I'm Chanchal Badlani from the Philippines and I am a second year doing BSc Psychology.
When I was looking for universities, I was primarily looking for a university with a big campus and my sister came and studied at the University of Birmingham and so I it was one of the top of my list. Then when I looked at the Psychology course it was quite interesting that they provided a wide variety of different areas of psychology. For example, last term we did a course on visual perception and illusions, so it was really interesting learning about how we perceive illusions, and this term we are doing a course on social psychology so we are learning all about individual and group dynamics. When I saw that in third that we were given choices it really intrigued me because they have a wide variety of choices from forensic psychology to child psychology.
The lecturers at Birmingham have a lot of experience behind them and it's really nice to know that we're learning from people who are experts at the field that they are teaching. So you know that the facts and information they're giving are current and up-to-date.
Well, the first two years of doing psychology you mostly do core modules. You don't have any choice aside from an MOMD (Modules Outside Main Discipline) in the first year and so the core modules that we have done are like statistic courses, which can be tedious at times, but other times it's just really handy learning how to do stuff on the statistics program that we've got introduced to rather than having to do it by hand.
We did an interview, I did an interview with my housemate because she does sports and we looked at people's attitudes towards exercising and it was really nice seeing from the start of the experiment looking at background usage all the way up to the statistics and seeing how things turned out, if they were significant and what that meant. So it's really good being exposed to that. I've learned so many different things that I didn't even know fell into psychology and we've had courses on the muscles and different parts of the brain and how they relate to different behaviours. And we've learnt all about child psychology and how people learn languages. It's just really interesting to learn all the different aspects.
My personal highlight, having been here for almost two years, is living independently because this is the first time I've ever lived away from home, and it's a thousand miles away from home, but it's really nice knowing that I can still fend for myself. Living in Birmingham and in the UK in general is so different from living in the Philippines. It’s really nice to be able to jump onto the bus or get the train and go anywhere I like and being able to go anywhere and everywhere knowing it's safe to go everywhere and anywhere. The city centre of Birmingham is just beautiful. It's got an outdoor and an indoor shopping area, so they've got most of all the big brands and they've got a variety of restaurants. They've opened a new section with all these different restaurants. So it's nice to sometimes go with my housemates like, instead of going out, we go for a nice meal and just sit around and have a chat. Around Selly Oak, which is by the university, there's a lot of pubs and stuff so, if on a night you don't have, let's say, an early morning or you don't have much work you can just grab a bunch of friends and you go to the pub and just have a nice time.
When I first came to Birmingham I joined the Indian Society and the Hindu Society because going to the meetings and going to the activities made me feel like a sense of home and helped with being homesick, and towards the end of last year I joined the Black Dragon Kung Fu Society, just for kicks. Ever since then I've really enjoyed it and I've been going regularly, at least twice a week and it's really nice meeting different people from doing all different courses and, at the same time, improving my physical fitness and just recently actually I've gotten a Kung Fu belt, I've upgraded and gotten a Kung Fu belt. So it's really nice knowing that what I've been doing is actually going somewhere.
There's so many different fields I can go to, I can do social care, I can do volunteering work and it will still help me, it will give me experience for my future and not only that I can also go into the business sector of, like, Human Resourcing with my degree. The university has given us ample information about this, getting people from different areas who have done psychology to come in and talk to us about what they've done and their experiences.
My top tip for a new student coming to the University of Birmingham is to get involved and get started early. I made the mistake of not looking at all of the different activities that were available and all the different societies that you can join. So I've only started quite late and it's just you need to get in there and then you'll be able to make more friends and you'll be able to know exactly what you enjoy and what you don't enjoy. Get started early on everything. If you want to start internships, get involved and start going to the career talks as early as first year just so that you can get an idea of what's there for the future. And, yeah, have fun!