May 27, 2019, by International students
International Student Ambassadors: María from Chile
Why did you choose to study your specific course and what are your favourite aspects of the course so far?
I choose to do the PhD in Education Research because teachers are the key to the education system, and my commitment is to work to have better teachers, prepared to face every eventuality, but especially highly vulnerable environment where teachers can make a real difference, in consequence I pursue this PhD to materialize my commitment through research. To do so I choose the University of Nottingham because the expertise, academic strengths, and extensive research, with over 200 years of experience in the field of Education, make me feel confident and expectant about the opportunity to learn from experienced academics offering me the tools and understanding I need to approach my studies.
What attracted you to the UK?
I have always been attracted to the UK, especially for three things: firstly, the level of education which is one of the best in the world; secondly, it’s the country where my favourite bands come from and finally, the multi-cultural characteristics of the main cities in the country.
What has been your experience of making friends with people from other countries?
I consider myself a very friendly person so has been quite easy make friends from other places. Besides my flatmates that come from Chile, Italy and Poland; and my course mates who come from Australia, China, England, Turkey, Serbia among other countries, anytime I saw someone talking with a bit of Latin-American accent I ask them where they come from, so that’s how I made new friends from Mexico, Peru, and Chile as well.
Plus, each time you have the opportunity to take a course from the Postgraduate School you will find people from everywhere, countries you never thought you’d know someone from. It’s really a wonderful and interesting experience! It’s a must of the University and you have to make the most of this experience.
Did you get a scholarship? How did you do it?
I was awarded with the ‘Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship for Research Excellence (International)’ which is a specific scholarship for PhD research students from overseas. I applied after I received my offer letter. You have to apply through ‘My Nottingham’, is quite a long questionnaire to complete but definitely worth the effort. If I didn’t have the scholarship, I would not have been able to come to do my PhD to the University of Nottingham. I am very grateful for it. I strongly recommend that all those who have received their offer letter should apply for this and other scholarships, there are many types of scholarships and a lot of information that you can find on the website of the University.
Why did you choose to live where you live and what are the best aspects of it?
Being a student is complex relating to money, so I decide to live on budget and not live in University accommodation. I looked for someone to ‘buddy up’ and look for a house together. After the difficult process to find a house, we got a house close to three of the university campuses: University Park, Jubilee Campus and King’s Meadow. To fill the house we looked for another two people and finally we ended up as four PhD students living together. It’s great, we created a little family, we are very organised with the house and we have lots of fun together. In addition, as we are from different areas our conversations are unlimited!
What are your tips for making friends and adapting to cultural differences?
Before I came to live in the UK I have lived in the USA, Canada, Italy (where I did my MA) and Chile (my home country). What I learnt from all of these experiences was to be very respectful and if there is something you do not understand from your new friends’ culture, you can always ask respectfully. They are going to be happy to answer your questions! You are going to learn to be open-minded and understand that any country in the world is similar to another one, even if they have different religions or speak different languages.
Do you have any tips for adapting to the academic environment in the UK?
Be open to learn, ask and do your homework! Moreover, if you have free time: study English! It is always going to be helpful. Additionally, the University offers tonnes of activities and courses that you can take such as sports, parties, being part of some societies and in-sessional English courses. All of these will help you feel a part of the University and make new friends.