Aidai Ergeshova studied the Advanced Level Foundation at Kings and is now at the University of Exeter studying International Relations.
She talked to us about her choice of university, and her plans for the future.
Hi Aidai. Why did you choose Exeter?
Well, I looked at the university rankings, particularly for my subject — International Relations — and at the time I was looking it was in 6th place. Moreover I looked at module content as well, that appeared really attractive to me. I was not disappointed.
How did Kings help get you to get here?
My course director, Adam, helped me a lot with my personal statement. At first I made lots of mistakes, and was really confused about how to write it, but then he gave me a lot of support and showed me the right ways of writing a personal statement. The whole course was really helpful for me especially for preparation for university, especially for a high ranked university like this. I got a really great experience studying the foundation year in Kings Oxford.
"The whole course was really helpful for me especially for preparation for university, especially for a high ranked university like this."
What it’s actually like studying at a British university?
It’s quite different from the thing that we do in my country, and from the foundation year, because here it’s more about critical thinking. In my country we don’t really think that way, it’s more about learning by heart — they don’t really encourage us to think a lot, or analyse critically.
Here, I’ve understood that it’s more important to critically analyse lots of things. It’s really helpful for your overall perception and understanding of the world, and it further widens your knowledge and experience of life in order to understand how to deal with certain critical problems and to come up with your own solutions, not according to certain series, but your own perception and applying your own knowledge. I think it’s really important for your whole future and your future jobs and experience as a whole.
Do you have any idea what you’d like to do for a career, or is it too early?
I would like to work as a diplomat in my country, probably to help it and to stabilise the relations of my country with other countries, and try to pull my country for under-development.
Another option if I don’t become a diplomat in my country is to work in the United Nations and to dedicate myself to all these global problems.
What advice would you give to other students who are considering this path?
I would suggest that they try not to be too shy, because I remember at first I was really shy and really afraid to speak to English people. I thought that my English was awful and I wasn’t really self-confident. But I think that it’s important not to be shy and to show yourself, even if you don’t have your English. By practising and being confident and learning from your mistakes, this is the best way of learning and getting used to living in England. Otherwise you’re always afraid of something. You won’t have good results in English, or in your study area.
Also, don’t be shy to express your ideas. At first I was afraid that as an international student probably I have a different perception, therefore I had answers but couldn’t really express myself — I was afraid that they’d misunderstand me. But I learnt that it’s better to explain yourself and then learn from your mistakes than being shy and doing nothing.
"Now I feel like an adult and I have a new perception of the world — everything is in my hands."
How have you changed since you left your country?
I got a great experience. Before, I couldn’t imagine living alone in a different country, without my parents, without someone who can cook for me, clean my room or wash my clothes. But now I’ve become more independent and I know how to do it all myself. I’ve become more confident, and I would say that I’ve become an individual — I’ve grown this kind of personality myself, how to deal with problems alone, not to rely on someone else. I think it’s really important for life because you become stronger and more confident and you know how to get out of any situation.
There was a situation when I really wanted to escape, but then I understood that there are other solutions, that I can deal with it and that I can adapt here. It was really useful for me. Now I feel like an adult and I have a new perception of the world. Everything is in my hands.