Neuroscience with year abroad student at University of Leeds

Tiffany Quinn

Tiffany spent a year at Newcastle University, Australia while studying on her Neuroscience degree.

About the University

Why did you choose the University of Leeds?

From the moment I stepped foot on the campus I knew this was where I wanted to be. The staff and students on the open day were so warm and passionate and its hard to put into words, but there is definitely an air about Leeds that is hard to ignore! The city is amazing; its safe, fun and there is always something going on - whatever your interests are. I was particularly swayed by the opportunity to study abroad here and the number of partnerships around the world is just fantastic!

What have been the highlights of your time at the University of Leeds?

I joined street dance society in my first year and it's been the best decision in terms of meeting amazing people and making amazing memories. I also managed to get accepted to the University of Newcastle in Australia and that was the best year of my university experience. I got to take some amazing modules like marine biology and I also got to travel to a lot of places around Australia as well as the Philippines and Bali. I made some great friends that I still keep in contact with now.

How have the facilities (libraries/labs etc.) helped you get the most out of your degree?

You can find anything you need in any of the libraries on campus. The laboratory sessions throughout my degree helped us to gain hands on experience putting the theory into practice. My favourite  was the snail brain project in second year; we had to dissect their tiny brains (very difficult and frustrating) and then examine the effects of different compounds on the brain. It was amazing to see how much the central nervous system can vary between different species! It also highlighted the patience required to carry out difficult and technical practicals over a lengthy period of time!

What key aspects of your experience of Leeds would you highlight to students thinking about coming do the same course?

The variety of modules especially as you come into final year. Whatever your interests are, there is something for you and the staff are more than willing to help to expand those interests if you are proactive enough. 

What are your ambitions for the future? Do you have specific career plans? Has the Faculty (careers centre/lecturers etc.) helped you with these goals in any way?

I am currentlyin the process of applying to become a medical writer. I have some interviews lined up in a few months. I would like to eventually complete a Masters and possibly a PhD, but I will take my time picking the right courses. Throughout my degree, the University has made exceptional efforts to help us increase our employability skills (career fairs and panel sessions, mock interviews and applications) and there is always someone willing to help you gain relevant experience.

About my Study Year Abroad

Where did you do your study year abroad and what did you study?

I was at Newcastle university just north of Sydney in Australia. I remained a neuroscience student there however I did pick some interesting electives such as journalism and marine biology!

Why did you want to do a study year abroad?

I wanted to go out of my comfort zone and learn in a new place! I didn't apply for a placement year because I didnt know what I wanted to do at the time and therefore used the year to continue picking modules that interested me.

Could you describe your day to day life whilst you were on your study year abroad?

I had lectures on most days of the week but they were usually clustered earlier in the day which worked perfectly for going to the beach in his afternoon. I had a job at a fine dining restaurant on the beach and so would work 3-4 times a week and do revision/uni work whenever I wasn't doing that. We used most weekends to get out and explore the surrounding areas with our Australian friends - the wineries were phenomenal!

How did you get the chance to get involved with the culture and practices of the country you studied in? Were there any significant differences to studying at Leeds?

It's all about being proactive to be honest... I read lots of books, spoke to all my Australian friends and frequently visited museums and did culture day trips!

Student support is an important part of a successful placement. How did the support of the university help you during your study abroad year?

The University was really supportive and often put on loads of drop in sessions and fun activity days before exams to de-stress! I didnt really need specific help with anything but I knew where to go if I did!

What skills and personal developments do you think you have gained from your study abroad year that will benefit you in the future? What opportunities has your study abroad opened up to you?

I definitely enhanced my versatility, confidence and my ability to push myself far from home. You have to become independent when you do something like that and it subsequently forces you to become a little more ambitious!

Has your study year abroad changed your outlook on how you see your career path after university?

I was already very open-minded before going and have been fortunate to have travelled a lot from a very young age, however my year away definitely cemented the importance of going to - and embracing - new places and cultures.

Australia is very forward thinking with regards to science so I will definitely consider going back there for job opportunities in the future.

We want other students at Leeds to know what an exciting opportunity the study year abroad is. What was the real highlight of your year abroad?

Completing it!! Knowing that I managed to study and make a life on the other side of the world gave me such fulfillment.

How do you envisage your study year abroad to be relevant to your career prospects in the future? 

I made lots of contacts there, I spent some time with some neurologists, child psychiatrists and a geneticist. I would hope that I can call on them in the future if needs be.

What advice would you offer to students considering undertaking a study abroad year? 

Do it! If you are unsure what you want to do with your life or career then all the better! Take some to figure it out whilst broadening your horizon!