In February 2018, I received the most exciting notice of my life. I was accepted to study the MSc in Water, Sanitation and Health Engineering at University of Leeds, and was also awarded two scholarships, WASH Alumni and Treadgold scholarships. I could not be more grateful to the University of Leeds and Mr. Treadgold and his family for supporting my studies here and making my dream possible. I was very excited because after looking at different Masters courses in Europe and comparing their course structure, I found that this programme perfectly fitted to my needs since I wanted to deepen my knowledge in water, sanitation and health, mainly focusing in developing countries. It would my first time in Europe and in the UK, one of the countries that I had wanted to visit since I was a child and began to learn English.
I started my classes in September 2018 and from my first meeting with my professors and classmates, I felt that I had made the right decision. To be honest, adapting to a new teaching system and in a different language to my mother tongue was quite challenging for me, since it is very different from my home country, Peru. However, it helped me to develop important skills to adapt to any circumstance outside of my comfort zone.
I have really loved and enjoyed my time in Leeds, both my MSc and extracurricular activities. Apart from the massive amount of knowledge acquired first hand by experienced professors throughout all the lectures, one of the best aspects of my MSc was the exchange of knowledge with my professors and classmates. My professors master their subject very well and their traditional and interactive lectures gave us valuable knowledge based on their experiences. Also, they prompted us to raise discussion points and give our own examples. Sharing our experiences from the field and different viewpoints with my classmates, who came from different backgrounds, through fascinating discussions, helped me to learn more and expand my perspective. I would like to point out that my professors were very approachable so if you had any doubt to clear, you could ask during classes or by sending them an email afterwards.
In addition, I was always aware of my mental health and wellbeing, I didn´t want to get stressed. That´s why I joined some societies and practiced sports. I organized my time so that I could go swimming, climbing and play basketball (I was passionate to practice them at least twice a week). All this helped me to relax myself from a stressful day and make more friends. From my lectures and my extracurricular activities, I developed new skills such as discipline, critical thinking, communication skills (I improved my fluency in English!), teamwork skills, tolerance, how to analyse a topic from different perspectives, being practical – open my mind to any possibilities and adapt the solution to any circumstance – among others, that will help me in the present and the future.
Finally, I would like to say that you won´t regret choosing this course because it is well organized, has outstanding staff, and has relevant modules focused on how to face the current needs related to water, sanitation and hygiene, mainly in low- and middle- income countries. Moreover, always pursue your goals and be persevering to achieve them (you will surely achieve them!). For the international students, a little tip would be…please, don´t be shy when you try to speak a language that is not your mother tongue, making mistakes is the only way to learn and improve that language, and your classmates who are native speakers will be there to support you (keep going and feel confident!).