With applications open for next year's Chevening Scholarships, two Libyan students have kindly shared their experiences of the process via Libya Business News.
By Alhareth Elshibani.
Since my arrival to Libya in February 2017 from the United Kingdom, I have had a dream to be a force for change within my broken community.
Following my involvement in a variety of voluntary and civil-society projects, I decided to search for an opportunity to broaden my horizons and increase my impact. That search lead me to the Chevening Scholarships, a UK Government programme that offers future leaders the opportunity to study in the UK.
The main part of the application process was essay writing. There are four essays (Leadership and Influence, Networking, studying in the UK, and Career Plan); each essay is 500 words and I needed to encapsulate all my experience into those essays to help represent me best. After careful planning and writing I summited my application and patiently awaited the results.
To my great joy, I was chosen for the interview stages. This was an important step towards being chosen as a Chevening scholar. Thus, I prepared for the interview by asking previous Chevening scholars, looking online, and conducting a mock interview, which I hugely advise others chosen to do.
Now looking at how I have managed to reach to this stage. The essays I have written and the quality of writing were important to be chosen for the interview stages. The essays need to reflect your passion, dream, goals, in a systematic approach that enables the committee to feel the important contribution you can make to the community and society. The importance of interlinking your chosen subject with your experience and goals is crucial.
For example, I had a Bachelor in Civil Engineering and a Master in Structural Engineering with Management, but also a passion for relationships with the international community. I ensured that my essays explained:
- How I became interested in this area;
- What are my main goals;
- How studying International Relations will enable me to impact my community.
- How will I develop my network.
- How will I benefit the Chevening platform.
The need to carefully adjust all four essays towards portraying the best image of your character, abilities, experience, and goals is the most important part in the initial application process. This will make your application competitive and give you a greater chance of being selected from the thousands applying.
I wish everyone applying for this opportunity the best. I will follow up on the dates, and once the interview stages are announced, I will ensure that I write more about what to look for and how to prepare for it.
Please feel free to contact me if you require any support or help. Thank you.
By Khalid Aldughri.
Because of my experiences both as a student and as a teacher in Libya, developing the education system in my country has become the ultimate aim in my career.
Having decided that studying in a multicultural environment would be the ideal preparation for these plans I aimed to study for an MA in the United Kingdom. The head of the English department of my college, Hani Erteme, recommended the Chevening Scholarship programme to me and encouraged me to apply for it. When I had a look at the scholarship, it seemed an ideal fit.
I applied for the scholarship in 2018 and was accepted first-time, starting my master's course in Applied Linguistics for TESOL in September 2019; I just finished it in September 2020. This full-time master's year in the UK was an extraordinary experience for me; it exceeded my expectations and I enjoyed and made the most of every single day during this year as a Chevening scholar and a UK graduate student.
The education system here in general is impressive. It was interesting to me how courses are managed and how each module of the whole year is planned, structured and well organised. I enjoyed how my tutors and professors were more than cooperative and friendly. It was really helpful how the staff of the university facilitates the procedures and how almost everything is available online at my student's portal, i.e. modules, lectures, letters, requests, enquiries, timetable, assignments, reading list, etc.
Even with the COVID-19 and the lockdown it caused, I still did not feel left out by the university. The tutors kept checking up on all the students, made sure they are not mentally overwhelmed and helped a lot with deadline issues. Aside from the knowledge I gained from the course, I gained what I mainly came for, ideas about developing the education system.
Throughout the year, I kept taking notes of everything related to education that I can adapt and implement in my country. The ideas and experiences I have gained in one year as a graduate student and a Chevening scholar here in the UK would not have been gained in years elsewhere.
After this massive experience, I believe I am ready for my next stage, developing the education system in my country.