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Helene Maher

Conservation of Fine Art

Where are you from?

Dublin, Ireland

Why did you choose Northumbria University, Newcastle?

The requirements needed to enter my chosen programme matched my qualifications, whereas other universities with the same course needed different requirements.

What do you think of Newcastle and our region and what are your favourite things to do?

Newcastle was a lovely city to study. A huge benefit was not needing to waste money on transport as everywhere within the city is of walking distance. Great night-life, and very cheap cost of living compared to Dublin. Also very safe and never had any trouble. My favourite things to do was to visit the huge varieties of restaurants, pubs and clubs which all have very competitive prices for students.

What has surprised you most about living in Newcastle and this region? What has impressed you most?

I was very surprised at how beautiful Newcastle was as I was previously under the assumption that it was quite a built up, industry led city. However there are beautiful Victorian buildings, architecture and parks. Quayside and the surrounding area is really scenic with all the bridges and modernisation.

What have you enjoyed most about coming to Northumbria University?

I really enjoyed living in student halls! The accommodation (Quaypoint) was lovely and met some friends for life there! I was unsure if student halls was the best option as I'm a bit older than undergrads and was doing an intense course but it worked out really well. It was a great experience.

Who has helped you most since you came to Northumbria?

Course wise, the staff at SASC and my dissertation supervisor have helped the most but I never really needed much help in anything.  I didn't find tutors from my course particularly approachable and found the answers to most questions on my own or with the help from students in my class.

Who has inspired you most at Northumbria University?

My dissertation supervisor as she really helped me develop and progress through my dissertation.

What is the best thing about your course?

The friends I made in class. The social life that comes with living in student halls. Also the placement we had to do as part of the course was great.

What are the most valuable lessons you have learnt to date?

Living away from home for the fist time, I learnt to be independent and self-sufficient.

What do you want to do in the future? What skills have you learned/improved that you think will be of most use in your future career?

I hope to have a career as a painting conservator. I learned skills in painting restoration, improved my writing skills and also learned how to research properly.

Have you worked on any projects with businesses or been on a placement? What were your most memorable experiences?

Yes I went on a three month placement in the Bowes Museum in Durham. It was a pleasure being able to work in such a beautiful place and to get an insight into what conservators do on a day to day basis.

Have you taken up any opportunities to travel with your current course/undertake field trips? If so, please tell us about them.

No, there were no opportunities for this in my course apart from a day trip to Edinburgh, which was very enjoyable.

How do you feel you have changed as a person since being at Northumbria University, Newcastle (e.g. confidence)?

I feel as if I have matured, became independent, self sufficient, and confident.

If you had 3 words to sum up your time with us what would they be?

Fun, friendly and exciting!

Would you recommend Northumbria University to a friend?



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