Construction Project Management student Laurene won a British Council Scholarship to study at Anglia Ruskin University. She explains her student journey.
Receiving the news that I was approved for a scholarship in England was a great joy (and surprise) in my life. Knowing that I could finally fulfil my dream, of knowing and experiencing the culture of another country, filled my family and friends with happiness as well.
I chose the Construction Project Management course because it came to complement my Bachelors. My first surprise was, of course, the excellent structure of the University that offers all the support in matters not only of learning itself but also of infrastructure, with excellent classrooms, auditoriums, place of coexistence and facilities near and inside the campus.
Seeing how the construction market works and how, as a manager and a woman, I can work and promote improvements has been very interesting and adds a lot to my knowledge (and soon also to my professional career) as I have learned multiple approaches and how to put them in practice.
The faculty is impeccable. Excellent teachers, from several countries, transforming this experience into something multicultural. I also have classes with women, which, in a course that focuses on a job market as masculine as construction, made my eyes shine since they are the materialisation that the better future is little by little becoming our present.
In addition to the teaching part, I have been visiting many places, not only in Chelmsford, but in London as well. I have tried a lot of new food, got to know the famous British Museum (the dream of any kid who loved history like me), rode the famous double-decker bus, saw my team lose the World Cup away from home but also saw England eliminated (and I chuckled at the time.) I've also been to Holland, and it was like living a dream within another.
I saw snow for the first time, I danced, I laughed, I got hungover, I made friends from all over the world, I cried with homesickness but here little by little it has become a new home for me. I studied and studied a lot but always with my outrageous laugh that didn't change anything even so far from home.
Now that I experience this personal fulfilment (and family, the second in the family to do a postgraduate degree abroad, great-great-grandson of slaves and granddaughter of a maid) I hope to continue doing what I love most after earning my degree: learning and disseminating knowledge, being an inspiration for the other girls who come from a background like mine.
I have nothing else to do but thank the Women in STEM scholarship, which helped and continues to help me live one of the biggest dreams of many girls' lives and which I had the grace to be chosen to live. I'm looking forward to repaying everything I've received but I won't deny that every day has been filled with anxiety since every day is a new adventure and different learning here in a country that isn't big in territory but is huge in knowledge and culture.
The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. It builds connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language. Last year it reached over 80 million people directly and 791 million people overall including online, and through broadcasts and publications. Founded in 1934, it is a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. It receives a 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK Government.