guides and expertise in-country made the transition and integration much easier.

Did you notice any cultural differences whilst abroad, that you needed to adapt to?

Basic things such as crossing a road in Vietnam was a challenge as the vehicles come at you from all directions, but you learn to adapt and almost enjoy the experience. From spending time in Vietnam, I also learnt more about the community-focused nature of their society and how people are much less individualistic. People tended to mix more, and there was a communal aspect to how people socialised and spent time outside together.

The other thing that I need to adapt to was how in the marketplace it’s acceptable to haggle, as this is not something we do in the UK. I learnt that you had to firm when making an offer, but also not focus on just one stall as you may be able to negotiate a better price elsewhere. Understanding that the seller wanted a deal, gave you the advantage in the negotiation. 

Has your DMU Global experience inspired you to pursue further international experiences?

I want to spend a year studying abroad after my second year of studies. After these kinds of experiences, I feel like I can adapt to different cultures and environments more easily. I think that spending a longer time overseas will help enrich my studies and make me more culturally aware as well. 

What would you say to somebody considering participating on a DMU Global experience?

I would recommend other students to apply as the trips are well organised and by travelling as a group with other students and staff you have the safety net and support from the University. This support helps remove any stress, and it allows you to enjoy the experience.

Emily’s year abroad studying in the USA

Emily Haisman is a third-year student at DMU currently studying Psychology. She shared her experience of studying at Northern Kentucky University in the USA.

I knew travelling and spending a year on exchange was something I wanted to do and when I was applying to DMU I wanted to make sure that was an option. Because of COVID I had been a bit unsure about moving overseas.

But it was when I was looking at housing for my final year at DMU that I thought ‘I just have to apply’. When I was younger I’d see American colleges on film and watch videos of American campus life on social media and it was something I really wanted to experience.

I applied for one US university and I was waiting and waiting to hear back. Then at the final minute the university decided, because of COVID, that they were not going to allow overseas students to travel there.

I was devastated and it was a stressful 24 hours but DMU Global got in touch and said there was a space at the Northern Kentucky University (NKU) and did I want to go?

The DMU Global team and NKU made things very easy for me. I arrived at the end of August 2021. The first thing that hit me was how much warmer it was. I didn’t expect that. And the people were so helpful. I already knew who my room mates would be and so that was all fine. I arrived a week into term so lectures were already underway, which meant the campus was busy and I could hit the ground running.

There were so many events happening and I really liked the teaching in Psychology. It felt like I was back in school in a way. I was so used to big classes and lectures but at NKU groups were a lot smaller and it was just like the films I had seen about American high school  – with the one arm flip down desks and all the professors knowing your name.

It was a lot more intimate and it meant I made friends a lot more quickly. When I walked through campus every day there were people everywhere saying ‘hi’. It was so friendly.

The international students had trips arranged during the year. I went on a spring break trip to the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee with South Americans, Asians and Europeans and it meant we all cooked different foods I had never tried before. It was a great experience.

Sport on campus was also an eye opener. We went to watch the NKU Norse basketball team play at the arena (which holds 10,000 people) and tickets were free. They were playing their rivals from the University of Cincinnati and weren’t expected to win. The campus is alcohol free but this was a huge game and so there were tailgate parties in the car park. NKU won and I had never seen scenes like it.

I made a best friend, Kayla, who is now here at DMU on exchange. She was one of my room mates and for the Labor Day holiday in September I went to her family’s lakeside retreat and went on their boat – it was incredible. I also went to Frat Parties and celebrated Halloween – I went as a student from Ravenclaw in Harry Potter. I stayed at Kayla’s house a few more times and now the roles have reversed. She has been to see my family in Milton Keynes and we have had trips to London together. She is a friend for life.

I would say to any student considering an exchange to go for it. I had to take funding the trip into consideration and think about how much I could spend each day, but it is manageable. It is by no means cheap to go to the US. But it is not as much as people might think.

My family and friends have certainly seen a change in me since I got back in the summer. They can see I am more confident and after a year at NKU I seem to be an even happier person.

Rumbie’s exchange year in Switzerland

Final year Law student Rumbie Makonise, spent a year studying Law at the University of Lucerne in Switzerland, and shared her story with DMU Global.

Switzerland is really advanced, everything is really clean, people are well organised and the public transport is good.

I always knew I was going to go on exchange even before I joined DMU. I am studying Law and the first two years were spent in lockdown so I had only had an on-campus experience for a couple of months.

I had a choice of four universities to study Law for a year. I didn’t want to go to Germany, France or Cyprus so I chose Switzerland. To be honest I was apprehensive. People were saying ‘why Switzerland’. Even the Swiss asked what I was doing there! But it turned out to be the best thing I have ever done.

Because I had not been on a university campus due to COVID I think I was like a stereotypical Brit abroad and was going out quite a lot. But then other students – most of them were aged 23 or above – were really mature and had a great work ethic. It rubbed off on me.

There were just two faculties and about 4,000 students and they were so hard working. Everyone I knew went to the library from 8am to 6pm with lectures in between. I watched other people so I could learn what to do and how to work.

Sometimes the work was intense but this work ethic has helped me out no end. I am so much more focussed and really know how to handle a work load. I am definitely a different person.

Since I returned my friends have said ‘what happened to Rumbie’ and ‘you have definitely changed’. I have certainly matured. People do say that going on an exchange does that to you. I am living proof of that!

I am pretty good at advocacy work and there was a specialist Moot Court I applied to study in.

When I started, I was the worst student there. I was coming from a Common Law background and Switzerland was very much about Civil Law. In fact, my professor told me he expected nothing from me.

But then, when he and my peers helped me out, by the time we reached the advocacy lectures I came to life. We entered a competition for the best Moot Court in Europe and I was in a team of three chosen to represent the university in Barcelona. We did not win but it was a great bonding experience and we were so proud about how we had worked as a team.

You never know who you are going to meet on exchange. Myself and another DMU student, Hope Abraham, teamed up with an American friend I had met and started a business called Heruno [it involves a portable coat and bag hook that can hang from anywhere on your travels which is embellished with personal designs].

I made a best friend who was an intellectual property lawyer and he showed me how I can become a businesswoman as well as a lawyer and he influenced me to get into Intellectual property law. I also did some work experience at his firm.

Law students might think these types of exchange trips are not relevant to them. But you just never know what experiences you are going to be given. It is the best thing I have ever done.

Joe’s experience studying in Seoul, South Korea

Joe studies English Language with TESOL at DMU, and chose to study on exchange at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. Here are Joe’s reflections on his year spent in South Korea.

Did you notice any differences in the teaching styles between the UK and Korea?

Studying in Korea is a lot more intensive. We had to dedicate all our spare time to studying and revising to keep up in class. Education there is highly valued and so it is expected that people work extremely hard to surpass the high-grade boundaries. However, it can be an enjoyable experience! There are many coffee shops in Korea and in almost all of them there are students studying hard, either alone or amongst friends. The passing grade there is a lot harder to attain. There is a lot of difficult content but over 70% is required to be a pass benchmark. Online learning is a lot more engaging. Although I hated the thought of my face being streamed to the whole class, it made me focus a lot more on the lesson and remain engaged!

Did you meet any new people?

In my classes there were a wide variety of students from all over the world! These nationalities include American, German, Croatian, Chinese, Thailand, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Japan. Everyone is so interesting and is always nice to be around. It was interesting to learn about other cultures and what they think of current events going on in the world. I also made local friends with whom I spent the Christmas break instead of returning home!

Did you discover and enjoy any local food or drink?

Kimchi Fried Rice? This is a mean question because there are so many amazing foods in Korea! Anyway, this dish is tasty, nutritious, easy to make at home and when made in a big batch can supply the weeks lunch.

What was the biggest challenge you experienced?

Adapting to the fast-paced lifestyle while tackling a daunting language barrier – This exchange has been a wonderful experience which has brought many happy memories and experiences. However, I found myself often exhausted. Just doing a simple weekly shop at first brought a sense of anxiety within me; taking time to understand what I was buying all the while trying to figure out what was a fair price and trying to not the be in people’s way.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone planning to study on exchange in Seoul?

My advice for shopping in a country where you can’t read the language; before you go to the supermarkets, look up the countries equivalent online so you know what you’re looking for along with key words. However, the most important tool someone will need when out and about doing anything is the translator app Papago. It is far better than Google and usually translates well between English and Korean (as well as Japanese). This was vital when doing complex errands like setting up a bank account or organising details with the immigration office.

What was the most memorable experience of your exchange year?

The Han River Cruise! On the anniversary with my partner Georgina, I organised for us to go along the Han river on a boat cruise for two. We went as the sun was just beginning to set, getting to see the city beautifully transition from day to night with the city’s lights casting into the water. In short, it was quite a sight to behold and made me appreciate even further what an amazing and different place we were in.

Tilda’s work placement in Amsterdam

Tilda Eriksson, a third-year student at DMU currently studying Fashion Buying with Design, shares her reflections on her placement year abroad at Hunkemöller, a global lingerie brand with headquarters in Amsterdam.

Why did you decide to travel abroad with DMU Global on an overseas placement? 

I decided to travel abroad for my placement as I see it as a fantastic opportunity for growth, both professionally and personally. Professionally, alongside enhancing my CV, it’s an asset to be able to adapt to a new setting and culture, and show that you can work hard. Personally, it was a great insight that boosted my independence and self-confidence. Challenging myself to meet new friends in a new country was an important part of the decision.

Did you notice any cultural differences whilst abroad, that you needed to adapt to?

Coming from Sweden, I moved to the UK for my studies and then from the UK I moved to Amsterdam for my placement. Cultural differences are always something that I noticed, from different work ethics to food culture. I believe cultural differences are important, they help you to grow and understand different viewpoints. Plus you learn new ways to do things! During my placement, I found that I needed to adapt. For example, the directness of a Dutch person is different from what I come from. What I realised was that the directness in speaking probably solves more conflicts than it creates. 

What was the most interesting thing that you learnt as part of your traineeship abroad?

As a design intern at Hunkemöller, the most interesting part was understanding and being a part of such an established commercial brand. Working there helped me to gather insights into how a successful business works and how to design for a certain consumer. These insights influenced the whole process of the design journey. Another important thing I learnt during my internship was my limitations, and what I am capable of, both professional and personal. This gives me a great advantage in coming back to university to be able to set up a more accurate timeline for myself and prioritize personal development. 

Were there any local foods or drinks that you discovered and enjoyed?

During my time in Amsterdam, I got to try a lot of fantastic food and experiences. I have such a sweet tooth, my favourite dutch sweets were Poffertjes- which is a mini pancake and the stroopwafel- which is a waffle with syrup in between. During my weekends I often visited different food markets around Amsterdam, where I got to try a lot of their specialities. I also enjoyed Amsterdam’s famous fries which are found all around the city.

What are the top skills you have improved from your international placement experience?

Responsibility, both personally and professionally. During my time at Hunkemöller, I helped organise their fashion show which came from me demonstrating my ability to be responsible for completing tasks. I also developed a greater commercial awareness and understanding of the industry which is extremely useful for both my last year and future work experiences. Last but not least, I developed my personality to grow stronger with an awareness of my limitations and goals. 

Has your DMU Global experience inspired you to pursue further international experiences?

Moving abroad has inspired me to pursue further international experiences. When challenging yourself in a new city you create new ways to work and get to know yourself better. This opportunity creates a bigger picture for the future and opens more work opportunities. I believe when I finish my studies at De Montfort University, I will continue moving to other countries to explore what the world has to offer and what level of personal development I can reach. I would recommend all people to do a placement year abroad!

Kitty’s Canadian exchange in Calgary

Kitty Hollet is a third-year student at DMU currently studying Criminal Justice. She shared her reflections at the mid-way point of year studying at Mount Royal University in Alberta, Canada.

Travelling to Canada

To my surprise, I found the travel aspect of my year abroad the most difficult part of the process. Luckily, to study in Canada you do not need a visa, just a study permit. However, this process was rather lengthy and look them five months to get back to me! I found out that my permit had been approved just a week before I left. This made it rather stressful! To anyone hoping to go to Canada to study I recommend applying as early as possible to avoid the stress I had!

Furthermore, the flight process was something I was really daunted by as I had never flown alone before; however, it was so simple! I now feel so much more confident with the whole airport process, and if this is something you’re worried about never feel awkward to ask someone for help. Even if the question feels stupid! When I arrived at Calgary airport, all I had to do was go to the immigration office for them to check my papers, which was really easy and went smoothly. Then I got an uber to my accommodation and met my housemate!

University accommodation
I am currently staying in university-provided accommodation, which is a house with shared bathroom and kitchen. There were meant to be four of us staying here, however it is only me and my other housemate. The house is lovely, and is in such a great area. I am less than a five-minute walk from campus and right by the library! Being in a house is also much nicer, in my opinion, to being in flats as there is more space and feels more like home. I have since decorated my room slightly to make it homelier, with lights and such! My housemate is also really nice and we get along really well!

First Impressions of Canada

My first impressions of Canada have been overwhelmingly positive! One big difference is the weather, as in Calgary it is very cold and very snowy, so it has been icy and chilly. It has even got to -14 degrees Celsius at one point! Another difference is that the price of food is so much more expensive than the UK! Even when converted to pound sterling, my food shop which has stayed mostly the same has more than doubled in price. Relating to this, there have been some food items that I can’t get here! For example, things like golden syrup and Weetabix. Lastly, there is a big difference in the wildlife and animals here. They have lots of ground squirrels and black squirrels, which are cute to see. Also, they have lots of eagles and rabbits, which are now turning white for the winter!

Meeting new people

Since being in Canada, I have gained myself a boyfriend which is lovely! Therefore, with him living here he has shown me lots of places which I potentially wouldn’t have gone to without him. For example, Calgary Zoo and many parks in the city.

Academic studies

There is a huge difference between teaching in England and Canada. At DMU, for my course, I only do one large essay roughly once a month. However, in Canada, the assignments are much smaller but more frequent. Luckily, all of my exams have been open book and/or multiple choice. This I have found quite difficult because I am quite a procrastinator, but it has forced me to get a good work ethic going. Which will be really beneficial when I return to DMU for my final year.


Luckily, I haven’t had many serious problems since being here! Apart from expected problems like homesickness, I have been quite lucky. One way to combat homesickness is the obvious, to just keep in constant contact with friends and family. Me and my friends have been facetiming just to keep up to date with each other’s lives, which doesn’t make me feel so far away. As well as this, I am seven hours behind the time in the UK, so to deal with this I just make sure to call family in the evening and keep my world clock on for London! Therefore, I know when is best to call family and friends to stay in contact.

In conclusion…

All in all, this has been one of the best decisions I’ve made and I’m having so much fun! So, if you’re thinking about doing it, I would recommend it to everyone!

Nik’s year abroad in Strasbourg

When most people think of France, they think of wine, cheese, and picturesque villages. While these are all accurate reflections of French culture, there is so much more to discover. With its rich history, diverse landscape, and unique language, France is a great place to study abroad. Plus, the French language is one of the most spoken languages in the world, making it a useful asset to have on your resume when finishing university.

If you’re thinking of studying abroad in France, or studying abroad more generally, here are some of my experiences that you may find useful…

Language barriers

You may think being one of the closest countries to us geographically, that the culture shock will be minimal, at least that’s what I expected. But if like me, you’ll be surprised to know you’re wrong. Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if you’re willing to drive in! Perhaps one of the most obvious things that hit me was the language, now while most people you meet will be able to speak English, don’t expect everyone to, and you’ll realise this pretty quick.

My move in experience certainly wasn’t the smoothest and the language barrier was a big player here. If you don’t speak the language of the country you’re visiting, then my top recommendations are:

  1. Make are to make friends with someone that does speak the language
  2. Use translation apps, (Deep L is surprisingly good, and uses AI) to help communication with others
  3. Lastly, be as expressive as possible with your body language.

All of these will help you get around when language does become a problem.

Meeting new people

So, after I had moved in my next step was meeting people whom I was going to be spending the next year with. While you’ll meet people on your course, joining international groups via Facebook, WhatsApp and other social media platforms is a great way to meet people even before arriving in the country and also helps break the ice for when you do meet in person for the first time.

This is how I met most of my 1st semester friends and meant I had friends from a range of different degrees. I mention 1st semester specifically because it’s quite common for European exchange students to only take part in a single semester exchange, which meant I had two friend groups for each semester and means you can meet even more people. This of course doesn’t mean there won’t be people that do the full academic year like you.

Academic studies

This is another aspect that may give you a little culture shock. Whether this be in terms of how classes are presented, the expected arrival times or the seriousness of failing to attend. For example, in Strasbourg, missing 2 seminars for module in a row results in the removal of your participation of that class. As an international student they are however a little more relaxed about this. But something to be aware of and may be similar at other institutions.

Social life

I perhaps had a rather unique exchange experience compared to most; I speak specifically of the COVID-19 pandemic here. I took my exchange in the height of restrictions yet still managed to have an amazing time. While clubs, pubs, shops and cafes were all closed at some point or another during my time abroad I still managed to enjoy every second of it, which just goes to show that a year abroad is not just about the activities you get to do but the people you do them with!

Try to make the most with what you have, for example we went on hikes, picnics and bike rides and whatever else we could find. And some of my most memorable moments are from these. Like falling down a hill while hiking to canoeing through the cities rivers to swimming in a lake! The best piece of advice I can offer you is to say yes to everything and anything that comes up, the worse case scenario is you find out you don’t like something. It doesn’t hurt to try.

In conclusion…

The biggest benefit I’d say I have taken from my exchange is that of the progress I’ve made on personal development, primarily my confidence. I used to be shy, withdrawn and unsociable, and while I can admit I may still have some of those traits, I can not begin to explain how much they’ve improved. I now enjoy giving presentations, actively participating in class and made connections with my lectures I didn’t have before I had left. All things I never thought I would be able say by the end of my degree, but here I am.

If you’re considering a year studying on exchange, please take my advice: Go for it! you won’t regret it!

Jessie’s summer in Seoul, South Korea

Jessie Nsingo, having completed her first-year studying Music, Technology and Performance, spent 4-weeks at Yonsei International Summer School (YISS), one of the world’s premier universities in South Korea! Through the YISS program, Jessie studied in one of the most exciting cities in Asia, Seoul. Based in centre of the city, she was taught by both Yonsei’s distinguished faculty and was immersed in Korean culture throughout the experience.

The opportunity was partly funded by the Turing Scheme and was open to all DMU students. Below are some of her thoughts about the experience…

Why did you decide to travel abroad with DMU Global?

I decided to travel abroad with DMU Global as I wanted to have the full experience of what University has to offer, and broaden my understanding of education on a global level. As a musician and artist, being able to study abroad is particularly important as it helps with inspiration for projects, practicing social skills and learning essential skills needed for the industry. I also wanted to travel abroad, especially to South Korea, as I am currently practicing my Korean language skills. I also love to challenge and push myself out of my comfort zone. When you are in a different country, you are forced to adapt to diverse cultures and mannerisms as well as communicate in a completely different language.

Were there any barriers that you had to overcome to participate on this experience? Were you nervous about anything prior to going abroad?

There definitely were barriers! As I was travelling on my own for the first time, I had to learn how to check in for my flight, manage my time and make sure that I had all the essential documents . After arriving in South Korea, I had to build up my confidence to communicate in Korean to get around, whilst appreciating that I was still learning. I was extremely nervous that there would be things that I did not understand, but the locals were very lovely and extremely helpful.

How helpful was Widening Participation Turing funding in allowing you to participate?

The funding, which I am really grateful for, allowed me to pay for the program fees, cover the cost of the housing and overall helped me to take part in this experience. Alongside my travel insurance, the funding gave me security.

What activities did you participate in whilst abroad?

I was studying abroad, this allowed me to get experience from another university as well as learn a whole new subject. I was able to visit loads of tourist attractions; I hiked up a mountain, I got to see the whole city from a tower, and I got to try numerous different foods as well as experiences. Honestly, there are so many things that I can list out. It’s better to experience it for yourself rather than hear it from me!

What would you say to somebody considering participating on a DMU Global experience?

Do not miss the chance! Honestly, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Do not let the fear overcome your thoughts and just do! It was a 1 in a million chance and it happened to be. If you do not get this opportunity now, there are so many others.

Learn more about Jessie’s experience in her VLOG below.

DMU student, Stephanie makes a difference volunteering in Fiji as part of the Turing Scheme

Stephanie Muthambulwa, a first-year Law student, has recently returned from her very first DMU Global opportunity – Volunteering in Fiji for four weeks with Think Pacific!

With a focus on youth empowerment for sustainable development, as a part of the opportunity, Stephanie lived with a Fijian family in a rural community and worked in a team to assist community development projects that help the Fiji National Development Plan succeed.

The opportunity was partly funded by the Turing Scheme and was open to students that meet their criteria to help widen access to international experiences. Below are some of her thoughts about the experience…

Why did you decide to travel abroad with DMU Global?

I decided to travel with DMU global because of the support and guidance that is provided especially for me not having travelled a lot by myself. I applied because I believed that it would be a good personal development step in my life. In addition, as I am a first-year student, I wanted to make the most of my time at university.

Were there any barriers that you had to overcome to participate in this experience?

One barrier that I had to overcome to participate in this experience was my lack of extra finances for the trip. I was unable to find a part job during my time in university and I was worried about the extra costs of the program, especially being a careleaver, meaning that I did not have any help from my family. I was able to speak to my social worker and she managed to help me get funding for the extra costs of the trip. In addition to this, I had to overcome my shyness and be confident in being the first to engage in a conversation in person (unlike the messaging we did on the group chat) with the other people coming on the trip.

How helpful was the Turing Scheme bursary in allowing you to participate?

The Turing Scheme bursary was helpful for the trip in covering flights and the Think Pacific fees. This allowed me to secure my place in the program and feel less anxious about the major details. Once the flight was booked and the fees were paid, I didn’t really have to worry about anything else.

Were there any local foods or drinks that you discovered and enjoyed?

The abundance of coconuts in Fiji means that the majority of the local cuisine is prepared using fresh coconut cream, and I love coconuts! My favourite meal would have to be the taro leaves which were boiled in coconut cream. However, I also loved lovo which is cassava, pork or chicken, taro leaves and dalo (taro) wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in the ground. The flavours were rich and delicious.

Due to the heat, I drank a lot of water, but I also tasted kava, a traditional Fijian drink that is consumed both medicinally and for social purposes. It has a really earthy flavour that not everyone would like, but after a few days, I got used to it. If you visit Fiji, I recommend that you give it a try. In fact, you might have already received a lot of offers before you even asked.

What was the highlight of your DMU Global experience?

The highlight of my DMU global experience must be the local aspect of the whole project. Living with a host family and getting to know them, spending time with them. We taught what in England are normal basic skills to which in return they taught us their culture and customs. At the end of the whole 14 days, I got to perform and show them what I learned from them. Also, I seem to pick up languages quickly so that was a bonus for me because now I know basic Fijian!!! I am still in touch with my host family, and they have told me countless times that I am welcome in their home anytime which is such an honour for me.

Has your DMU Global experience inspired you to pursue further international experiences?

This is my first DMU Global experience and it has 100% inspired me to apply for more programs that offer cultural exchanges or anything to do with volunteering and learning about people. I plan on applying for a year abroad as well to build more on my cultural and personal knowledge.

Finally, what would you say to somebody considering participating on a DMU Global experience?

Go for it, you won’t regret it! Even though it might seem daunting, and you may be worried about meeting people or talking to people, there will always be someone to talk to. Worrying about settling in, trust in time, and soon it will be home. Do things that you are afraid to do, that is what aids growth!

DMU Global praised by student wheelchair user for making trip to Berlin accessible to all

Umaymah Dakri, 21, who is studying Speech and Language Therapy at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU), flew to Berlin this week for a DMU Global trip looking at how Germany’s capital is working towards the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, and has praised DMU Global for helping organise her first solo trip overseas.

Umaymah says the team at DMU Global, the university’s international experience programme, and the DMU Global Disability support officer Dipika Patel, went out of their way to ensure the trip was tailored to her needs as a wheelchair user.

It means that Umaymah, who has Spina Bifida, had arrangements made to ensure bus travel, passenger assistance at the airport and a personal assistant in Berlin were  all in place to ensure she experiences everything her fellow students do during the trip.

Umaymah says other students with mobility needs should also apply for DMU Global trips, based on her positive experiences.

“It is fantastic that there is this amount of support for a disabled person and it makes sure I can enjoy a DMU Global trip and do the same things as everyone else does,” Umaymah said.

“They have really ensured I can have the best possible student experience. It is the first time I have been overseas without my parents helping me and they are very excited for me.

“I had lots of meetings with the DMU Global team and was asked what support I would need. So we have discussed getting on and off the coach to the airport, passenger assistance at the airport, getting a seat at the front of the plane to get on and off easily, hotel access and a personal assistant to help me while in Berlin.

“It is going to be so good to experience some independence and also get some creative content for my Instagram page and show how easy or difficult it might be to navigate your way around Berlin in a wheelchair or other mobility aid.

“I want to be able to give people who use a wheelchair or who have mobility issues a deeper insight into where to visit, how easy it is to find a toilet, where there may be lots of steps and so on and then give my view on whether the city is a good place to visit.”

Umaymah started to campaign on access issues when she had problems with cars parking on pavements around where she lives in Leicester.

In the past year she has run a campaign called #dontcurbtheaccess about cars which pull up on to kerbs.

“I’ve created videos to highlight problems caused by parked cars and how it affects people in wheelchairs or people with mobility issues. Parking on the kerb means I have to go on to the road in my wheelchair to get by and it’s obviously dangerous.

“I live in the city so we have people parking badly for work or when they go to the mosque or some people park where there is a dropped kerb which is the only way I can cross a road in my electric wheelchair.”

Umaymah plans to record her trip on her social media channels to show her 2,000 followers what it is like to visit tourist destinations in the city. You can follow or catch up on Umaymah’s story on Instagram

Hurray for Hollywood! DMU Global takes to the skies again with Film Studies students’ trip to LA

The Wonder Con poster by comic artist Jen Bartel

After being grounded by worldwide travel restrictions, the award-winning DMU Global scheme is taking to the skies again with overseas trips resuming after more than two years.

Film Studies students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) could barely contain their excitement as they jetted off to Los Angeles today and the world capital of movie making.

It’s just one of a number of new overseas experiences being run by DMU Global for DMU students this spring and summer as a pilot to resume trips.

During their 10-day visit to LA, the Film Studies students will head to Wonder Con – a three day internationally-renowned comic convention – to look at fan culture, which they study as part of their degree.

They will gather information from fans they meet to inform their degree work and understand how media culture, such as film and TV, is consumed experienced, lived and celebrated around the world.

On top of that, students can complete their once-in-a-lifetime trip to California by vising fan pilgrimage sites such as the Hollywood sign, Universal Studios, Disneyland, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Dolby Theatre where the Oscars took place on Sunday, Paramount Pictures – including a rare opportunity to see the paramount archives – the Hollywood Forever Cemetery and Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.

Dr Matt Jones, Deputy Programme Leader for Film Studies and Academic Practices Officer, has organised the incredible trip for the students with the DMU Global team and has been involved in designing and delivering overseas opportunities since 2014.

He said: “It is a once-in-a-lifetime, literally money-cannot-buy experience that gives our students the connections, knowledge and adventurousness of spirit they need to succeed in the global film industry. What an absolute and utter relief to have DMU Global back!”

Before heading off to LA, Film Studies student Kimberley Clarke said: “it was DMU Global that convinced me to come to this university. The course is brilliant but a trip to LA too – that was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I could not miss. Then COVID hit and I really thought the chance had gone.

“When it was confirmed we would be going to LA I think I just squealed. I couldn’t contain myself.”

Fellow Film Studies student Lucas Parker, whose favourite movie is Jaws, said: “This will be the first time I have been to the US and the first time I will have ever gone to a convention.

“It’s an incredible opportunity for me to experience the world and broaden my horizons.”

Bethany Peake, also Film Studies, said: “We are going to be travelling to the heart of the film world and immerse ourselves in it. I know we share the same language with the US but we are going to be experiencing a completely different environment and culture. It is so exciting.

“I grew up watching Marvel Films and the DC Comics universe so to be able to go to a convention in LA does not seem real.”

Maddie Kirby, Film Studies and Creative Writing, added: “I was watching the Oscars on Sunday night and to be going to the very same theatre where that happened is amazing. When I think about touring round LA I can’t help but think ‘who are we going to bump into?’.”

Iona McGinn, also Film Studies, said she is excited about visiting the Friends set in the Warner Bros studio lot. “This is our moment to shine. After three tough years of study, and 18 months spent learning online I think this is our reward. This has bonded us as a group and we are all so excited to be going to share these incredible experiences as a group of friends.”

Dr Jones added: “One reason our students choose our Film Studies programme is its global focus. During the pandemic, that has had to be largely theoretical due to the imposition of travel restrictions. We coped just fine, but I know the students felt they were missing out on experiencing international film cultures first-hand.

“So now to be able to take final year students, who have had a rough few years of missed opportunities, to Los Angeles to see the world’s most famous film industry in action and to attend a major fan convention of the sort that you just can’t find anywhere else is simply incredible.

“Several of our students have never left Europe before, and a couple have never left the UK. To have the privilege of being able to open up their horizons in this way is so special and is one of the reasons I am so proud of the work I do at DMU.”

Study abroad for a year through DMU Global

Students are being encouraged to apply to spend a ‘life-changing’ year overseas as part of their course at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

The DMU Global team is welcoming applications from second year undergraduate students to study at universities in Europe, North America and Asia for a year, before returning for their final year of study.

Students can spend a year in Europe through the Erasmus + programme or International Exchange, which provides opportunities to study in destinations such as Prague (pictured above), USA, Canada, South Korea and Japan.

Former exchange students Maria Bouazzouz and Kajal Patel studied abroad last year and have returned to complete their degrees, while also working part-time as student exchange advisors for DMU Global.

You can read their take on the experience below, but when asked if they would recommend a year studying abroad, they both said it was ‘life-changing’ and students needed to ‘just go for it’.

Maria, who studied in Prague, in the Czech Republic, said : “Do not even think twice about it. Just apply. There is not one bad thing I could say about the experience.”

You can read about Maria’s year on Erasmus+ programme here.

Kajal, who studied in South Carolina, USA, added: “The year was life-changing. If you get the opportunity I would say go for it.”

Aamena Meidell, Student Exchange Coordinator at DMU Global, said: “Our partner universities offer a range of academic programmes that are relevant to your course at DMU and there is financial support available to help with the costs of living overseas.

“Our team is here to help everyone work through the process and we will do everything we can to make the application process as easy as possible. We are also there for you while you are overseas to help with any issues.

“It is a great opportunity to enrich your studies, immerse yourself in a new culture and to develop a range of transferable skills valued by employers.”

Interested students can visit the DMU Global website for more details and can email the Global Mobility Office to book an appointment to discuss your options further at

There will also be a Study Abroad Fair taking place on Wednesday 20 November in the Hugh Aston Atrium, 1 – 3pm for a chance to learn more about the destinations on offer.

Maria Bouazzouz
Third year, BA (Hons) English and Media Communications
Charles University, Prague
“The main thing for me is it has made me more confident. I live in Leicester and live at home while I am studying at DMU so it was a big step for me to travel overseas.
“I have always loved travelling so I really wanted to go. And with Prague being in central Europe it means I could visit other countries such as Germany and Italy.
“I made a lot of friends and I returned to DMU with a different perspective on life. I tackle my assignments in a different way after experiencing the teaching in Prague for a year.
“I have to admit I miss Charles University and the people a lot. All the great things I have learned I am implementing now in my life.
“If someone said ‘do you want to go again’ it would be a case of no questions asked. I would definitely do that.
“I would say to anyone considering a trip to just go for it. Do not even think twice about it. Just apply. There is not one bad thing I could say about the experience. It is life changing.
“One thing people might ask about is that you take a year out of your course and come back for another year after all your friends have already graduated. But it is a new experience and you meet new people on your course so no problems there at all!”

Kajal Patel
Third year, BSc Psychology
Francis Marion University, South Carolina
“The year in the USA was life-changing. I had always known I wanted to study abroad but I didn’t know how to go about it. Then I got in touch with DMU Global
“I studied for a year in South Carolina, and it gave me a great insight into how different the education system is over there.
“The experience has given me ideas for my dissertation and the route I want to take for a career. I also want to go back to the USA to study as a post-graduate. The classes were a lot smaller than in the UK and the one-to-one time with the academics was more frequent.
“In fact, I built up a real rapport with the professors and I still keep in touch with them via email. They offer me advice on my assignments and give me a different perspective on my future options.
“Once you get to your university you make a lot of friends too. And you have time to travel and see the rest of the US. I went on a ten-hour drive to Miami with some friends and then we went as a group of about 100 on an educational trip to Washington DC. So you definitely get to experience life elsewhere.
“If you get the opportunity I would say go for it.”

My entirely (or should I say en-Thai-ely) amazing adventure by Sarah Hayley

There aren’t many posts I write where I don’t quite know where to start, but the excitement has sent my head all over the place – in a good way! I have just come to the end of *the* most amazing six-week adventure! I guess I’d better start from the beginning so that you can begin to understand my enthusiasm!

Some time ago, my university in Leicester offered students the chance to take a trip to the Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University in Bangkok to teach English as a foreign language to students there. De Montfort University offers the scheme upon completion of a TEFL course that they also provide.  

I wasn’t sure at first, but the more I considered the idea, the more I realised what a fantastic opportunity it would be for me. 

Twelve months ago, just the mention of such a trip would have had made me anxious. No way could I travel there and embark on such a mission! However, I’ve changed over the last year, and something was whirring away in the back of my mind, telling me to give it a go!

I knew that eight of us would be going in total; one I already knew but the others I didn’t. So, I took the bull by the horns and signed up!!

We did a lot of preparation and training at university before we set off on our adventure and before I knew it, I’d boarded that flight to Thailand to have, what I now know to be, one of the best experiences of my life.

On my first day at Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University, I was absolutely freaked out. Yes, I’d done the prep work and training back at home, but nothing had really equipped me for a room full of students, all staring at me – their new English teacher! 

I’ve always had a fear of speaking in front of people; a huge group of wide-eyed students, who I knew would be clinging to my every word being one of my worst nightmares. However, despite my reservations, I did it!! And did I feel good afterwards? … Oh, my goodness, yes! That first day was hard but a real accomplishment for me. After that, every day seemed to get a little bit easier as I grew in confidence. I built up a real connection with the students, and we kind of helped each other really!

Teaching aside, I had the time of my life discovering beautiful, bustling Bangkok. The street markets, China Town, the temples and the legendary Khao San Road were like nothing experienced before. The locals were so friendly, and I loved the Thai culture. At the weekends, a friend and I travel further afield, and we explored the delights of Malaysia, Singapore, Dubai and Indonesia.

I had been worried about spending so much time with the six other people I didn’t know who were also teaching English as a foreign language at the same university. In fact, we all gelled right from the off! I think I speak for us all when I say we all got on so well together and really enjoyed spending time exploring as a group. I made some really great friends for life through a fantastic experience.

And, during the trip, not only did I grow as a person and achieve some of the best things I’ve ever achieved in life, I really do feel like I made a difference to the students’ lives in Bangkok. Their progress over the six weeks was remarkable. We had all built up a real rapport; they were keen to learn, and I was eager to teach. What a better combination could there be?

Now I’m back in the UK, and I already know I’d love to go and do it all again. I hope to continue teaching English online, and I’d love to travel elsewhere in the world to embark on a similar project in the future. I’m interested in exploring a more advanced TEFL certification – maybe Level 5 – or even a CELTA course which provides a certificate for teaching English to adults.

For now, all I can do is offer my sincere gratitude to everyone who helped make the trip happen for me – the staff at both De Montfort University in the UK and the Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University in Thailand, the group I travelled with and also for the support of my boyfriend and my family.

I will never forget this fantastic time, and I would urge anyone who ever gets a similar opportunity to grasp it! You won’t regret it!

Check out some of my photos @sarahhayleyl and video (below) made by a close friend and teaching partner from the trip. The pictures and video only begin to paint the story of an unforgettable trip!

Students visit European Parliament on trip to Brussels and Ypres

Nine students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) visited Brussels for a three-day study tour organised by East Midlands Labour MEP Rory Palmer.

The students acted as facilitators in a programme arranged for 30 school pupils from Nottinghamshire.

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The DMU group at NATO headquarters

The visit was organised in conjunction with #DMUglobal, the university’s pioneering international experience programme, which aims to enrich studies, broaden cultural horizons and to develop key skills valued by employers.

The itinerary, which included visits to First World War battlefield sites in Flanders, meetings in the European Parliament and a briefing by the United States Mission at NATO headquarters was designed to improve the students’ knowledge and understanding of democracy, good governance, global citizenship and internationalism.

The first calling point was Ypres in France where the students participated in the sounding of the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate memorial. Fatimath Bawa-Allah, Evie Chambers and Maria Tariq formed an official bearer party to lay a wreath in memory of the allied forces that fell in and around Ypres between 1914 and 1918.

“I was proud to have the honour of laying a wreath at the Menin Gate on behalf of DMU,” Law student Maria Tariq said.

Brussels 3A DMU wreath laid at the Menin Gate

The party then travelled to Brussels, stopping briefly at the Tyne Cot cemetery, where nearly 12,000 men and boys are buried. The sight of row on row of headstones in the morning sunshine, many of them unmarked, had an emotional impact on the students who spent 30 minutes in quiet reflection at the immaculately kept Commonwealth War Graves Commission site.

Rory Palmer MEP said: “Visiting the Menin Gate and Tyne Cot Cemetery gave the DMU students an important opportunity to reflect on the devastating events happening in mainland Europe a hundred years ago.

“The students found this part of the visit deeply moving and have gained a better understanding of the terrible sacrifices made during the First World War.”

On arrival in Brussels, the students toured the House of European History museum before a behind the scenes look at the European Parliament, including a visit to the Hemicycle where 751 MEPs vote on major policy issues.

Later the group engaged in a lively career speed dating session with a range of European decision makers and opinion formers including MEPs, parliament staff, journalists and political advisers.

Brussels 4DMU students with Rory Palmer MEP at Nato Headquarters

The wide range of job opportunities available in government circles proved surprising to many of those taking part, particularly Hafsah Dassu who is studying Economics.

“I really appreciated the speed dating activity,” Hafsah said. “Speaking with people from diverse backgrounds in influential positions opened my eyes to the opportunities available to me, and they are not beyond my reach.”

The trip concluded with a rare visit to NATO’s new European Headquarters which houses around 4,000 staff from 29-member countries. The students received a private briefing on the arrangements for security co-operation in Europe and North America that were put in place via a treaty signed in Washington DC in 1949.

The visit was hosted by the US delegation whose representatives fielded a range of challenging question from their guests on subjects ranging from the terrorist threat to nuclear deterrence.

International Business Postgraduate student Fatimath Bawa-Allah said: “This has been a real eye-opener for me. Despite not being an EU citizen, it made me understand the impact that Brexit will have in so many different ways.

“The visit to the Parliament and to NATO was very enlightening and I want to thank Rory for giving me the opportunity to take part.”

Brussels 5Students take part in ‘speed dating’ with European Parliament staff

Rory Palmer concluded: “I’ve always believed that young people should have the chance to visit political institutions and see how they work at first hand.

“When I became a Member of the European Parliament I was determined to listen to young people and to involve them in my work. I’ve visited schools and colleges and met with youth councils; this unique trip to Ypres and Brussels was the next stage of that work.

“I’ve really enjoyed hosting this group of students from DMU. From what they’ve told me, they’ve found it interesting, enjoyable and a valuable learning experience.

“Throughout the trip the students demonstrated a strong understanding of global challenges and had clear and informed thoughts about the UK’s place in the world. They represented the university and their communities with distinction. There is great potential for some of these young people to become the diplomats, politicians and leaders of the future.

“Like others of their generation, they are intelligent, articulate and have clear ideas on how to improve society for the better. They are inspiring and they should give us all hope and optimism for the future.”

History students thrive on teaching placements in sunny Spain

From bustling Barcelona to rural Igualada, two De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) students are reaping the benefits of year-long teaching placements.


Kayleigh at the top of Tibidabo, the tallest mountain in the Serra de Collserola, overlooking Barcelona

History BA (Hons) students Kayleigh Cardy and Cory Hancock are developing valuable workplace skills as English language teaching assistants, while immersing themselves in Spanish culture.

The placement was organised through DMU’s Erasmus+ programme, which is offered through university’s award-winning overseas opportunities scheme #DMUglobal.

Participating students can receive funding to do a work placement for two to 12 months in Europe, after their second year of study and receive support from #DMUworks, the university’s careers programme.

Based in Barcelona, Kayleigh is working with children as young as one and up to 16, learning to tailor her teaching from simple songs and games with younger pupils to speaking practice with older students.

The 20-year-old from Braintree in Essex said: “The experience has been one big highlight. Seeing the students improve and knowing that I’m contributing to their education and future is so rewarding.

“It’s been so much more than a placement. I’ve travelled, I’ve learned about a whole new culture and I’ve grown as a person. It’s highlighted what I can achieve when I set my mind on something and I feel better prepared for my final year of university as I’m more independent and confident.”


Cory taking in Barcelona’s panoramic views from Bunkers del Carmel, an anti-aircraft battery during the Spanish Civil War

Kayleigh decided to do a year’s placement after a trip to Thailand with #DMUglobal, the university’s international experience programme. During her seven-day stay she had the chance to work as a language assistant in a school in Bangkok.

“I became passionate about teaching abroad, something I hadn’t considered as a potential job before. For me, there was no better time to try it out properly than while at university, where I could get support if I needed it,” she said.

“The placement team has been extremely valuable. From helping prepare me for the interview stage to being the first people from back home to visit me in Barcelona, they have been a very big comfort and it’s great to have understanding professionals to talk to about my experiences.”

Cory is teaching 11- to 16-year-old students in Igualada, a municipality in the province of Barcelona. He works with groups of four to five students at a time, supporting them with their spoken English.

“I wanted to do a placement to broaden my cultural awareness and I’m really proud of the way I’ve adapted to Spain, overcoming the language barrier to gain in-depth knowledge of their education system,” said the 21-year-old from Leamington Spa in Warwickshire.

“The experience has made me far more organised and responsible than I’ve ever been, which is a strong position to be going into my most important year at university.”

Thanks to a workplace module on his course, which supports all second-year students to gain work experience in a professional environment, Cory had previously completed a six-week placement at Leicester City Football Club (LCFC).

Working closely with the club’s historian in the archives, Cory had the chance to try his hand at a range of tasks from providing up-to-date team stats and taking part in an event for fans to sorting newspaper clippings about former players and sitting in on interviews with them.

He said: “As different as my two placements have been, I learned transferable skills at LCFC that I’ve been able to apply to my teaching. They’ve also both taught me to be resilient, which is a crucial life skill.

“I definitely believe that DMU is setting me up for future success, whatever my career might be. I’ve had so many opportunities to develop my skills in different areas and I feel very grateful.”

Students to learn from global health experts in Amsterdam

Students from De Montfort University, Leicester (DMU) are travelling to Amsterdam to learn how Dutch health experts tackle issues of sexual health, drug use and birth control.More than 140 students are set to fly to the Dutch capital today for a week-long trip through the university’s #DMUglobal programme, which offers students international experiences to bring their studies to life.

HLS trip AMsterdam (1)

Students studying Nursing, Midwifery, Psychology, Education Studies, Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Science, Pharmacy and Forensic Science will explore the city learning from health experts how authorities tackle issues like prostitution, drug use and sexual health.

Nursing, Midwifery and Psychology students will take a journey through the human body at The Body Worlds exhibition, where they will examine what makes people happy and the how daily decisions affect our propensity for happiness.

Student nurses will also visit the city’s Museum of Prostitution where they will learn about the history of Amsterdam’s sex worker industry and reflect upon the ways in which personal and societal attitudes and stigma can impact on health inequalities.

Meanwhile, Midwifery students will visit the Koninklijke Nederlandse Organisatie van Verloskundigen (KNOV), the Dutch equivalent of the UK’s Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). There they will learn the differences between the Dutch and English midwifery techniques and receive a lecture on the unique Dutch birth model.

HLS trip AMsterdam (2)

Students will also have the opportunity to visit some of the capital’s favourite museums including the Anne Frank House museum, marking the life of the Jewish Holocaust victim, and the Hash Marihuana and Hemp Museum, where they will learn about the advent of the Dutch tolerance policy, information on how cannabis works as a medicine, as well as the cultural and religious use of marihuana and hash.

Dr Steven Lyttle, Head of School Applied Social Sciences, said: “The purpose of this trip is to engage students in debates around the global health and social care agenda, with reference to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We will be focusing in particular on SDG 3 which aims to achieve good health and wellbeing for people of all ages by 2030.

“Amsterdam is a perfect location to have these events because a quite different approach to health and wellbeing has been adopted there compared to the UK and they are achieving some startling results in areas such as teenage pregnancy which are among the lowest in Europe.

“We are hoping that students will return to Leicester with an understanding of how their professional area has a role to play in achieving the SDGs, and we hope too that they have a better understanding that change happens in a cultural context and this will mean that what they need to do in the UK might be different from what is needed in other parts of the world.”

DMU Global funds Lydia’s New Zealand research trip

A rugby historian from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has won a new scholarship to spend five weeks doing research in New Zealand.Lydia Furse is the first history PhD student to be awarded funding to advance her research through the university’s DMUglobal programme.


Previously, DMUglobal has offered thousands of students trips all around the world to further their studies but is now extending its offers to help those taking on postgraduate research.

Lydia said the trip to New Zealand – a legendary nation in the global history of rugby – would give her invaluable insights into the culture and history of women players in rugby union.

She said: “The DMUglobal scholarship is designed to support international collaboration, which is perfect for my PhD project as I am researching the global history of women playing rugby union.

“New Zealand is a particularly significant country in the history of rugby, and getting the chance to immerse myself in the culture and history during this five-week research trip will be greatly beneficial to my understanding of the significance of women playing rugby in New Zealand culture.

“The DMUglobal trip will be an opportunity to undertake more primary research and to present some of the work l have already completed to an international audience. I’m delighted to be the first student from the ICSHC to receive this award and would encourage others to apply for it in the future.

“During the research trip, I will be able to visit archives, both local and national, and conduct interviews with former players to enrich my research as a truly international project and better reflect the significance of New Zealand in the history of women playing rugby union.”

Lydia 3

She added: “The application for DMUglobal required me to clearly state the aims of my research trip, which has encouraged me to take a varied approach to this trip, using to to complete primary research, network with New Zealand academics, and present my research at two international universities.”

Lydia has also had help and support from the World Rugby Museum, which also supervises her through the Collaborative Doctoral Programme. She said she hoped this trip could lay some of the foundations for an academic side to the Women’s Rugby World Cup, scheduled for 2021 in New Zealand.

“I am really grateful for the help that DMUglobal has given me, as this trip is vital for me to further enhance the international aspects of my research,” said Lydia.

DMU Global delivers dream international experience for Midwifery student Becky

Becky Telling’s dream from the age of 14 has been to help people in Peru – and De Montfort University Leicester’s (DMU) international experience programme has made it happen.

The Midwifery student headed to South America with #DMUglobal, volunteering at a healthcare centre in the capital, Lima, as well as at a clinic in the slums.

Midwifery Becky main

Her increased cultural understanding along with a host of other DMU experiences will help inform her first job as a community midwife, which she starts next month.

Becky said: “I have always wanted to work in Peru but I didn’t know how I’d achieve it. #DMUglobal made it happen.”

She spent two-and-a-half weeks in the country for her alternative learning experience, staying with a Peruvian family.

“We saw a side of Peru we wouldn’t have if we’d been at a hotel,” said Becky, who had already learnt Spanish to aid communication.

“I volunteered at a healthcare centre. One of the midwives’ sisters worked in a midwifery clinic on the edge of the desert in a slum area, so I started helping her in the evenings. I had never seen poverty on that scale before.

“The biggest challenge was how to provide the best care without resources. They told me my best contribution was education and to get as much expertise in the UK and bring it back to Peru.”

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It was DMU’s global outlook that attracted New Zealand-born Becky to study in Leicester.

“#DMUglobal drew me in,” said the 22-year-old, who moved with her family to Bedford in the UK aged eight.

Having always wanted to work in healthcare, Becky has enjoyed the 50/50 split of theory and practice on her course, along with lecturers’ varied teaching styles.

“The staff and mentors are very good at helping you progress and giving the right level of support as you need to start making clinical decisions,” she said.

Becky describes her placements as “tough but amazing”, with case-holding – in which final-year students provide continuity of care for up to 10 women with minimal supervision – her favourite.

“It’s the first time I felt like a midwife,” said Becky. “I was with one woman at her first appointment, I did most of the antenatal care, delivered the baby and provided postnatal care and it was amazing to share the journey.”

Becky main 4

Other highlights include her “confidence-building” role as a DMU brand ambassador and a second #DMUglobal trip with the Square Mile India project, to provide basic midwifery training to care assistants.

The learning went both ways. “Breastfeeding levels in India are high and the support is amazing – we learnt so much from them,” said Becky.

This experience fed into an art exhibition celebrating breastfeeding, held on campus, organised by Becky and fellow members of the Midwifery Society.

Becky is “excited” to take up her role as a newly qualified community midwife with the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

“I’m so happy to stay in Leicester,” she added. “The multicultural mix makes the city so interesting and prepares us to work anywhere in the world.”

Any students interested in a volunteering experience like Becky’s should check out the latest opportunities from #DMUglobal in Mexico and Cambodia.

How an International Exchange with DMU Global gave us the best year of our life

Three students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) have urged others to sign up for a year’s trip overseas after returning from an incredible experience in the USA.

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Saminee, Lauren and Oliver back at DMU after a year’s study in the US

Oliver Luscombe and Lauren Mansey, who are final year Politics and International Relations students, and Saminee Foster, who is in her final year studying Business Management, travelled to America thanks to the #DMUglobal International Exchange programme.

The programme offers DMU students the opportunity to study overseas at partner universities outside of Europe, for an academic year. The overseas studies are a sandwich year. This means students have the freedom to go off-piste and explore alternative subjects for 12 months, before returning to complete their DMU studies.

Applications for next year opened today and Oliver, Laura and Saminee say students should grab the opportunity with both hands.

Oliver, who spent a year at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, not too far from the metropolis of Atlanta, explained: “The thing that I enjoyed most was choosing what to study and mould together my own learning experience for a year. It meant I was studying alternative subjects that I would not get to cover during my degree at DMU. So I was getting the basics in marketing, I was learning about economics and studying business management as well as obviously studying politics.

“Essentially it was an incredible experience that I feel has increased my employability. I thrust myself into a different country and culture for a year and now I feel like I can take on anything.

“I was able to see American politics from an American’s point of view and also understand how they see UK politics. I now see my studies in a different light. And I have made friends from all over the world who were on similar exchange programmes. I would recommend it 100 per cent.”

Lauren studied for a year at Francis Marion University in Florence, South Carolina, thanks to a friendship she formed with an American studying at DMU.


Lauren, second right, with fellow students and teacher Dr Will Daniel at a US conference

She said: “I met Kylie Cracknell when she was a Fresher at DMU and we were in a lot of modules together in the second year. So when she returned to Francis Marion I went over and studied with her there. We were roommates and I have made a friend for life. In fact she is back at DMU studying a Master’s!

“I always knew I wanted to study abroad but what this year has done is give me a massive boost in my confidence. It was such a fantastic experience.”

Lauren joined the South Carolina Student Legislature which involves students from across the state coming together and debating Bills which are going before the US Government. Each person has to stand for one piece of legislature and be prepared to defend their stance.

Lauren said: “You really have to have done your homework and know your stuff because the other students pick your arguments apart. It was terrifying at times. If you can do that you can do anything.

“Your work is actually sent to the State House for consideration. My Bill was for the introduction of vehicle safety inspections as there are no MOT rules in the state. So if you see that become law in the next couple of years you’ll know where it came from!”

Lauren also attended the Midwest Political Science Association conference in April and presented a paper on the EU referendum, which has now become the basis for her dissertation.

Saminee studied for a year at East Carolina University in Greenville, which is, somewhat confusingly for non-locals, in North Carolina.


Saminee gets her kicks on Route 66 as part of an excursion with pals 

She said: “I studied a bit of everything. I had to choose three subjects related to business then anything else I wanted. So I did Management, Anthropology and even Alien Studies, which looks at claims of extra-terrestrial activity and studies the evidence to prove it is a hoax.

“I learned so much being out there and feel like I have come back a new person. The friendships you form are fantastic and I was also working with the LGBT Resource Office.  So you are not just studying but working with the community. I would say to anyone considering an International Exchange, they have to do it. When you graduate you can be so busy with new jobs you may not get the chance to do something similar again.”

For more details on the opportunities available through the #DMUglobal Exchange Programme, which offers opportunities in the USA, Canada and South Korea, follow this link.

DMU Global students see the macabre and the magical at German Plastinarium

Students entered a bizarre but mesmerising world of dissected body sculptures as part of this week’s #DMUglobal trip to Berlin.


The Biomedical Science and Medical Science students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) were a bit perturbed when they prepared to step into the Plastinarium, in the sparse and unassuming town of Gruben, on the Polish border east of Berlin.

Because Dr Hans Gunther Von Hagens’ has earned himself a worldwide reputation for indulging in the macabre by using his patented ‘plastination’ method to preserve donated bodies in silicone and turn them into artworks.

However, within a few minutes the students’ anxiety had lifted and they were in awe of what the museum was offering them.

A fascinating talk from their guide helped the students understand the plastination process, while a tour behind the scenes allowed those with strong stomachs to see bodies being dissected and prepared in silicone for distribution to medical teaching colleges and universities around the world.

They were then free to take in all the exhibits which included bodies stripped back to muscles and tendons, preserved, and then posed as, among other things, a gymnast, a hurdler, a painter and a ballet dancer. There were also dissected and plastinated animals, such as a 20ft great white shark and even a giraffe.

Medical Sciences student Suresh Vaddiraju said the experience was more magical than macabre, and he would like to donate his body to the Plastinarium.

“I did not expect it all to be as mesmerising as this,” he explained. “The whole process of dissection and plastination is insane. I think it has been magical…although there is always that thought that these were real people.

“I have made up my mind and will donate my body for plastination. It is more interesting than being buried or cremated and I am donating my organs anyway. So, why not? People will learn from me and they can see me forever.”


The educational benefits for the students were huge. Both the Medical and Biomedical courses teach modules on anatomy.

Biomedical Sciences second year Ola Akosile said: “I would recommend this trip to any science students. It has been a 3D consolidation of everything we have been learning.

“It’s also good for anyone who wants to be mesmerised by something you will have never seen the likes of before. It has been magnificent.”

Swaburhah Batanda, a second-year Medical Science student, said: “It has helped to actually see the dissections and body parts rather than just read about it and look at pictures. This is definitely going to help me going into my second year.”

Regilyn Lopez, second-year Biomedical Science student, said: “It has been extremely good…quite a weird experience. This is really helpful to our studies. I would recommend a trip to the Plastinarium to everyone studying a science. It is a cool experience if you have the stomach for it!”

Zoe Redshaw, who lectures the students on anatomy, said: “I think this trip was the main reason for us all coming to Berlin. One of the students told me visiting the Plastinarium helped her understand her course and could see all she had learned coming together for her. It has helped them all make sense of what they have learned.”


The Plastinarium takes around 1,500 hours to dissect and preserve one body. They are heavily oversubscribed with people wanting to donate their bodies to the cause. Each body costs a university between £60,000 and £80,000 to buy for teaching.

Around 200 students have arrived in Berlin in what has been called the most ambitious #DMUglobal trip yet. Three groups of students started their journeys through Europe in Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris to work with refugees and supporting organisations.

They are all coming together in Berlin at a special summit today, to discuss their experiences and see what next steps can be taken in their mission to meet UN goals and promote global citizenship.

Many are also taking part in academic trips, relevant to their degrees, to add to their learning at DMU, inspiring each student with distinct experiences that will prepare them to enter the global jobs market.

DMU Global students make a difference as they travel through Europe to help refugees

It was the first day of action in what is being called the most ambitious #DMUglobal trip so far – and more than 200 De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) students found out what it was like to really make a difference to those in need across Europe.

The students travelled through the continent working to support refugees in four different cities in a project organised between #DMUglobal, the university’s pioneering international experiences programme, and #DMUlocal, the award-winning project that brings about change in communities.

The students flew from the UK in four groups to Brussels, Amsterdam, Paris and Berlin to get hands-on experience working with groups or communities supporting refugees and other disadvantaged people.


From tomorrow the students will come together in the German capital to take part in a DMU event focused around the concept of global citizenship.

Many will also take part in academic trips, relevant to their degrees, to add to their learning at DMU, inspiring each student with distinct experiences that will prepare them to enter the global jobs market.

DMU students in Brussels began their visit to the city by travelling to Serve the City, a global movement of volunteers providing practical support for the homeless and refugees. It was started in Brussels in 2005 and is now active in 100 cities around the world.

The centre is a lifeline for those without a home, offering them a warm, dry and safe place to stay each night. Students helped to prepare a nutritious breakfast for those who had stayed at the centre overnight and handed out toiletry kits. A total of 300 meals were made-up and served by DMU students

Speech and Language Therapy student Dinithi O’Gorman said: “It’s all about finding out what we can do to make their day better in a small way.”

DMU Law student Kalem Todd added: “It’s a great experience. We’re in a different country and finding out about the circumstances some of these people have faced. It has been a good experience to come here and do something so worthwhile.”

In Paris, students visited Utopia 56, an organisation that mobilises citizens to support refugees living on the streets across the capital and beyond.

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First they learned about Utopia 56’s mission, followed by volunteering at its migrant centre, which included assisting vulnerable people, sorting through donations and preparing items such as hygiene kits.

Symone Ashley, a Business, Economics and International Relations MA student, said: “It was an overwhelming experience and challenging.

“I’ve taken away so many things from today. It’s made me appreciate what I have in my life and makes me want to do more to make a difference.”

While in Paris, students will also be visiting the Emmaus Centre to see how it supports families with crucial issues such as healthcare, education, accommodation and employment, and will learn about the contributions made by immigrants to France’s economic, social and cultural development through the Repères exhibition at the Cité Nationale de l’Histoire de l’Immigrati.

To round off their Paris trip, the students will be given a tour of the British Embassy by the British Ambassador to France, Edward Llewellyn.

In Amsterdam, students visited the Tassenmuseum, alongside the Herengracht canal which historically was the most luxurious address in the city in merchants’ times.


The museum has curated a new exhibition of bags and cases used by refugees forced to flee their country. It highlights the creativity and resourcefulness shown by refugees and considers the difficulty of knowing what to bring and what to leave.

Mental Health Nursing student Jabulani Ndlovu was moved by what he saw. He came to the UK as a refugee himself to escape the Mugabe regime and has previously said that studying to work for the NHS is ‘payback’ to the people in Britain who have offered him support since arriving in the country.

Now a naturalised UK citizen with a wife and four children, Jabulani said: “You can see pictures here of buildings that are torn apart and yet people picked what they could. It shows us sometimes that what may not seem to matter to you, matters to them. I have learned a lot today.”

The students also visited the University of Amsterdam, the largest university in the Netherlands, to meet the people behind Right to Education, an organisation which is supporting the Dutch refugee community by providing free language lessons.

Jess Bogic, from #DMUlocal, said: “The students are learning about the different projects happening here at the university. Hopefully they can take something back with them to Leicester and look at projects that we might be able to run together.”

Students arrived in Berlin on Monday and are preparing to work with refugees around the city starting early on Tuesday morning and throughout Wednesday. They will be working with the Red Cross and holding discussions with refugees at Marienfelde Refugee Centre Museum. Visits are also planned to the Real Junk Food Project, helping the team prepare meals for refugees using good food that would otherwise have gone to waste.

STUDENT VIEW: How DMU Global helped me see the world


Before starting at DMU, I had never left Europe. Now, in my final months of study, I’m lucky enough to say that I have added three new countries to my list, spanning three continents.

#DMUglobal wasn’t a driving force for me picking DMU, but after hearing about it on an open day and seeing the departures board outside the Hugh Aston building, I knew it was something I had to get on board with to complete my university experience.


My first trip was in February 2017, during my second year. As part of my Corruption and its Avoidance module, myself and 12 other students flew across the globe to Hong Kong.

The culture shock was immense the very second I stepped off the plane, it was like visiting a whole new world. With no knowledge of the local language, and not much money in our pockets, our group dived straight into the deep end, immersing ourselves into the local culture, and making friends with fellow students at City University.

In all honesty, it didn’t really seem real. We had been given £400 each by the university to help fund our trip, and couldn’t have done it without the fantastic support the university offer.

My second trip was even more beneficial to my course – this time, an 11-day journalism internship in partnership with the prestigious Charles University in Prague.


This was a perfect opportunity to practice my dream profession in the field, this time with the added difficulty of a language barrier and a city I’d yet to familiarise myself with, rather than roaming DMU campus with a notepad. Sharing my experience with other second years, as well as a handful of first years, we became a close-nit group of friends by the end, which is always an added bonus.

Finally, my third (and hopefully not final) DMUglobal trip was the mass-trip to New York City. Although some of us didn’t actually make it to New York because of the infamous ‘bomb cyclone’, it was amazing to see Times Square flooded with DMU scarf wearing students throughout our five-day stay.

The highlight of the trip was the UN Together event held at the UN HQ, where the university signed a charter with nine other higher education centres from around the globe to help combat the refugee crisis.


The most important thing to express about DMUglobal that the trips aren’t just an opportunity to see the world, immerse yourself into new cultures, discover new experiences or make memories that last a lifetime. DMUglobal does all of these things with one key bonus – the opportunities enrich your studies.

The bursaries I received for my trips are available to all other students, and help make the trips affordable for everyone. I never expected I’d ever be able to afford to visit Hong Kong, Prague and New York City all in the space of 12 months.

Without a doubt, I feel like a better student thanks to my DMUglobal experiences, and unquestionably, I would recommend it to every single other student, either current or future.

DMU students take their research beyond borders through #DMUglobal

Postgraduate students are being given the opportunity to expand their research horizons by spending time abroad through #DMUglobal, De Montfort University Leicester’s (DMU) international experience programme.

Kaie Small-Warner, a PhD student in the School of Architecture, has been at the Blekinge Institute of Technology (BTH) in Sweden since 19 January, where she will continue her research until 27 June.

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Over the coming months, more postgraduate researchers will spend time abroad at institutions in countries such as Germany, Romania, Malta, Spain, New Zealand, Singapore and USA.

Kaie is studying for a PhD in Sustainable Built Environment and her research focuses on using business models to improve sustainability in buildings and construction.

“I’m looking at how new buildings and renovations can be more sustainable using different business approaches” she explained.

“We have innovative technology but how do we help businesses change existing practices and how do we show them that the environmental and social elements are important as well?”

During the first year of her PhD she discovered that the Blekinge Institute of Technology was doing research with a similar focus to her so she applied for an international research funding opportunity from #DMUglobal.

Due to the way that doctoral research is funded in Sweden, Kaie said that without funding from #DMUglobal she wouldn’t have had the opportunity to collaborate internationally and take her research to the next level.

She said: “I’m really grateful for this opportunity. I wanted to collaborate with the department at BTH to improve my research methodology and also have a first-hand view of how it’s being used in academic research.

“This institution focuses on innovation and sustainability. It’s a small university and they are very specialised. The framework that I’m using in my research, called strategic sustainable development, was created here in Sweden and they use it within this department.

“All of the research projects here are done in partnership with industry or other research institutions. It’s very much focused on having an impact, which is good for my PhD data collection and gaining practical knowledge.”

Kaie, who is originally from Barbados, believes that there are a range of benefits to carrying out research abroad.

She said: “Being able to make connections is really important, so this international collaboration will be very useful both for me and the university as a whole.

“There are many different elements to it. Apart from experiencing PhD research in a different environment in a different country, there’s also a different culture, different opportunities and making new friends.

“As well as the professional and research benefits, being able to go abroad is a great opportunity for personal growth.”

Students help holidaymakers in Magaluf

De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) students have been helping holidaymakers stay safe during nights out in Magaluf.

Health and Wellbeing in Society students and their tutors worked with Street Angels, volunteer teams who patrol the resort’s nightlife district, to provide basic first aid and other assistance to partygoers.

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Student volunteers help a man with a sprained ankle in Magaluf

An unconscious young man was among those assisted by the DMU group, who provided comfort, called for an ambulance and tried to track down his hotel and friends based on his room key.

Volunteering was the highlight of a ‘memorable’ trip to the Spanish island of Majorca for student Sue Litchfield.

She said: “I had heard of Magaluf’s reputation, but hearing and seeing are two different things.

“I was shocked by the behaviour but also filled with compassion to help. I will definitely be going back again to help.”

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Students join Street Angels in Magaluf’s nightlife district

This was just one of the activities that enabled students to apply their learning in a real-life context and analyse factors conducive to risky health behaviours.

Trip lead Zaqia Rehman said: “The inspiration was seeing news reports about young British tourists in Spain who were falling from balconies because of reckless and alcohol-related behaviours.

“We teach social, psychological and political indicators to health behaviours, for example in workshops students look at why some people smoke or don’t wear seatbelts.

“We decided to do this on an international scale and compare Leicester with Magaluf.”

She said the volunteer shift between 3am and 7am – which saw students provide basic first aid to a woman who had cut her foot on glass on the beach and bandage a man’s sprained ankle – was a ‘fantastic experience’ that challenged students’ cultural expectations.

“We also wanted students to gain more rounded views and challenge stereotypes of tourists. Any time we were attending a partygoer, it was young white British women who came forward to help,” said Zaqia.

“All students reported a positive response from members of the public – one of our students was even recognised by a passenger at East Midlands airport.”

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Students share their thoughts on the #DMUglobal trip activities

Seeing how people behave in a different country has boosted Sue’s understanding of her subject.

“People dress differently, talk differently and act differently,” she said.

“Safety was a big thing and people just didn’t seem to take the precautions that they would probably take at home and seemed to rely on everyone around them to do everything for them.”

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DMU students at the international conference

Other activities during the five-day trip, offered through the university’s #DMUglobal international experience programme, included an observational day at a family-friendly beach in the capital, Palma, and attending the 40th International Conference of the Stress and Anxiety Research Society. Students attended presentations and workshops and saw Zaqia and colleague Dr Chris Elsey present their research.

Sue added: “It was easy to see that each country brought a different perspective on stress and resilience alone never mind the various other health issues we deal with every day.

“Different cultures and backgrounds give us different ways of looking at things, so we can find solutions together to help everyone.

“I learned much on the trip, especially from the diverse range of students who participated and the incredibly knowledgeable staff who went with us from DMU.”