September 11, 2017, by International students

Chevening adventure in Nottingham

At Wollaton Park, Nottingham, 2015

Hey, I am Zoia Pavlenko, a 29-year-old environmental specialist from Ukraine. I was lucky to study MSc Environmental Engineering at the University of Nottingham in 2014/2015 with the support of Chevening Scholarships.

When I was going through my application process for both the university and scholarship, I was thinking that some day I will be telling how easy it was and giving tips and tricks to future students. So, the time has come. I hope that my story will help young people in decisions and choices shaping their professional development.

Back in 2014 after graduation from Dnipropetrovsk National University of Railway Transport named after academician Lazarian, I worked several years as an environmental engineer at a small construction firm in Ukraine. But work experience on an international project inspired me towards solving environmental problems not only at the local scale, but also globally. This led me to a decision to study abroad. This was not something like a dream, but rather an internal conclusion taken through a practical approach.

I chose Nottingham because of a specific master program in the area of my interests – MSc Environmental Engineering. It attracted me for its strong emphasis on the concrete engineering approach for solving environmental problems. To say that my year at Nottingham was amazing would be an understatement. It was a life-changing, crazy and memorable time, full of new cultural impressions, travelling and, of course, romance. I still nostalgically recall those sleepless nights at ESLS working over group coursework, pizza on the grass in Highfields Park and photo sessions in Jubilee campus.

Classmates from the MSc Environmental Engineering and MSc Chemical Engineering courses

Of course, this adventure couldn’t be possible without the support of Chevening Scholarships and its community. Now, belonging to the cohort of Chevening alumni, I have connections, colleagues and friends all over the world.

Just after Nottingham I managed to secure an internship at the international organisation in energy sector in Brussels. It gave me an amazing work experience in the international environment and affirmed my aspiration of having a global career.

Chevening Scholars on a tour of Nottingham during a Chevening event in April 2015

However, even studying abroad or Chevening-status don’t guarantee you immediate permanent employment: I had to prove my professional capabilities at every single interview. And since after graduation the ambitions were high, it took more than 7 months for me to get the desired position. Its worthless to say how many rejections I got on that way. In 2016 Canada and Ukraine signed a free trade agreement and I took the position of an environmental expert in a technical assistance project working towards its implementation. A combination of international trade and environmental protection was a completely new area for me. But the feeling that I am contributing to growing the wealth of my fatherland and enabling it to compete on the international market helps me to combat the obstacles. Environmentally sound approaches in Ukraine’s development are especially important considering its recovery from the military and economic crises of 2014-2015 with resource and energy inefficiency being its significant developmental issues.

Excursion to the Papplewick water treatment station with classmates in November 2014

Therefore, if you are inspired to turn the world upside down, studying at the University of Nottingham with a Chevening Scholarship is a faultless combination which will help you to succeed.

Applications for Chevening Scholarships inb 2018/19 are open until 7 November 2017. Find out more about studying at Nottingham with a Chevening Scholarship.


Posted in CareersScholarships