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. 

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.

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.”

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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.”

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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.”