How my Chevening journey began
2020 has definitely been a challenging year for everyone. And I am sure many want it to be over. But as the end of the year approaches, it is always worthwhile to look back and analyze our journey. Personally, 2020 has taught me some hard lessons. This can be the topic for another blog. But overall, I feel thankful for the decisions made this year. They led me to the stage where I am now, with a Chevening Scholarship to study at the University of Westminster in London.
Sometimes, the future seems crystal clear when you finish your undergrad studies. With a background in linguistics and foreign languages, I worked as translator. I enjoyed three years of teaching children, teenagers and even elders. However, as my 25th birthday was approaching, I realized I still wanted to be and do more.
Some people would blame the infamous quarter-life crisis. I am not really sure if that really is an issue. All I knew back then was that I still had not achieved my full potential. There were other fields I wanted to dive in. No one likes that sensation of dissatisfaction. I was sad and mad at myself for a while. Later, I discovered this is common among graduate students and decided to take matters into my own hands.
When reevaluating my aspirations and career goals, I understood all I had achieved in those three years. As a lecturer occupying a leadership position, I had enjoyed counselling students from different backgrounds and collaborating with colleagues of my institution. Solving problems and organizing events were skills I had developed in those years. Thanks to it I had met professionals from different nationalities.
A global community
One day of self-reflection I realized that what I have always loved is the art of communication, of building connections with people. Therefore, I needed a Master’s course to enhance my personal skills as a communicator while showing me how to put into practice all the background knowledge that I had. I needed an opportunity and Chevening gave it to me.
Chevening is a prestigious leadership program. It offers fully-funded scholarships to candidates from all over the world. Funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Chevening offers highly-competitive awards to applicants interested in developing their leadership abilities and gaining practical experience.
As a result, lots of talented professionals apply every year. It is a long process that requires applicants to be committed and determined during the rounds of shortlisting and the interview.
Hence, I have to congratulate all my Chevening colleagues for showing resilience and being able to endure this year’s application process. Undoubtedly, this cohort has overcome the additional stress and uncertainty caused by the international health crisis. Nevertheless, it has been worth it. Chevening gives the chance to build strong relationships and to study in a country with a renowned academic reputation and a multicultural atmosphere.
My goal: Westminster
Thus, I looked for the most prestigious universities in the field of communication studies. The University of Westminster stood out among the highly ranked institutions. I read several Master’s program specifications. Nonetheless, International Liaison and Communication at Westminster was the most appealing. This Master’s in Liaison is devoted to interpersonal and inter-institutional bilingual communication. Just what I was looking for.
On the other hand, I must admit I was thrilled about the idea of studying in London. I dreamed about discovering those hidden magical places apart from the landmarks (just a hint of what some of my next posts might be about). Moreover, Westminster had been home to other Chevening scholars from my country. Their experience had been incredible.
It was a bit hard to apply via UCAS. This is because I had never done anything similar before. I wrote my personal statement with enthusiasm and hope. I was certain that the lecturers and engaging modules would help me reach my potential. And I think I was not wrong.
How it is going
All the lessons have been online this semester. However, I have enjoyed the debates and activities, which have offered me practical experience. The modules encourage critical thinking and enhance interpersonal skills. Additionally, the challenging simulations have boosted my confidence and showed me what my limitations are. Furthermore, the lecturers have ensured students have clarity about all the options of career paths.
To make things even better, my classmates are wonderful. All of them are from different parts of the world. They are intelligent women with a lot of energy and potential. Yes!! An all female Master’s course!! I believe this aspect has added flavour to the course. Their insights have made the discussions very enlightening. I am sure they will be great professionals. It has been incredible the sense of community we have been able to build in our WhatsApp chat. Despite the distance, I immediately felt welcomed and supported. Unfortunately, I have only met few face to face, but I am hopeful we will have a cup of tea next year.
Choosing Chevening, Westminster and International Liaison has been the best decision I have ever made in 2020. I look forward with optimism to a better 2021.
For more insights from international students studying at the University of Westminster and living in the heart of London, please visit International Student Blogs.