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A student's experience of studying Criminology and Criminal Justice

 Marta Paiva-Migueis-Da-Costa-Santos - Criminology and Criminal Justice, BA (Hons), 2nd year International student

To start university is always an overwhelming experience for everyone. For me, to start university meant moving to a new country, learning a new language and adapting to a new culture. Although leaving everything behind was not easy, it was, so far, the most rewarding experience of my life. I couldn’t be more proud of what I’ve achieved, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision to move to England and to study Criminology and Criminal Justice at UCLan.

 Marta Paiva-Migueis-Da-Costa-Santos is studying Criminology and Criminal Justice, BA (Hons).
Marta Paiva-Migueis-Da-Costa-Santos is studying Criminology and Criminal Justice, BA (Hons).

The 'degree goes beyond the superficial conceptualisations of crime'

Understanding why people commit crimes, in what circumstances and the reasons behind their actions, as well as the ways in which offenders and victims are treated in the Criminal Justice System, has always been of great interest to me. Undoubtedly, choosing the Criminology and Criminal Justice degree at UCLan was not difficult because I knew it would offer me an opportunity to develop my knowledge and understanding of the subject.

What I didn’t know, however, was that this degree goes beyond the superficial conceptualisations of crime, offering a challenging critical analysis of the ways in which crime has been perceived, defined and managed throughout history, culminating in the study of contemporary society.

Lecturers, tutors and belief in 'my academic potential'

I started my degree by doing the foundation year and I am glad I did so. As an international student, it was extremely important to me to have one year to settle in my new life and to improve at a personal and academic level. Thus, the foundation year allowed me to become a first-class student since I was able to improve, amongst other things, my writing skills.

Moreover, the progression for the first year was easier for me since I was already familiarised with the university, the campus, and with some of my class mates and tutors. I don’t think any of this would have been possible without my lecturers and tutors, in particular my academic advisor. They always support and help me in any circumstance and, importantly, they believe in my academic potential, even when I don’t.

An 'amazing adventure of self-development and improvement'

I am currently a second-year student and I was given the opportunity to be a Pass Leader. Pass (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) so as to increase first-year students’ academic performance, providing them with learning strategies and practical approaches to study and assisting them in their socialisation and adaptation to the academic life.

As a Pass Leader, I help students find the solution to their problems themselves, through facilitated discussions and guided questioning, in an informal, friendly and fun environment. These sessions are not meant to replace the interaction between staff and students, but to provide another opportunity for them to discuss any aspect of their academic and social life. For me, being a Pass Leader has been an amazing experience that allows me to help other students, improve my communication and time management skills, revise the academic material from previous years, and to enhance my CV.

I would recommend UCLan to anyone who is looking for an amazing adventure of self-development and improvement. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it!