August 12, 2019

Besma George at graduation in her cap and gown

Coming to Cardiff Metropolitan University was one of the best decisions I have made so far. Whilst studying for my Software Engineering degree, I had the chance to get work experience at British Telecom (BT) and visit the Netherlands and Malaysia on a field trip exploring the usage of robotics in different sectors. These experiences were invaluable, but were surpassed by my year-long placement as a civil servant at the Home Office and the Ministry of Defence. This placement has been transformational for me, both professionally and personally.

Finding the right placement was a challenge. I applied to different IT firms nationally and internationally. The process was long, but it was worth spending time in my first year applying to these organisations. Completing applications taught me how to tailor my skills and experiences to each company’s requirements, and how to face interviews with confidence.

Besma at the Home Office stand with a superior and a woman wearing a VR headset
Presenting new VR content at one of the events I attended as part of my placement

The placement helped me personally to come out of my comfort zone and take on the opportunities that were coming my way. I was mainly working within the Virtual Reality department, and in addition, I was given my own projects to carry out. Within the first few weeks, I was already involved in presentations and team meetings and I was able to improve these skills. There were exciting moments such as flying a drone and moving a robot using just one’s thoughts, or witnessing the training provided to trainee police officers. I was also given the opportunity to go to events featuring current technology experts and their inventions. Thanks to this, I was able to educate myself about new technologies, and I had the chance to meet officials within the Ministry of Defence. This led me to the fantastic opportunity of carrying out a summer placement in central London for another department within the Ministry.

Besma with other four students standing next to two NAO robots
Studying at Cardiff Met also gave me the opportunity to undertake field trips abroad

My placement definitely helped me acquire more confidence, which I lacked. One of the special moments of my time at the Home Office and the Ministry of Defence was being mentioned for my work in a MoD-circulated magazine. It was a huge encouragement and reinforcement for me to pursue a career in Software Engineering.

Screenshot of a magazine article where Besma has been featured
One the key moments of my internship was being mentioned for my work in a magazine

It was not everything about work, either. I also learnt how to balance work and life. I had the chance to be involved in social activities, and was fortunate enough to meet new people and make friends for a lifetime. Thanks to this, I expanded my interpersonal skills and became more involved with different clubs during my last year at university.

If you are in your first year, thinking of doing a placement or if you’re confused if you want to study a degree, I shall say, go for it. I have been through the same phase and I can confidently say that studying at Cardiff Met has equipped me very well to face the future. I had exceptional support from the University to achieve my best during my four years. My university experience has not just been getting that degree, but it has been a journey for me to explore my strengths and weaknesses. It has also taught me to dream big, and I feel so proud to say that I am an alumnus of Cardiff Metropolitan University. I am even looking to collaborate with Cardiff Met as I am stepping onto my graduate job.