Studying for a mechanical and electrical engineering degree at the University of Bath
Hi Orvanda. What course are you studying here?
I’m doing mechanical and electrical engineering, which is a degree that spans two departments. It’s a joint honours degree.
Rather than being limited by mechanical core products you can combine them to make something better. It’s quite a new degree – there’s only 50 of on the course, compared to 400 on the mechanical engineering course!
Did you already know about this course, or was it only when you started doing your research that you found it?
I already knew that I wanted to do mechatronics – I’m a sponsored student so my company assigns me a specific course. There were only around 20 universities in the UK that offered this course, and Bath was one of them. Leeds was my second choice and then I think it was De Montfort in Leicester, Liverpool and Lancaster.
Are you happy here?
Yes, definitely. I think the main difference between Bath and Leeds was the campus and the city — Bath, and the campus, are quite calm places and I’m a calm person – I don’t want to go out every weekend, but it’s easy to get into the town to meet up with my friends if I want to.
The train links from Bath are good too so it’s easy for me to visit my friends in other places.
How long were you in London before Bath, and how was your time at Kings?
I did an English course for a year then I went to Kings London to do my foundation, which was really good. The good thing I would say about Kings is that it’s still in London, but not as busy as central London and you get good transport links from Beckenham.
The small class sizes were really helpful too – there were only about 8-10 of us in each class, which means you have a lot of contact time with your teacher and you can ask a lot of questions. It’s quite intimate so you can interact with your friends and classmates really easily.
What modules did you study?
I did Chemistry, Maths and Physics as well as Data and CSS.
Have you found the skills you learnt in CSS and Data useful?
Yes, definitely. As international students it’s always useful to get extra help with English, like in CSS, but we also had to do research assignments and learnt how to reference, those kinds of things were really helpful. As for Data, the Excel stuff really helped because I’m using it a lot here.
Was there one module in particular that you enjoyed?
Physics! Although I had studied it in Angola it’s always better to see it from a different perspective and it was good to get used to the English system and the English terms for things. They gave us all the basics in Physics – it was helpful as when you go to university they expect you to know this.
When you applied to university did you have much help from Kings?
Yes, a lot of help. We were each assigned a tutor to help us with our choices and advise on universities’ reputation, and our chances of getting in.
Did you do many enrichment activities?
Yes, I joined Textiles Club and also had a go at Music Club. I was able to mention Textiles Club in my application, which I think was good.
Are you living in a residence here?
Yes, I’m in student accommodation – we are a mix of British and international students.
Did you stay with a host family at Kings?
Yes, they were really friendly and supported me in my studies. When I got sick they helped me too. I am still in touch with them.
If you were talking to someone who was considering going to do the foundation at Kings, what advice would you give them?
Just enjoy it! It’s really small, you get lots of help as everyone knows everyone so they know when you’re struggling and you’ll always get the support you need.
I would also tell them that Kings provides more like a general type of Foundation which allows for flexibility in switching between course choices if one doesn't succeed and/or doesn't like a particular module.
Is it a very specific job you want to do when you finish your degree?
Yeah, I’ll go back home and work for the oil company, but to me I would like to work with implants as I have some experience of this in my family. I’m also quite interested in aerospace – there’s a lot to explore with my degree and I still have lots of time to decide!