Throughout my academic years, I had always managed to avoid leaving my home city of Birmingham to study or to work – until my placement year! I had my heart set on doing a placement in political affairs, policy or something similar, and so I had accepted that the likelihood of gaining a placement in this job area in the West Midlands was unlikely, and I’d probably have to move to the Capital. However, I managed to gain myself a placement with the aerospace pioneer Airbus working in their Public Affairs department based in… North Wales!
Earning a salary whilst on placement meant that I could afford to rent my own one-bedroom flat in the centre of Chester – a short drive from Airbus’ site in Broughton, North Wales. This allowed me to live in and explore a new city (for the first time!) and also live close to other interns who were on placement at Airbus from a variety of different universities. One thing I particularly loved about Chester was the fact that it was much less of a ‘student city’ compared to Birmingham, yet it was only a short, cheap train journey from Liverpool!
Having said this, leaving Birmingham for placement year was quite daunting at first as I didn’t know anyone – all my friends and family live in and around the West Midlands, approximately a 2 hour drive away! However, in hindsight, it definitely wasn’t a bad thing. I loved the independence and enjoyed my own company and routine every day. Having never lived on my own before, I appreciated my own space and enjoyed learning new skills such as cooking and budgeting (which, admittedly, I should have already known!). Having now moved back home to Birmingham for final year, Chester will always have a special place in my heart!
Leaving a city you’re familiar with for placement year can be nerve-wrecking but, in my opinion, I couldn’t recommend it more! Not only does it bring about the benefits I have mentioned already, but it also opens up a whole new pool of placement opportunities outside of Birmingham!
Best of luck with your placement searches!
Written by Rachael Woodroffe