Imram Elahi, City Year Birmingham, 2013-14

I joined City Year UK as part of my placement year at university, where I was studying Biology and Psychology at Aston University. I felt it was the perfect opportunity to spend my university placement year giving back to education, enabling me to help and mentor students whilst also gaining some experience and developing myself as a person. It was the perfect combination.
The best thing about the experience was being able to see the difference I was making to the children I supported. One of the children I supported all year due to his behaviour issues really improved as a result of my efforts with him and that is something I am really proud of. It was so nice to go into school and see how happy the children are to see us every day. This made all the hard work so worthwhile,  definitely the most rewarding experience ever!

The people in my team were amazing, we got on so well. This made the year even more enjoyable, we had some great times together.

The school staff were all lovely; their support and praise, from the headteacher also, made it such a pleasant experience. I made some great friends!

It developed my confidence and independence and I have learnt that so much can be achieved in life with hard work and dedication. It helped me believe in myself more and made me realise I am stronger than I give myself credit for.

The experience allowed me to gain some valuable schools experience which will help with my teaching application once I finish university. I have continued to volunteer in some capacity and  am currently mid-through a schools based volunteer programme with the University’s Student Volunteer Outreach team. I am also working as a student tutor in a secondary school, one afternoon a week.