How an International Exchange with #DMUglobal gave us the best year of our life

Three students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) have urged others to sign up for a year’s trip overseas after returning from an incredible experience in the USA.

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Saminee, Lauren and Oliver back at DMU after a year's study in the US

Oliver Luscombe and Lauren Mansey, who are final year Politics and International Relations students, and Saminee Foster, who is in her final year studying Business Management, travelled to America thanks to the #DMUglobal International Exchange programme.

The programme offers DMU students the opportunity to study overseas at partner universities outside of Europe, for an academic year. The overseas studies are a sandwich year. This means students have the freedom to go off-piste and explore alternative subjects for 12 months, before returning to complete their DMU studies.

Applications for next year opened today and Oliver, Laura and Saminee say students should grab the opportunity with both hands.

Oliver, who spent a year at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, not too far from the metropolis of Atlanta, explained: “The thing that I enjoyed most was choosing what to study and mould together my own learning experience for a year. It meant I was studying alternative subjects that I would not get to cover during my degree at DMU. So I was getting the basics in marketing, I was learning about economics and studying business management as well as obviously studying politics.

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“Essentially it was an incredible experience that I feel has increased my employability. I thrust myself into a different country and culture for a year and now I feel like I can take on anything.

“I was able to see American politics from an American’s point of view and also understand how they see UK politics. I now see my studies in a different light. And I have made friends from all over the world who were on similar exchange programmes. I would recommend it 100 per cent.”

Lauren studied for a year at Francis Marion University in Florence, South Carolina, thanks to a friendship she formed with an American studying at DMU.

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Lauren, second right, with fellow students and teacher Dr Will Daniel at a US conference

She said: “I met Kylie Cracknell when she was a Fresher at DMU and we were in a lot of modules together in the second year. So when she returned to Francis Marion I went over and studied with her there. We were roommates and I have made a friend for life. In fact she is back at DMU studying a Master’s!

“I always knew I wanted to study abroad but what this year has done is give me a massive boost in my confidence. It was such a fantastic experience.”

Lauren joined the South Carolina Student Legislature which involves students from across the state coming together and debating Bills which are going before the US Government. Each person has to stand for one piece of legislature and be prepared to defend their stance.

Lauren said: “You really have to have done your homework and know your stuff because the other students pick your arguments apart. It was terrifying at times. If you can do that you can do anything.

“Your work is actually sent to the State House for consideration. My Bill was for the introduction of vehicle safety inspections as there are no MOT rules in the state. So if you see that become law in the next couple of years you’ll know where it came from!”

Lauren also attended the Midwest Political Science Association conference in April and presented a paper on the EU referendum, which has now become the basis for her dissertation.

Saminee studied for a year at East Carolina University in Greenville, which is, somewhat confusingly for non-locals, in North Carolina.

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Saminee gets her kicks on Route 66 as part of an excursion with pals 

She said: “I studied a bit of everything. I had to choose three subjects related to business then anything else I wanted. So I did Management, Anthropology and even Alien Studies, which looks at claims of extra-terrestrial activity and studies the evidence to prove it is a hoax.

“I learned so much being out there and feel like I have come back a new person. The friendships you form are fantastic and I was also working with the LGBT Resource Office.  So you are not just studying but working with the community. I would say to anyone considering an International Exchange, they have to do it. When you graduate you can be so busy with new jobs you may not get the chance to do something similar again.”

For more details on the opportunities available through the #DMUglobal Exchange Programme, which offers opportunities in the USA, Canada and South Korea, follow this link.

Posted on Monday 29th October 2018

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