Me & my journey to Surrey

Salut! – this is how we say hello in Romania, where I come from! My name is Ana-Maria, but everyone knows me as Ami and I’m currently in my 4th year at Surrey, on placement as part of my MEng Biomedical Engineering degree!

This is my first blog post and it’s also my first year being a Student Ambassador, alongside many other roles I hold that I can’t wait to tell you more about and give you a glimpse into what my life at Surrey is like!

I was born and raised in Bucharest, Romania and only moved to the UK, more specifically in my Manor Park room, two days before Freshers’ Week in September 2018! I speak English, Romanian, a bit of German (currently doing my Stage 3 German GGA extra-curricular module) and a very little bit of Turkish! I love challenges and getting involved, travelling, and learning new things, helping people, and solving problems!  

My journey to Surrey wasn’t the smoothest, but hey – smooth seas don’t make skillful sailors, right? Surrey was one of my top 5 university choices, and despite receiving a great offer, I chose to decline it at the time and go for Imperial and UCL as my firm and back-up options. Now that I think about it, I can’t pinpoint a specific reason and we all know hindsight is a great thing! Despite getting perfect grades in two of my three final exams, emotions got the best of me in the third, and my results weren’t as I had hoped, meaning I just about missed out on both of my university offers.

Going through the Clearing process can sound terrifying, but honestly, when you look back at it – it’s really not! While it definitely was one of the most stressful times in my life, the outcome is far better than I could’ve imagined, and Surrey ended up being the better fit for me. Being able to track back my steps and return to Surrey as a Clearing option meant I had the chance to go to one of the 5 universities I really liked from the beginning of the process. The potential of doing a professional training year, the fact that the course is well ranked, and the proximity to London were all factors that drew me to Surrey. I’m confident to say Surrey met and exceeded expectations I didn’t even realise I had, offers me incredible opportunities in all directions I’m interested in and helps me grow in way I never imagined!

Fast forward three and a half years since I’ve first came to Surrey, here’s a glimpse into many of the things I’ve been getting up to alongside my degree (and now my full-time placement job)! I can definitely say I’m doing a little bit of everything, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

A collage of photos of the many different things I've been involved in at Surrey!
A collage of photos of the many different things I’ve been involved in at Surrey!

I’m keeping active, being in my 4th year on the Competition Team as part of Team Surrey Archery Club, I train with Surrey Fireballs – our dodgeball team and (when placement allows, at the moment) ski on dry slopes with Surrey Snowsports! Since my second year I’ve been a part of Surrey MechSoc’s committee, holding the president position for 2 years in a row, and now treasurer – MechSoc is a student-led departmental society aimed at Aerospace, Automotive, Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering students.

I do quite varied volunteering, being a Movember Ambassador, Positives Minds Facilitator, Welfare Watch social media office and for this year, Support Zone Exec Member in the Students’ Union. All my work and involvement were rewarded last summer, winning the Activity Cup at our yearly Union Ball! The reason I am telling you this is not only for you to get to know me a little bit, but to show you how diverse the extra-curricular life can be at Surrey – there truly is something for everybody!

Like I said, many students choose to do an industrial placement, meaning a year in the industry where you work developing your skills and being in contact with the real-life opportunities of your sectors! I am one of these students, and while some venture into various parts of the UK, or even abroad in places like France and Japan, or even Antarctica, I chose to stay in Guildford and I working at the Surrey Research Park! Being the hub for several companies that fit in my area of interest, Surrey Research Park has always been on my radar, as a perfect spot to spend my placement year and I was thrilled to be employed by TREUinvivo as of June last year!

Left: Surrey Research Park building where I work (source:
Right: a close up of the micro-silica beads I work with (source:
Left: Surrey Research Park building where I work (source:
Right: a close up of the micro-silica beads I work with (source:

My role is formally titled Engineering Research and Production Assistant, but in short I am supporting the team in making production more automated and efficient and conducting research on a range of topics! The company makes real differences in the high-precision radiation measurement sector, by aiming to reduce the side effects of radiotherapy, with the use of innovative micro-silica bead technologies, but our applications can branch out into different fields, including nuclear research! As a female engineering student, I am honoured and inspired to be working in a business founded by a fellow woman in STEM, Surrey Alumni, Dr. Shakar Jafari!  

Enough about me for now! I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post as much as I enjoyed writing it and I can’t wait for you to read-me again, in my next post about Homesickness & How I joined the Archery Club!