APPLIED WORK: Where, what, why and how?

Hi guys!

Before I go into this next blog, I just want to say that life has been totally crazy, as will be explained in the next upcoming blogs, and that I sincerely apologise for not posting sooner. I know that these blog posts aren’t anyone’s number one priority, like new episodes of Game of Thrones (!!!), but still I feel the need to apologise. So, sorry.

Right! Lets move on swiftly, and like was promised a long time ago, I shall explain Applied Work.

WHERE? Applied Work can be taken in Lund University (the place I went to for a year). I’m not certain about where else you can take it, but it’s possible that many universities have a similar concept but under different names and that possibly have different requirements.

WHAT? The concept is relatively easy to understand. Instead of taking a 15 credit course with classes and exams, you can find a laboratory or research group that needs some undergraduate students to help and you work there for an agreed amount of time. All whilst still getting 15 credits! So for example, I had already fulfilled all my course requirements for third year at Glasgow University, so I contacted a professor and worked for his PhD students and with two other undergraduate students for two and a half months. It’s up to you to find the work, and contact the people you’re interested to work with.

WHY? Because it’s awesome and you can’t do it this easily (or possibly at all) with Glasgow University. One of the main reasons of doing study abroad is taking courses and having experiences that would otherwise not have been available to you. So why not do it if you have the opportunity? I experienced what it was like to work in a lab and gained valuable insight into the world of a PhD student. If you are seriously considering doing a Masters, PhD, or possibly a career in scientific research, then this is the perfect starting point.

Not only did I have this experience, but I got credit for it! I also got to do some extensive networking and landed myself a 2 month internship as a field technician in Ohio (which is where I am right now!). Not only is it a wonderful way of gaining some valuable contacts, but it’s a crucial step towards answering the question that will be on the minds of many undergraduates: do I want to go further with my studies? What do I want to study? Where do I want to study?

HOW? I contacted my study advisor in Lund and she helped me out with the application, and also got me in contact with some professors that might be willing to take on some undergraduates. The best way to go about it would definitely be through your study advisor. Look at the different research groups and reach out to any that you are interested in. Don’t be shy when asking, because that’s the only way you’ll get a spot!

IMPORTANT: I forgot to mention this in the text previously, so here it is: To get the credits after your time of Applied Work, you must write a 2-3 page account of your time there, what you did, what you learnt, how you feel about it, and so on. I found it really helpful to keep a diary of the different things that I did throughout the 2 and a half months, it made writing a lot easier.

Here is the link to the page about applied work, although it doesn’t have much information. The best thing to do is wait until you’re on your year abroad to ask about it (if it’s possible!). 

If you have any more questions about applied work that weren’t answered here, don’t hesitate to contact me at, or send me a message on Facebook (my name is Isabel Fisk-Baruque)

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