I’m from Bolivia and after four years of working in the manufacturing industry, I decided change my life and move to UK to pursue a master’s degree and achieve my dream career. I am a nature, travel, coffee and music lover.
MSc Sustainable Chemical Engineering
Choosing postgraduate study
Since I was a little kid, I was inspired by science, nature and the only thing that we can do to understand and discover how it works is keep learning. I did a bachelor’s in Process Engineering, and after working in Latin American industry for four years, I realized that many enterprises in developing countries, are not paying attention to their environmental impacts and use of resources, and its crucial for the future of them, and for the world, to start making changes. This sounds dreamy but I really felt in need of deepening my knowledge and despite the good job I had, I quit and left everything to start studying again, in order to develop skills and learn tools that will help to achieve my goals as a professional.
In Latin America there are not many options for doing a postgraduate degree in my area, so I started to look for options aboard. I found my course, Sustainable Chemical Engineering, that merges all the things that I love the most; industry with the environmental and sustainability that today is a challenge not only for our generation but for the ones to come. Newcastle University is not only one of the few universities offering this degree, but is one of the best Universities in the UK. It has received Sustainable Campus and Athena Swan awards, which shows the University is working to achieve sustainability and gender equality.
Studying at Newcastle
I enjoy the subjects in my lectures and all the things that I am learning that are changing my view about the world in general. It’s amazing to have the opportunity to learn from remarkable professionals that have been doing important research helping the scientific community.
The experience is amazing and you have the chance to improve your second language like me. You also have the opportunity to learn from other cultures, ways of thinking, working and even eating. It opens your vision to a more global point of view.
Obviously for me the perception is different because I’ve been working for the last few years, but the main difference is that for a 1 hour lecture you need 5 hours of independent research and study, so time management is definitely something that you will develop. We are few people in the course, but that makes the class more interactive as the lecturers encourage us to give our opinions and feedback and we often collaborate with each other. In general, if you organize your free time, and don’t leave the work to the last minute, the work/life balance is excellent and you can have time to socialize and even travel around.
The postgraduate community is huge and culturally very different, not only are the students from all around the world, but the teaching staff in some cases too. It is interesting to interact with them and see that literally everyone can study, live and find Newcastle and the University to be very comfortable and easy to be a part of. There are a lot of activities and it’s comforting to see hundreds of people trying to figure out what is going on in the first weeks.
I live in one of the University’s student accommodation that is 10 minutes walking distance to the campus and the city centre. I share a flat with 3 people from different countries, which has enriched my experience.
As the University gave me all the facilities and information for choosing an accommodation by mail, the process was really easy for me. This is advantageous for people overseas that haven’t been in the UK before and do not have time to come weeks before the classes to start, so you can literally arrive from the airport directly to your room.
Living in Newcastle
Newcastle is an amazing city, it is relatively small so everything is close and you have all the things that you need near: supermarkets, gyms, malls, theatres and museums. What I love the most is that you can just walk from one place to another and while you are doing it you will listen to different languages, see how the city changes depending on the day and the time (or if it is a football match). It’s the perfect city for studying and I would totally recommend it to everyone that wants to study abroad.
Funding my studies
Initially I intended to fund my studies myself, but after accepting the offer I applied for a scholarship specific for female Chemical Engineering’s postgraduate students, which I received. That award not only helps me, but motivates me and makes me work harder.
I got emails that included the links for applying to the scholarships. I also received advice on how to manage my money wisely, because sometimes by being new in a place, you can be spending more money without realising. I found all this information very helpful.
My dream is to introduce sustainable development among the industries and consequently in societies. I think that our generation of young professionals has responsibility for the future of our planet, and should start making changes, help to inspire people to do it, not as an obligation but as a way of living and thinking. Studying here, seeing how the things work and having lectures with prestigious teachers is giving me the knowledge that I need and encouraging me to research and develop skills, that will help me to achieve my dream career.
The application procedure is easier that I thought and overall, the community and the environment are so welcoming that you don’t even have time to feel home sick. My advice to international students would be don’t worry too much about cultural and lifestyle differences, the transition is easier than you think.