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Portuguese student Clarilis shares her experience at UCLan

Portuguese student Clarilis Graciela Colsoul De Almeida discovered that her true passion lies in Forensic Science and Criminal Investigation and after completing a foundation year at Burnley campus, she is now settled into life at Preston campus.

For Clarilis, the most enjoyable part of the Forensic Science and Criminal Investigation (FSCI) course is learning what goes on behind the ‘DO NOT CROSS’ police cordon. “With the whole CSI effect phenomenon, it is interesting and exciting to break down those walls of unrealistic expectations and learn just how meticulous the work of a crime scene investigator is.

“UCLan’s FSCI course does an excellent job at teaching us about the core skills necessary for the role from learning how to photograph a crime scene, how to analyse it, to recovering the evidence and documenting everything correctly. We had a couple of lectures with a really well-known investigator that walked through a double stranger rape case with us, explaining all the steps taken to solved it. That was pretty interesting.”

She has been blown away with the support given by the tutors and professors on the course: “Not only are they open to helping you in any way they can, the they also captivate you in class with the amazing stories they tell about their past experiences as a CSI. Also, because they have such a huge background of expertise in their area, their advice really resonates with you as a student. “I feel the British education focuses more on your overall development as a student and future employee. There’s definitely more emphasis on written assignments rather than exams in order to prepare you for your future dissertation. This also helped me improve my English drastically.

“The first thing that caught my eye about UCLan was the location – it’s situated at the heart of Preston, which is amazing because you’re always close to everything you need as a student: supermarkets, library, gyms, clubs and bars, malls and so many restaurants and takeaways. The second thing that I really loved about UCLan was how open and welcoming they were with international students. It is definitely easy to make friends here because the University is all over the city, it’s so easy to find young people and connect with them. The University has a vast multi-cultural community which not only makes you feel less out of place, but also makes you feel like this place could become your home. Another thing that really impressed me was the facilities here: they truly are top-class.”

Clarilis Graciela Colsoul De Almeida, BSc Forensic Science and Criminal Invesigation student
Clarilis Graciela Colsoul De Almeida, BSc Forensic Science and Criminal Invesigation student

"UCLan’s FSCI course does an excellent job at teaching us about the core skills necessary for the role"

Clarilis Graciela Colsoul De Almeida, BSc Forensic Science and Criminal Invesigation student

One of Clarilis’ favourite study facilities is the library. “I often visit the library – it’s huge and so well equipped with amazing staff that are always there to help you. It is suitable for every kind of student and it is open 24/7. There are silent floors with computer rooms if you enjoy studying in a quiet environment; there are floors where you can work freely with your peers.

I have also benefitted greatly from the WISER services where you can send your written assignments and receive exceptional feedback that helps you adapt your assignment before sending it to your tutors and reach for those extra marks. I have also started taking Spanish classes through Worldwise services. It is such an amazing experience that helps you boost your CV and personal growth.

And last but not least, PASS sessions are another benefit given to UCLan students where you can connect with senior students from your course and get advice from people that have gone through what you are going through at the moment. “I find Preston is a really calm and sociable city. It doesn’t have that crazy, hectic vibe that we can find in the main capitals of England. I noticed that the University campus is scattered all over the city which made it all feel exciting and real. However, I will say that the night life at Preston is lively and electrifying. I love to go out to open mics and karaoke nights! 

I enjoy walking around town, visiting new restaurants with my friends, playing pool (even though I may not be very good at it) and watching movies at the cinema. I love writing on my Portuguese blog where I often talk about my experience as an international student (it helps me stay in contact with my mother language) and I do some other freelancing jobs such as ghostwriting on other blogs as a side job. I tutor a few students online and work as a part-time waitress in town. There are so many places such as bars and clubs with hosted open mic or karaoke nights, pool tables and bowling alleys that you can go to let your hair down and simply have fun.

“As a student, Preston is a very convenient place to live. Everything around is so accessible by foot, you can easily walk to the nearest supermarket, the mall, restaurants and parks. Both the rail station and bus station are close to campus which can help you explore other cities or travel to the nearest Vue cinema. Up to now, I have visited Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, London and Blackpool and Burnley.

Her advice for anyone thinking about studying at UCLan is to not limit yourself to your course. “Get involved in other things and break down those walls. Go to that society meeting. Run for that Course Rep spot, discover new hobbies, take that elective class, learn a new language, get that part-time job. Reach for every opportunity make the effort and grow those transferable skills that no one at university can teach you. Work hard, play hard!