How have you funded your postgraduate studies?
Read more about my experiences
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This year is the first year that the government have provided the Postgraduate Student Loan. This enables you to borrow up to £10,000 to spend either on course fees or living expenses whilst undertaking your studies. Obviously this does not cover everything so it is up to you to fund the rest. I am funding this by working part-time alongside my studies.
Have you joined any clubs or societies, gone on any research trips or done any volunteering?
In my first year of my Undergraduate degree I joined the University’s Ballroom and Latin American Dance Society (BALADS) and have been a member ever since. As a member I go to classes, socials and compete regularly on the University circuit. I am also a member of BACAS (the CAHA departmental society) and PGMSA.
What piece of advice would you give to anyone considering postgraduate study in your field?
I would say that if you are unsure of what you specifically want to focus on research wise, undertaking a taught Masters is a really good way of continuing your studies as it will help to develop the areas in which you are most interested and therefore would like to undertake further research into. That being said, I would also say that if there is an area you are specifically interested in, check to see if something is on offer along those lines. I would also say to be prepared to work alongside your studies to cover the cost of undertaking a Masters.
What was your motivation for undertaking postgraduate study?
I absolutely loved my undergraduate degree and knew from early on I wanted to undertake further study. This was mainly because I found the content so interesting, but also because I loved the environment at the University. The CAHA department is one of the best in the country for its research and I wanted to be able to take advantage of this excellence and learn more in my subject area.
Was there a big transition from undergraduate to postgraduate study?
After 3 years at the University of Birmingham the workload steadily increases and I had friends in the year above undertaking Masters so I had an idea what to expect. The workload is more but I expected that. For my course in particular, there are no lectures, just seminars. This means that it is even more important to be prepared for every session by doing as much reading as you can beforehand and being prepared to contribute in the discussions that ensue in the sessions. Personally I find this kind of learning very beneficial as it makes you really think about the subject but for some people I can see this would be a big transition from undergraduate to postgraduate study.
What, for you, are the best things about the course?
Undertaking a taught Masters means that I am able to take modules in a range of different area. This means that if you don’t want to specialise to soon you don’t have to and it is possible to learn about things that you haven’t done before. I really enjoy the fact that it is compulsory to take a language module – this will be really helpful, especially later on in the year when undertaking research for my dissertation. I also really enjoy the seminar format of other modules as it enables you to have much more in depth knowledge on the topics each week and this means really interesting discussion arise in the sessions with lecturers and students being equally involved.