Blog Student life My pathway to a PhD and TED Talks with UWE Bristol’s International College
Stephanie Udoh posing in front of UWE Students Union buildingStephanie Udoh posing in front of UWE Students Union building

My pathway to a PhD and TED Talks with UWE Bristol’s International College

Stephanie Jay is currently studying for a PhD in Biomedical Science, and she is excelling in several areas of her professional life. Studying for a Foundation Certificate at UWE Bristol’s International College helped lay the foundation for her achievements.

Read Stephanie’s reflections on how this set her on her path to success.

Studying for a Foundation Certificate in Science and Engineering

Choosing the Foundation Certificate in Science and Engineering was a strategic decision for me, aligning perfectly with my aspiration to pursue a degree in biomedical science. This pathway offered the ideal route towards my goal.

Completing the Foundation Certificate at the International College gave me invaluable skills and knowledge that proved instrumental in my undergraduate journey. I gained a substantial advantage!

This solid foundation made transitioning into university seamless and undoubtedly paved the way for my successful pursuit of a PhD.

Finding a community as an international student

I built a strong community within the college, so that really acted as a great support system for me, even when it got difficult.

We also had college tours. They’d take us to different and exciting places in Bristol, so that made it feel quite familiar. The adjustment was quite easy — it wasn’t overwhelming.

Sometimes you miss home — you get a culture shock — but I think I had the right support system around me with my friends and tutors from the college.

Those check-in sessions were useful for me to feel like I had a community that I could rely on. Another thing I enjoyed about the support with Kaplan was there were monthly check-ins and one-to-ones.

University of the West of England International College & Global Centre building
The challenges and rewards of doing a PhD

[A PhD] pushes you beyond your limits. It messes with you on every level: on a physical level, an emotional level and a mental level.

I think the difference between the people who make it to the end of the PhD and the people who don’t are just the people that say, ‘You know what? No, you’re not going to get the best of me. We’re going to do it. We’re going to finish it.’

I think that’s one thing I really enjoyed: knowing that I could be better, that I can push myself beyond my limit, and knowing I can achieve even more than I think I’m capable of.

Giving a TED Talk on becoming a better leader

Being able to go on [stage] and share how I try to become a better leader was really inspiring. And in terms of the response? So much love, so much positive energy, and positive words from people that I don’t even know.

Being able to share my experience and have that inspire someone else is just priceless for me.

Creating an art exhibition exploring mental health

My debut solo exhibition, called Dance Articulate, explores the relationship between mental health and the arts. There are different genres: hip hop, contemporary, Afrobeats. We wanted [contributors] to tell their story and infuse their emotions and culture in their piece of art. We got a lot of positive responses, and the pieces sold out. It was absolutely amazing!

My advice to other students

What I would tell myself is, for all the times when I was down, all the times when I was unsure, ‘Hey, keep going, you got it.’ And I say that to everyone else who might be in college and not sure how things are going to pan out: just keep going. Just show up every day. You’ve got a bright future ahead of you!

Apply to study in Bristol

If Stephanie’s story has inspired you to pursue a path to an international education, then Kaplan can help! You can take degree preparation courses on campus at UWE Bristol’s International College. This includes Foundation Courses or International Year One (IYO) courses with progression to a bachelor’s degree. You can also take a Pre-Master’s course to gain entry to a master’s degree.

To find our out more about studying in Bristol, get in touch. A friendly Education Advisor will happily explore your options with you.

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