I decided to pursue my dream of studying for a postgraduate degree abroad and continue to uncover my potential and reach beyond my limits.
More about Nguyen
Why did you choose to study a postgraduate degree in International Relations?
"I think it was the right time for me to study something new. I was eager to fulfil my academic potential and progress my career development.
More precisely, I wanted to make a change in my life after more than six years as a white-collar worker. I decided to pursue my dream of studying for a postgraduate degree abroad and continue to uncover my potential and reach beyond my limits."
Why did you choose to study a postgraduate degree?
"I am interested in global issues and curious about the balance of power or the world order, and the mechanism for cooperation or conflict. Therefore I wanted to study International Relations.
I researched other universities in Sheffield, Lincoln, London, Liverpool and Manchester before applying to the MA International Relations course at NTU. However, since I found the course description very specific, in line with my career aspirations and the modules interest me, I decided to apply.
Nottingham is a great place for students and the living costs here are cheaper compared with other cities, which is very important since I am self-funded. Also, NTU has been recommended by many international students, who studied here before."
What’s your experience been like of your course so far?
"It is quite broad but very interesting and informative. I have learned a lot about research methods, theories and different international organisations, as well as the role of big powers in the world. I've even learned more about history and global politics, which are totally new to me as my undergraduate degree was in English Studies.
The course has given me a better understanding of climate change, war and conflicts, renewable energy, nuclear weapons and natural resources scarcity. I have become more interested in the course as I study until now.
The lecturers are amazing and really supportive. They have made the lessons more exciting than ever. At the end of term two, I decided on my future career direction in green growth and sustainability."
Have you been involved in any projects or extra-curricular activities that have supplemented your studies run through NTU?
"I have not been involved in any projects or extra-curricular activities during my time in the UK yet but very soon I will be joining one project called Wednesday Afternoon Project by British Red Cross aiming at English Improvisation for the refugees in the city."
What does Social Sciences mean to you?
"To me, Social Sciences is the study of society and the relationship among the actors and factors within it."
Have you completed any work placements on your course?
"I have not completed any work placements on my course yet, but I will soon join the East Midlands Environmental Consultancy - a subsidiary company of Nottingham Wildlife where I'll be volunteering as a Business Support Assistant. This will help prepare me for my future career, as well as being part of our Work-based Dissertation Project."
What do you think of the support available from tutors and staff at NTU?
"All of the tutors that I have had the opportunity to study with during my time here are very nice and supportive. They are truly amazing with their knowledge and expertise. Whenever I have had difficulties with my assignments, I always asked for their advice and guidance first.
My classmates have also been helpful as we've been able to discuss and support each other in group work and even on individual assignments."
Outside of the Lecture Theatre
Did you find it easy to make friends and settle in at NTU?
"I found it quite easy to make new friends, especially when I joined some events for international students, such as Southeast Asia social meetings.
I am also a member of some NTU societies, including Belly Dance, Sustainability and Oriental. I follow the social pages of Film, History, Travel and Anime Societies on Facebook and Instagram so that I can have an expanded network with people with the same interests and hobbies.
Our class is really close to each other so sometimes we hang out after class."
The Next Steps
What’s next for you after NTU?
"I do hope after graduating from NTU, I can find a suitable full-time position. I am looking for a position as a Project Officer, Assistant or Business Support for a non-governmental organisation, or private organisation. I'd like to concentrate on green growth and sustainable development because I am eager to be a part of the global and regional efforts in fighting for a more sustainable world and a more resilient future for the next generation to live in."
As an International Student
Why did you want to study in the UK?
"The UK has long been one of my favourite countries. It was my dream to come here to live and work and that dream has come true."
What experiences have you had as an international student at NTU?
"My experience as an international student at NTU has been truly amazing so far.
I have made a lot of new friends, both from my own countries and other nationalities. I am lucky enough to have friendly and classmates who often hang out with me whenever we have the chance.
I am also blessed to have really supportive and helpful lecturers who have guided me through some of our assignments. Sometimes if I find it hard to write an essay I discuss it with my friends at the Boots Library to get it done because who knows we can learn a lot of things, especially feedback and perspectives from others.
In terms of my personal life, I do not feel lonely at all. In fact, I've got used to leading an independent life. Compared with my home country - Vietnam, the living costs here in the UK, are a little higher. However, since I am working part-time, everything is still within my budget for tuition fees, accommodation, food and social costs."
What advice would you give to help new international students get settled in at university?
"If you feel lonely, make the most of the friends out there. You can either stay in a shared house or join some events organised by the University. The easiest way is to connect with people from your own country or the same culture. For example, we have one Vietnamese society in Nottingham, where you can make friends, exchange ideas and ask for support.
As an international student, it's important to look for suitable accommodation. Therefore, the first step you may think about is contacting NTU accommodation team for help.
The university introduces a lot of volunteer programmes and events, where you can boost your confidence and learn soft skills such as teamwork, problem-solving, logical thinking, event organisation and public speaking.
At the same time, if the subject of study is new to you, it is always a good idea to reach out for help from your tutor or module leaders because they are willing to give you some guidance. It is great to talk to your friends as well, since they may know other things that we don’t.
Last but not least, stay positive and try to get out of your comfort zone if possible because life is short and your student life does not last forever."
Still need help?
Charles AbeInternational Development
Charlotte ParkerSecurity Studies
Emmanuel Ibeawuchi NwamuoInternational Development