Paula Garcia Calavia - MChem Forensic and Investigative Chemistry Paula Garcia Calavia - MChem Forensic and Investigative Chemistry

Why did you pick UEA?

I chose to study at UEA because the course that I selected really attracted my attention since it was something different and it sounded very interesting to me.

What I enjoyed most about my course was work in the lab, especially the analytical chemistry experiments and my final year research project.

Did you find it easy to settle in?

Moving away from home and into university residences was exciting because it was something new. Even though it was a bit difficult at the beginning, it was easy to get used to university life and meeting new people.

Have you had the opportunity to study abroad since you've been here?

I spent the second semester of my third year at Florida International University (FIU) in Miami. It was a great experience to learn and see how the university system works in another country, but also to get involved in a different culture, travel and meet people from all over the world. It is an invaluable experience that I would recommend to everybody.

Did you live on campus in your first year? What was it like?

During my first year I lived in Constable Terrace, which is one of the en-suite residences on campus. The room was very spacious, with plenty of space for all my things. The bathroom was also very nice and it would get cleaned once a week.

The kitchens are usually shared between ten students and they get cleaned twice a week. They include a fridge, a freezer, a microwave, an oven and a hob. Other appliances such as kettles are not included but can be brought by the students. All pans, dishes and glasses need to be brought by the students as well. There is plenty of space in the kitchen for everyone to put their stuff and also each person sharing the kitchen gets a small locker that they can use to store food or kitchen utensils.

Each residence has a resident tutor assigned so if you find any problems, you can always talk to them so they can sort them out.

Did you enjoy living in rented accommodation off campus?

I found living in rented accommodation better than living in university residences. It makes you more independent and gives you the opportunity to share a house with friends that you met during your first year. Student houses are usually closer to the city and they are very well connected by buses to the university so they are in really convenient locations.

How easy was it to settle in, and what advice would you give to new students?

At first everything is new and it might be a little difficult to get around the campus, it is quite easy to get lost during the first week. However, you will soon meet people on your course in the same situation and that makes it much easier. Also, getting used to the campus becomes much easier after the first week, it is a small campus and easy to get around.

I would recommend talking to other students right at the beginning because having people to talk and relate to makes it much easier.

Do you participate in any extra-curricular activities or societies?

I have tried different UEA societies, there are so many that it is difficult to decide.

What I used to do during my free time was go to the swimming pool in the Sportspark, either on my own or with friends, and attending Zumba lessons off campus.

What are your plans for the future?

My plan is to pursue further study, a PhD program. I have attended the careers service several times to get advice on how to write a CV and I found it very useful. The person I talked to was very nice and she gave me really good ideas on how to improve my CV.

Do you like living in Norwich?

Norwich is a very nice and quiet city but at the same time it has plenty of things to do. There are many parks to visit, which are very nice to go to when the weather is good. There are also two main shopping centres, cinemas and a theatre. I like it because it is easy to get to places and it has a good public transportation system.