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My Journey Through ARU and ARU College

Coming to ARU and ARU College

ARU was my first choice university from the day I chose my IGCSEs, but when my A Levels didn’t go according to plan my dream of  a BSc in Psychology and Criminology seemed far out of my reach. Then ARU College reached out with the opportunity of a foundation semester over the summer. Suddenly everything seemed possible again. After accepting my exciting offer I jumped on a plane from Zimbabwe all the way to Cambridge.

Coming in as an international student was as nerve-racking as anyone would expect, but I quickly settled in with the help of the warm and welcoming ARU College team who were always there to help! I was very new to the world of academic writing and definitely felt when entering my first year the lessons I learnt in my foundation semester gave me a step up.

Opportunities at ARU and ARU College

Not only did ARU College give me the academic benefits but I was also given the opportunity to be a student ambassador during registration week, which was definitely a highlight of my ARU College experience. This gave me the opportunity to make new friends, gain work experience and connect with the ARU College Team. All of these benefits gave me an advantage in my next two years of university, especially when it came to being a Welcome Buddy for ARU in my third year. Overall ARU College gave me a sense of community and support throughout my foundation semester and into my degree. I would recommend it to anyone feeling behind on what you’re expected of when starting university.

As with many other people, my university degree experience had its ups and downs. I made some friends for life whilst also having moments of doubt. By far my toughest struggle was my final year. Trying to study and write a dissertation during a pandemic was a new level of life and stress I never expected to encounter. The loneliness of isolation and decreasing motivation made the year a lot tougher than I was prepared for. I definitely would not have made it through it without the support of my friends, family, and my lecturers and dissertation supervisor.

Next Steps

With life returning to normal, my next steps are to take my passion for human rights and international criminology I have found in my degree to the next level. Over the next few months, I plan to do some internships for humanitarian work in Cambodia and Ghana, then hopefully moving onto a masters in global justice and human rights in September 2022. My experiences from ARU College and ARU will remain close to my heart through everything I do from now on.

Advice to new students

To new students in the September intake: advice I can give to you is to come into ARU with no expectations and an open mind. Especially considering you will be learning in a post-pandemic world where we should be grateful for face-to-face teaching and physical university experiences more than ever. Something I kept reminding myself was that I had to pick myself up after every bump in the road. Remind yourself that every mountain has another side to it, when the work just seems a constant uphill battle remember there will be a break after you reach the top so just keep pushing through! Also, when people say “the 3 years will fly by” – that is no joke, they really will! I hope your experience with ARU College and ARU is as positive as mine was!

Danielle Wood
Zimbabwe
BSc (Hons) Psychology and Criminology with Foundation Year

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