My experience as a Construction Project Management student and British Council STEM scholar at Anglia Ruskin University:
I have always believed that with the right guidance, construction (and engineering) could be more effective and more sustainable. I also believe that I could be a leader and expert in my country as a construction manager.
However, I didn't know many female leaders in the construction industry doing what I wanted to do. I understood that I needed to be an active voice and connect with other women and female leaders who want to manage construction and implement their principles as much as I do. So, I applied for this course and the British Council Women in STEM Scholarship. I understood that would be an opportunity to interact with experienced lectures and meet other inspiring people.
When I arrived in the UK, coming from Brazil, I had high expectations of what the course and life would be like. Already in my first week, I could see that it would be a very interesting multicultural experience. I have classmates and professors from all over the world, the majority are still men, however there is always an open field for us women to give our opinions and perspectives on the issues addressed.
As time went by, I observed educational differences. Here, critical thinking and self-development are well encouraged. At the same time, the lecturers are always available to answer questions and provide further explanations. This was a big insecurity of mine before arriving, I didn't know how my relationship with the lecturers would be and how much my extroverted Brazilian way would be accepted. It was a pleasant surprise to see the welcoming way I was received by everyone.
In addition to the activities developed in the classroom, I have had the opportunity to participate in events related to STEM inside and outside the University. During the first trimester, ARU were already promoting Science Week and the STEM society meeting. There was also a career fair where I was able to talk to a manager at a local homebuilder and understand how construction is done here. I also went to the London Build Expo, a fair that focused on the construction sector where I created a rich network of contacts, attended inspiring lectures, and saw in practice much of what I've been learning here.
These academic and extracurricular experiences made me realise how powerful this opportunity is. I will be able to bring knowledge from around the world to other women in Brazil. I'm making connections with other women leaders in the construction and engineering industry, and I will be an active voice to boost the qualification and engagement of other women in STEM (especially in the construction area). Taking this knowledge beyond geographic borders.
So far, this is a small summary of what I have experienced as a Construction Project Management student at ARU. Learning from routine and cultural differences is also very rich - it certainly strengthens me as a professional, manager, and woman.
I would definitely encourage other women to seek out more information about Masters courses at this University, the British Council Scholarship for Women in STEM and further knowledge of the English language or female leadership. So that we can have more women in leadership positions on our teams.
Photo of me with friends I made during the course (all Masters students in construction or engineering management):
Photos during the London Build Expo:
Photo of me acting as a volunteer during the Science week the Gaia exhibition:
Photo of me before one of the lectures:
Photo of my travel from Brazil to England:
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.