Students share their experiences of living and studying at the University of Exeter
Sophie, studying BMBS Medicine
Exeter Medical School was an obvious choice for me as I knew that I would work best in interactive small-group sessions like Problem-Based Learning (PBL) and clinical skills, rather than on a lecture-based course. The opportunity to go on community placements from day one is something I really value, as it gives real-life applications to what I'm learning and the opportunity to meet a wide variety of patients.
Laura, studying Sport and Exercise Medical Sciences
“The course itself is unlike any in the country, and due to the added skill set from the programme combination, the range of graduate jobs/opportunities is far greater than that of just doing one of the courses.”
I chose Exeter initially due to the unique degree that it offered, which combined my main two academic interests; sport and medical sciences. Because of the blend of the two courses, you obtain a greater understanding of the human body, both from a performance element, and a more scientific approach. We also have the opportunity to do the professional training year (PTY) in industry like the pure Medical Sciences students, which is unlike other courses. We are very lucky at Exeter to have such a fantastic reputation for research, and as sciences students we are encouraged to get involved with PHD or Masters projects, as well as the PTY.
When I travelled down here to visit, I fell in love with the picturesque city and campuses; the other universities I had offers from were all exceptional, but it was the warmth and friendliness of Exeter which really struck me. St Luke’s is stunning, particularly in the sunshine. It’s nice to be slightly separate from the constant busy-ness of the Streatham Campus as it allows for a more collegiate feel.
Personally, I love small structured group learning approach, encouraging you to work independently to cement your knowledge. The support from the tutors and lecturers is exceptional.
I think aside from the course itself, I have most enjoyed the variety of opportunities there are for literally anything. I have always been someone who finds it difficult to say no to things, hence my extensive list of both extra and intra-curricular activities. For me, I would say the biggest highlight would be both the opportunities presented to you, and the support you receive from those around you whilst pursuing them.
Stanimir, studying Medical Sciences
“The exposure to world-class research at the Medical School, has motivated me to work hard and has assured me that if you put effort into achieving your dreams, you’ll eventually do it and you’ll be great!”
First and foremost, I chose Exeter because the Medical Sciences programme is not only one of the best in the country, but it’s also unique in terms of teaching, content and student support. I was surprised to find out that even though the University of Exeter Medical School is quite ‘young’, it is performing very well nationally. Other reasons include the research-led education offered here and the great location – beaches, moors, valleys and whatnot on your doorstep.
I have truly enjoyed being taught by the Medical School staff – they are all very enthusiastic, approachable and experts in their fields. I have also really enjoyed having session from the Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) Leaders – getting advice from older students can be very valuable and they have done a lot to help us with the course and university life in general.
Looking back on my first year of university, I can say that I have changed for the better and have developed skills that will aid me for the rest of my life. The one thing I really value about being at university is that you are surrounded by like-minded people, but more importantly, by people who are driven and strive for excellence and beyond each and every day. This has motivated me to work hard, to always do more than what’s expected of me, and to never give up on my dreams!
Natalie, studying Medical Imaging
I chose to study Medical Imaging at the University of Exeter because it allows students to pursue an interest in medical science, biology and physics, with the fundamental goal of helping others, in particular our patients. The extensive placement modules allow us as students to really integrate into the radiography team at each site, and adjust to working in hospitals within the first year of studying. As well as this, the variety of sites available allow us to gain experience in different radiology departments which could be future employment prospects. The university itself has a collection of fantastic lecturers (each with a variety of experience and expertise), a fully equipped x-ray training room and an excellent support network for students.
Magdalena, studying Medical Sciences
“I feel my placement has enhanced my employability because I learned lab techniques which I can now put on my CV. I attended an Alzheimer’s Society conference where I had the chance to present my data and speak to professionals in this field.”
I chose to do a summer placement and picked a lab-based placement in the RILD (Research Innovation Learning & Development) building of the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. I was happy because the research topic was neuroscience, specifically intracellular signalling in Alzheimer’s Disease and my favourite modules are foundations in neuroscience and immunopathology. Throughout the year my interest towards neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s spiked. I wanted to gain more lab-based experience and explore my interest in this area of neuroscience.
At first I was shadowing a PhD student who was teaching me techniques which I would use during my placement, but my biggest achievement was being able to work independently in the lab. My favourite thing about the job was the fact that no matter how long I worked on something, there was always more to investigate and find out. The research drew me in and finding links between all my results gave me a lot of satisfaction. Overall, the placement gave me a lot of new experience which I wouldn’t be able to gain otherwise. I met inspirational people and found new interests in neuroscience. This placement made me realise that I should consider research as a career.
Kayleigh, studying BMBS Medicine
“The highlight for me has been the fantastic placements which I have been able to experience from the first week at Exeter. It has allowed me to grow and develop into a future doctor, not just a medical student.”
There were several reasons I chose Exeter over other universities, these included the location, the small size of the city, the University’s reputation, transport links to London, and also the course structure. I loved the fact that I was able to gain clinical experience from day one and also experience a wide range of placements within the hospital environment, e.g. Neurology, ENT, Obstetrics and Oncology. The Problem-Based Learning (PBL) teaching style was another reason Exeter attracted me.
I have thoroughly enjoyed many aspects of the course, but my favourite has to be clinical skills. We are taught a large number of skills in the first two years and these really prepare you for starting on the wards. These range from history taking you all the way through to pregnant abdomen and venepuncture. The standard of teaching is amazing and it is brilliant that we can do and practice in our spare time. The teaching staff are inspirational and definitely play a part in making the sessions so exciting.
The highlight for me has been the fantastic placements which I have been able to experience from the first week of University. It has allowed me to grow and develop into a future doctor, not just a medical student. In particular, I loved my obstetrics placement which gave me the opportunity to witness several caesarean section births, including twins, as well as, a natural birth.
Oli, studied Medical Sciences
“The teaching here was inspirational. I’ve been overwhelmed by the passion and dedication of every single member of the teaching staff and I hope to be able to emulate their passion in my career as an academic. It would be a dream to return to the University to teach.”
For me, choosing Exeter was gut feeling. I can remember viewing a lot of other universities but when I got to Exeter, I felt comfortable – I felt like I could live here, with the gorgeous rolling hills, proximity to the beach and great campuses. I’m so glad I followed my gut because there is definitely more to university than studying, you’ve got to live there as well.
The University was great in preparing me to find a placement for my Professional Training Year (PTY). I set one up independently, but wouldn’t have felt confident enough to do so had the university not sat us all down and talked us through how the process works. Not only did I then understand the process, but was also inspired to follow my passion. I was put in touch with academics in the university who shared this passion, where I gained access to their extensive network of contacts.
I have genuinely loved every minute of my time at Exeter. It sounds cheesy, or like I’m getting paid to write this – but I’m really not! I love Exeter, it’s been some of the best years of my life so far, and has inspired to achieve things I never thought possible before. Exeter will always be home on some level!
Laura, studying Medical Sciences
I chose this degree because I really loved the idea of being able to learn about a wide variety of topics, whilst still being able to specialise in an area that really interested me at the end of the degree. So far I’ve enjoyed my small group sessions, in first year they were valuable in helping me get to know people on the course whilst also building on valuable team work and independent learning skills. This year I’ve been really excited by my immunopathology module, one which I was able to choose myself. Over the term we’ve had guest lecturers who are leading in their field and have also had the opportunity to conduct our very own experiments in the Medical Sciences lab.