FBMH Stories: Sabrina Tan Sue Yi

Sabrina is a third year Psychology student from Malaysia. She spoke to us about her experiences of Manchester, work experience and the psychology of positive thinking…



Did you come to university straight from Malaysia?

I did my A-levels in Norwich, and then I decided to come to Manchester and continue to study in the UK. Initially there was a bit of culture shock – I think my advice would be to stay open and continue to meet new people. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity being here, studying here, getting into the culture. So be open!

Now you’re in Year 3, what are you enjoying the most?

I really like the seminars. There are only about 10-20 people in a classroom, and you get that 1-to-1 interaction with the lecturers so you can ask questions and go deeper into the course. The good thing about this course is that in first year you get to study different modules, and this gives you a little taster of what you’re interested in. Then in second year you start getting more flexibility in what areas of Psychology you want to focus on.

I think something really unique about the Psychology course here in Manchester is that it really focuses on your employability – there are courses specifically focused on how to enhance your CV or how to increase your skills. We also have a work placement module – you get to work in an organisation for 30 hours so that’s really good experience, and counts towards your course credits.

Have you done the placement option? How was it?

Yes I have! It was really good, I found my work placement through a friend – I spoke to someone and they referred me to an organisation called Just Psychology. I emailed them and then worked with them for 30 hours and it was just so good! The University was supporting me throughout, making sure everything was going as I expected it to.

Because I did that work placement it gave me the experience to go on to apply for other things, like a Student Experience Internship here at the University. I was here for the summer and I worked as a project support intern in the Christie building – that was amazing!

What’s your third year research project on?

I am doing my third year project on positive rumination and psychological resilience. There’s rumination – what people usually know as negative thinking – but there’s also another side to it that is still quite new, called positive rumination.

It’s like if you hold on to your positive thoughts – if something good happens you hold on to that, instead of thinking “this good feeling will be ending soon”. So I’m looking at how that combined with psychological resilience (the way you cope with different things) can influence how you cope with depression and anxiety.

So, what kind of thing are you hoping to do after you graduate?

That is the million dollar question! I haven’t decided yet but right now I’m looking to do a master’s at The University of Manchester. There’s an MSc in Clinical and Health Psychology, so I’ll be applying to that.

Good luck – I hope you get it! What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to go café hopping! The Northern Quarter in Manchester is amazing! There are so many good cafés, like Home Sweet Home. They do really amazing milkshakes, and have a variety of food – it borders a bit on Mexican food but there’s also brunch food and English breakfasts, so it suits everyone.

I like the mixture of the city. It’s not so big that it’s really busy and people are constantly shoving past you, but it’s not so small as to not have anything to do each weekend.

Stained glass of Richard Copley Christie with his books, outside the old Christie library and Christie's Bistro
Stained glass of Richard Copley Christie with his books, outside the old Christie library and Christie’s Bistro

What’s your favourite place on campus?

My favourite place on campus is the Christie building – I guess I’m biased because I worked there for summer, but that building is just gorgeous! There’s so much history behind it, the stained glass is so beautiful, and there’s a café that serves really good food…it seems like I really like food!

Have you joined any student societies?

I’m Malaysian, so I joined the Malaysian Students Society of Manchester, which was useful in the first year. I also joined the Psychology society and that’s fun. You’ll definitely make friends here! Mostly I made friends with people in my halls of residence because they were constantly around me, and I still keep in touch with them. I was in Opal Gardens halls – it’s really pretty!

The student life here is amazing, the Students Union is bustling with activity. There’s a great social life, loads of places to eat out, and loads to do on a night out if you want to. It’s a great combination of work and study, and I think Manchester is a great place to be.

Hear more from Sabrina in this video on our Facebook page, where she shares her Christmas traditions!

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