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Visiting Student
About the placement/internship

Why did you decide to do a placement/internship?

After a very busy time of teaching work, delivering seminars, two lectures and data analysis, I had the pleasure of visiting and spending time in the School of Geography and Planning at Cardiff University as a visiting student for this summer. My host there was Dr Patricia Aelbrecht whom I have had the pleasure of knowing for a number of years.

How did you find your placement/internship?

Career Connect

Main responsibilities

I went to Cardiff for two reasons, both of which I regard as equally important. Firstly, I find Cardiff to be a city with rich and ancient culture along with stunning landscapes and amazing sea fronts. In particular, the Welsh people were very kind and hospitable. Secondly, it was a great opportunity to meet new people and to develop professional networking within the School of Geography and Planning at Cardiff University. Furthermore, the diversity of academic staff and their research projects provided me a chance to build useful collaborations and networks for use in my future work in academia.

Typical day

As my starting point, I was really curious to see the pretty town of Penarth which had become a suburb of Cardiff with well-mixed land uses and public beaches and transportation. This helped me to understand the similarities and differences between peoples activities on the waterfront in Anzali Waterfront. Around 15 minutes walk up the hill and I reached the main beachfront and the famous old pier. There are two lessons to be learned there. I stayed on the beachfront to observe peoples activities in the public beach. Based on my observations, people often chose places that are not purposefully designed, demonstrating to me how human comfort is an important factor for the designers. Users select and use the place according to their desired level of involvement on the beach. Furthermore, the edge of the beachfront is a popular place. It gives people the opportunity for time for standing, walking, meeting and sitting by themselves during their work or leisure times, or to watch the sea whilst talking to one another. With this in mind, the beach becomes an important meeting place with mixing lots of users and different genders. It is clear to me that, we as social researchers (architects, urban designers, landscape architects, planners and geographers), need to understand more about our subjects, discussing the quality of public spaces and active public life, which are important matters these days, in terms of publicness, access and free movement.

What did I enjoy about my placement/internship?

Since I started my PhD research, I have always felt huge passion, enthusiasm and curiosity to know that where and how people use and perceive their everyday life in public spaces on Anzali Waterfront, a city on the Caspian coast in Iran. Talking about everyday life means that you explore strangers use of public spaces which is planned and unplanned and observe expected and unexpected peoples behaviours in public. I am looking forward to direct some of this energy, effort and enthusiasm to make a set of recommendations for re-conceptualising, well-accepted design and social theories for researching and designing contemporary public space within the Iranian context, which has never been done before.

Challenging aspects

The challenges were in relation to find an affordable accommodation for myself for a short period (one month) in Cardiff. Furthermore, the change of environment and altitude affected the state of my health. My allergy started with shortness of breath in the last couple of days of my visit.

Has your time on placement influenced your future career choice?

To sum up, my host, Dr. Patricia Aelbrecht and I will deliver a joint seminar about my research findings in the context of the global south and we will share the experience and knowledge with the diverse academic staff in School of Geography and Planning at Cardiff University soon!

Advice to students

Other comments

I would like to thank the Career Services at Sheffield University for funding and granting me with this valuable opportunity to visit Cardiff University.

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Form completed: 19 Nov 2018

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