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My year as a Sport Science Practitioner and Research Assistant

Caitlin Gallagher talks about finding a placement in Sweden and the skills and experience she has gained from her year abroad.

Caitlin is a student on the BSc (hons) Sport and Exercise Science course at Bath.

Studying at Bath

Caitlin in Bath
'I feel like I am so much more employable than I was before.'

Studying at Bath is a nice blend of theory and practical from world-leading researchers who are extremely passionate and knowledgeable in their fields.

The PhD students in the labs are really helpful because, as well as assisting with the practical side, they're also more than happy to engage in conversation about the theory you learnt in a lecture and will clarify things and explain them in different ways to really try and help you to understand.

My placement

I took a placement as a Sport Science Practitioner and Research Assistant at the Swedish Winter Sports Research Centre.

I always liked the idea of doing my placement year abroad and this placement also encompassed two potential career paths; it combines research and high-performance testing.

The application process

The University has so many amazing contacts and relationships and advertises all of the placement opportunities that these bring. A lot of these opportunities are only available for students at Bath.

There’s also a placement officer for each department who is in charge of the whole experience. They do a series of lectures the year before on a myriad of things from how to interview well to where to look if you want to source your own placement. The placement officer for my department is the most helpful person you could imagine. I could tell he genuinely cared about how I felt and really wanted to help me find the best placement for me, help me smash the application, and make sure I enjoyed it.

Stepping up to the challenge

The biggest challenged I faced was arriving at the placement and it not being as I had imagined. This was a challenge because I was worried that I might not be getting experience in the specific areas I wanted. I learned that the only way to make sure that you learn and get all you can out of a placement is to ask and to not be afraid to set out your expectations to your placement provider.

Looking to the future

Now, I feel like I am so much more employable than I was before! Not only does it look impressive to have worked where I have for a year but the skills I learned and the experience it gave me are not things I could have learned in a lecture hall. I thoroughly recommend doing a placement year to everyone and if you want to do a placement year somewhere where it is the norm, Bath is one of only a handful of universities where this is the case.