Hi, my name is Regan and I'm currently taking part in an industrial placement year in China as part of the BA Childhood Studies programme. I consider myself to be a friendly and positive person who is very eager to expand my knowledge and experiences of other countries; therefore I felt that the industry placement year was perfect for me. My hometown is Manchester where I studied 5 A-Levels in order to achieve my dream of studying at the University of Leeds!
The University of Leeds has always been my first option as I love the city and feel that it is far away enough from home that I can be independent!
My degree programme involves elements of Psychology, English, Law and History with specific reference to children and their upbringing. The reason why I chose this subject was because I am very interested in the developmental stages through out childhood and the changes within that depending on different factors. When applying for the course I felt that it covered all the topics that interested me. For example, how children learn to read, speak and write as well as the implications of disability and the legislation involving child protection. I feel that my course meets all my expectations I am throughly enjoying it.
My course offers a wide range of topics which are all equally interesting, however the topic I enjoy studying the most is ‘Special Educational Needs’ (SEN) and disability. The reason for this is because it portrays an in-depth understanding of the procedures taken to protect and educate these children, which in my opinion is of high priority in the education system.
My Industrial Placement Year
On completion of my second year as a student of Childhood Studies, I felt that my time at the University of Leeds was going too quickly! I didn’t feel ready to begin my final year, as this meant growing up!! During this panic I was introduced to the industrial placement year which was brand new to my course. I was instantly drawn to this opportunity as it could open so many doors for the future, and of course delay the reality of becoming a graduate.
I decided to carry out my work placement somewhere abroad as it seemed the perfect chance to fulfil my desire to travel at the same time. So here I am in China, teaching English to children whose ages range from 2 up to 16! It was a very easy process with the help of the careers team who I have contact with every month therefore still feel like a valued student at the university.
What I've gained from my year abroad
Taking this opportunity has resulted in a very enjoyable experience which I will never forget! My favourite part of this experience has been interacting with the Chinese students and learning how their education system works in such a different way to ours. I have enjoyed my working experience, whilst being able to travel around China, for example I have seen Beijing, Harbin, Chengdu and Shanghai and for this I feel very lucky!
Although it may sound cliché, I feel that this experience has helped me to gain more self confidence and grow as an individual. As well as having an influence on me as a person, it has also influenced my interest in how the education system approaches SEN and disability; therefore I will research this further in my dissertation! I have been lucky enough to gain support from my school in China to carry out research on the students.
So, in doing this industrial placement year I have not only gained experience in my field and developed self confidence, I have also developed a dissertation question for when I return to complete my final year. I don’t even have to question whether this experience has been worth my time as the answer is so clear.
If anyone was to ask for advice on whether to take this opportunity, I would 100% recommend it to anyone. In any field, it is beneficial in so many ways and I feel that in this current climate there is little reason to rush your education when this chance is available.