Emilio Aldorino

Biology with a Year Abroad

I’d love to be able to do a PhD at some point, I know I’ve still got a long way to go but my studies at Kent have given me a great start.

What attracted you to studying at Kent?

I came to an open day with my dad and really liked the green campus and the friendly atmosphere. We learned about the lecturers and their on-going research – I found that encouraging. The year abroad option was attractive and the laboratory facilities seemed really good.

How is your course going?

I’ve enjoyed all of it. There’s a big jump from A levels to university education for everyone, but it was a particularly big step for me because I hadn’t studied much science before. I’d done biology at A level, but my other subjects had been English and geography.

My degree programme includes chemistry, and as I hadn’t studied that before I needed all the help I could get. However the School ran workshops, and provided plenty of help so I passed the chemistry modules fine.

Do your lecturers support you well?

Our lecturers are friendly and approachable, and happy to chat at the end of classes. One of my lecturers does Facebook Live videos for us to watch, talking through equations. I also have a personal tutor and she’s been helping me to apply for jobs.

Which modules have you enjoyed the most?

I really enjoyed the Genetics and Evolution and the Biodiversity module in Stage 1. This year I’ve really enjoyed Cell Signalling and I’ve been on a field project for my dissertation. I spent three days a week over two months working at a pathology company in Kent. It’s been great to realise that I can actually do what I’ve been training to do..

Where did you go for your year abroad?

I went to Canada for a year between my second and third years - to Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario. Like Kent, it is a campus University. It was really good fun and I had a lot of flexibility in terms of the modules I could choose. I took a class in developmental biology and one in astrobiology. There were six other Kent students there and we got to know each other well. It was a nice change of pace from Kent life, but I’ve enjoyed coming back to the UK.

What do you think of the facilities on the Canterbury campus – and the social life?

The societies have been excellent. I joined Jitsu in my first year, and became the social secretary in my second year, organising events and competitions. This year I joined the swimming and trekking societies, which are lots of fun. There are loads of bars on the campus and always quirky events, like roller discos, you can go along to.

What has the accommodation been like?

I lived in Darwin in my first year and loved it. Everyone’s together, so it's easy to make friends. In the second year, I lived with friends in a shared house in Canterbury. While campus life is good, it was nice to move off campus and feel more integrated into the city. I live on the other side of town now, but it’s easy to get to the campus by bike.

What kind of career do you want to follow when you leave?

I’d love to be able to do a PhD at some point, I know I’ve still got a long way to go but my studies at Kent have given me a great start. I’ve applied for some Master’s degree programmes and for some jobs, but for now I’m just waiting for my results.

What advice would you give to a prospective student?

Be as friendly as you can. You’ll meet like-minded people in classes and societies. The first year doesn’t count towards your degree, so you can focus on joining things and setting yourself up. For many people, it’s your first time away from home so just enjoy yourself. But do your work when it comes up - don’t leave it until the last minute. And maintain a good grade average so you can go on a year abroad.! Make yourself aware of the University’s support mechanisms so you can use them if you need to.