Shubham Dixena appeared for Chevening Scholarship interview while ensuring his father gets proper treatment against post-Covid complications. He shares why looking for accommodation should be a top priority in the UK.
I hail from a small village in Chhattisgarh called Dudga where there was no access to quality education. Looking at the limited number of opportunities in my hometown, I had to relocate to Bilaspur to pursue my education. I completed my Class 12 from HS M Public School, Bilaspur and then pursued Computer Science and Engineering from Christian College of Engineering and Technology in Bhilai.
Although I did not undertake any specific preparations for studying abroad, during my college days, I founded my own NGO and remained active in the social development sphere.My experiences till this point in my life made me realise that the kind of curriculum and training I am wishing for will only be available abroad. As the founder of an NGO that I launched in 2017, I realised that to make my organisation sustainable, I needed more academic knowledge about applying various theories and concepts in real-world scenarios. Therefore, I started researching and decided to pursue an MSc in Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the London School of Economics (LSE). My decision to choose LSE was specifically due to this course curriculum, as I found it highly relevant and engaging.
Covid-19 has significantly impacted my life, particularly with regard to my family’s health. My parents were hospitalised for almost a month due to Covid-19. During this time, I was also in the process of applying for scholarships.After my father was discharged from the hospital, he developed several health issues, which required numerous operations. Despite all of this, I managed to do an interview for my scholarship, while my father was undergoing surgery.I handled the admission process without the assistance of a counsellor. Like many universities in the UK, the application process was rigorous, requiring the submission of essential documents such as letters of recommendation, transcripts, degree certificates, a statement of purpose, and a CV.
While some universities offer English language test waivers, the London School of Economics does not. As there were no available slots for the IELTS or TOEFL exams nearby, I opted for the LSE Language Assessment. I was granted this free test after explaining the high cost of other tests. Following the language test, there was an interview conducted via Zoom. The LSE processes documents and applications at different times, but I was fortunate to receive my results within a week.Keeping in mind that studying abroad without financial assistance wasn’t feasible for me, I applied for the Chevening Scholarship, which is a leadership-based award given to youth who positively impacted their community through their work and demonstrated the potential to become future leaders. It offers a fully-funded opportunity to study in the UK, including tuition fees, living allowances, arrival allowances, and visa costs. The application process involved writing four essays of 500 words each and undergoing an interview.
My advice to future aspirants — plan in advance
My advice for students planning to study abroad in the near future would be to focus not just on the academic aspect of their education but also on the overall global exposure that they will gain by immersing themselves in a diverse, multicultural environment.One crucial aspect that students should plan for in advance is accommodation as rooms tend to fill up quickly, particularly the more affordable options offered by universities. So it is essential to start looking for a place to stay as soon as possible, after receiving your acceptance letter.Additionally, I have noticed that many students tend to bring a lot of luggage and Indian products with them when travelling abroad. However, it is often more cost-effective to purchase necessary items once you arrive in the UK, rather than paying for extra luggage or shipping items from India. Almost everything is easily available in this country, so students should not worry too much about packing specific items and instead focus on finding the right university and affordable accommodation.