Why I chose the University of Sunderland for my Social Work degree.

Why did I choose Sunderland University? For me its really an easy answer! Some people may think “Why would you pick Sunderland?!”. But to be honest, I know I’ve made the right decision. First and foremost I made the decision to study at Sunderland because of the atmosphere. The “feel” of the university struck me straight away when I attended the Open Day back in 2013 and the “feel” lasted the whole day! Every time I went to Sunderland University I got the buzz back. I felt the feeling at Leeds too when I went to their Open Day but problems arose and I lost that feeling! The feeling didn’t come back when I went to my interview. Even though the course was great and the university was high in the league tables, I just didn’t think it was right for me. Where a university stood on the league tables no longer mattered to me after this point. It’s what feels right for you!
Sunderland University had a great feel to it everytime. I went for my interview, felt the buzz again, went for a student shadowing day and definitely felt the buzz again (I will tell you more about my student shadowing day later!). I knew from then on that Sunderland was the right place for me!

The location was another selling point for me. I’m from near Newcastle so I’m used to the city. I didn’t want to leave this behind, as I wanted a place that would remind me of home. Leeds was just too big, York was beautiful but it was too out in the open & Teesside just didn’t feel “homely” to me. Northumbria was in Newcastle of course, but I wanted to experience a different area so I could gain more independence! Sunderland for me is far from home but close enough so I can get home easily when I want to. I like it that I’ll be near the coast, like I am at home! I also have access to the cinema right on my doorstep (something I’m not used to) and have lots of shops. Newcastle isn’t thaf far away if I need to go there so it works well. I have a football stadium near me too, where I can watch Newcastle beat Sunderland on Derby Day! Lastly for the location is the nightlife, I’m not a big drinker but I’d still like to get the experience of being a student at university. There are various bars and clubs & there is the students union too! It’s not as big on the nightlife scene as Newcastle but Newcastle isn’t that far away so I can still go out there if I want to let my hair down more! Sunderland is a cheap place to live, the accommodation is cheap but is good quality, the metro is on my doorstep too (though I have access to the free campus bus).

I will mention the buzz or “the feeling” I got again. The lecturers and the students really captured the buzz everytime I went there! The enthusiasm was constantly there and I genuinely felt that they loved being a student/lecturer at the university. When I went for my interview, I wasn’t nervous. Why? Because of the atmosphere at the university, I felt relaxed instantly. Students reassured me and lecturers calmed my nerves. It really helped on the day. This is one of the things that helped me with my decision. The lecturers and students were genuine, open and honest. No university is perfect and they highlighted the university’s strengths and their areas for development. I got a “real sense” of the university, rather than a “please come here, the university is perfect!”, like I did at other universities!

The facilities at Sunderland are excellent to say the least. Two libraries, a sports building filled with gym equipment, buildings that are modern & additional services like Health and Wellbeing that are very helpful! No complaints. I feel assured that I’ll have everything I need, when I need it. I’ll be using the library and the gym a lot so I’m happy that they are well equipped! I think that the modernity of the university will really help me feel like I’m close to home!

When I went to my student shadowing day for Social Work back in February 2014, I got to experience some of the teaching first hand. I was delighted that I was given the opportunity to sit in a seminar about my subject with current students. For two hours I was amazed by the teaching. The lecturer I was being taught by was so enthusiastic, very helpful and looked as though they genuinely had a passion for what they were teaching. My questions were answered well and I could clearly see that the lecturer/student relationship was going to be strong. Though this is just one experience, I have spoken to some of the other lecturers when at my interiew and at the open day and they are enthusiastic, helpful and genuinely passionate about Social Work.

Societies and Clubs – I really liked the clubs and societies that Sunderland has to offer! I love my sports and wanted a chance to meet new people! They have a lot of clubs and societies but if there isn’t one for you, you can start your own! This is encouraged within the university, due to it being a really good university for enterprise! I’m definitely going to start up a photography society when I get there in September 2014! I’ll be joining the Hockey club too!

Lastly but certainly not least was the course. I’m going to university to get a degree obviously! The course at Sunderland looks amazing! I like the fact I get to do a community study in the first year and that I get to practice my skills with service users as soon as I start! I like the structure of the programme too. I learn all the foundations in my first year and get to build on these in my second and third year. I’m really looking forward to the course!

Overall, Sunderland has the whole package for me. I chose Sunderland because it is located in a great city, that isn’t too far from home, has great facilities and great teaching staff. It offers me what I need in terms of accommodation and has amazing clubs and societies. The course is really intriguing and it just has the buzz, that really does last! If you like the sound of Sunderland University, go to one of their Open Days to find out more! You never know until you visit, but when you visit you’ll know!

Remember, pick the university that is right for YOU. Only you and no one else! You are committing to the degree for 2, 3 or 4 years so pick the right university!

Good luck 🙂

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