How did I begin my adventure with studying at De Montfort University?
I am in my first year studying Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Science at DMU. Is this the course and the university that I had long since decided to study, based on analysing my options and hours of careful thought?
Of course not!
And that’s in spite of the fact that I am the kind of person who likes to plan everything out and to know exactly what’s going to happen in my life well in advance. Nevertheless, I chose these studies on impulse and quite spontaneously.
In my last year at secondary school, I knew that I was interested in studying abroad and applying to foreign universities. Did I pick out the UK straight away? NO! I was terrified at the thought of the costs involved, and had a vision of having to take out a loan and began to worry about how I would cope, financially, and pay my way.
However, in the first school term I filled out applications to five universities, to study pharmacy, or related subjects, since not every university offers just pharmacy courses. Then, of course, I went through a stressful time, revising for my Matura exams, and I didn’t have a spare moment to think about what I might get accepted for and where I might go — the only thing that mattered to me was to do well in biology and my beloved chemistry.
I got positive replies from all the universities I’d applied to, but my first choice was the University of Portsmouth, with the University of Westminster being my fallback option. Even though I had made my choices, at this point I still rather doubted whether I would actually go abroad, but I carried on following the application process steps nevertheless. I didn’t think about De Montfort University at that moment.
When the Matura results came in, I discovered that I had got the grades I wanted, and that I had been accepted by every Polish university I had applied to. I still hadn’t received any answers from the UK, and so I began to think about where I would like to go to most, and tried to ignore the advice and opinions of other people.
I then realised that I was not totally convinced that it would be a good idea to study pharmacy or chemistry in Poland, and that I was not keen on the two universities I had chosen in the UK, either.
I sat down and started to think carefully and analyse my options, asking myself, and answering, the million questions that came into my mind. In the end, my Elab consultant suggested De Montfort University. I checked it out on the internet, had a look at its profile on social media and saw the positive feedback others had posted. DMU seemed unique. I got the impression that its students walked out into the world with more than a certificate and letters to put after their name (and now I can confirm that this is, in fact, the case).
Once I’d read the general information, I had a look at the courses and saw that, as well as studying pharmacy, I could also choose the course I am currently doing. I immediately wrote to my first and second choice universities, even though they had not yet sent me a response, telling them that I wanted to apply to a different university — and thanks to this, they rejected my applications through UCAS. I applied to DMU through Clearing and got an answer three days later.
I chose this course not because I got poor results or was turned away by pharmacy. In fact, my results were good enough to allow me to choose between straight Pharmacy or Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Science. I thought the second course sounded very interesting and would provide me with a broader range of options, both while studying and later on, when I chose a career path to follow. Everybody looks for something specific, personal to them. I am really happy with what I decided to do, and I am sure that this course will provide me with a chance to develop, and excellent theoretical and practical skills (we do lots of practicals!) since I can already see how much I have changed after just one term. I am also excited to know that, later on, I can do a Master’s in many different fields related to this subject and, in the process, broaden my horizons.
What is it like, living in Leicester?
Leicester is a great student town. I had never visited it before arriving on that first day, and since it was dark when I got there, and I had no idea what to expect, I must admit that I have done very well. I have met many people, I have made a few friends, so I always have someone to go out with in the evening or meet up with for a coffee and a catch-up, and this was one of my original fears — will I meet people I like since, after all, I was travelling on my own to an unknown place?
You will find everything here – literally everything. Don’t start worrying that you will miss Polish products in the UK — there are loads of Polish shops. I must admit that I often do my shopping there, as do many of my friends, because not all British foods appeal to someone brought up in Poland. You can get wonderful vegetables and fruit in Turkish shops, and their prices are lower than what you will find in Lidl or Tesco, whose prices are often higher than local stores.
Leicester, where De Montofrt uni is, is full of restaurants, pubs and coffee shops. It also has a great shopping centre, called High Cross, and many other places worth visiting. During the Christmas period the town has its own “Leicester Eye” and a skating rink. As for the cost of living — cafe prices, rents and costs overall are much lower than what you will pay in London. Leicester is not a difficult town if you want to find casual work, and you can even look for a part-time job on campus. It’s worth thinking about your day to day choices — where you shop, what you buy and whether you really need to pay for a cup of tea in Starbucks? If you try to keep on top of your expenses and live wisely, then you will find Leicester a very affordable place to study!
Why De Montfort University?
SMU is a brilliant place for self-development and pursuing your hobbies and finding new, exciting interests. You have a huge number of societies to join, the library is open 24/7 and is really well stocked, there is even a club on campus, as well as DMU surgery, a medical centre where every SMU student who lives in Leicester has a right to register.
The lectures at De Montfort University are conducted in a way which makes for an enjoyable learning environment, the language used is straightforward and you never get the impression that you are being hurried through the course materials. No one will ever dream of mocking you because you do not know something which is obvious or basic. Even if the subject is banal, and someone admits that they don’t understand it, they will never be criticised (if it’s the first and not the hundredth time, of course!) The lecturer will try to make it clear once again, or will tell the student where to find information and help. There are also a great many international lecturers on campus. For example, in my department, I am taught by people from Scotland, Algeria, Russia and China.
Try to remember that if, at a later date, something changes for you, or doesn’t go as you planned, the choice you have made doesn’t have to be permanent — as you can see from my case. The most important thing is to make sure that you don’t miss any application deadlines.
It won’t be easy, there will be bad days and moments of doubt, but I am totally convinced that going to a university abroad, the course and the experiences we gain will repay making the effort.
Good luck with your applications!