Hey! My name is Sacha and I am a first-year PhD student in Sociology. As an intern for the Researcher Development Blog, you will see more of me here with posts about life as an international PGR student.
Born and raised in the Netherlands, I moved to Glasgow in September 2016 to start a PhD in a discipline I wasn’t trained in. Having to start a new life, make new friends, work in a new subject matter, and live in a new country is challenging, exciting and scary at the same time. So how did I end up here?
During my research master history at Utrecht University, I was encouraged to study abroad. Because finding a PhD position in the Netherlands is particularly difficult for people trained in the Arts and Humanities, I decided to explore my options in the UK. I studied in Brighton for three months and did an internship at the University of Glasgow for two months. When I returned home, I received an invitation to become a PhD student in Glasgow.
Amazing! Yes. Scary? Also. To say that I immediately screamed yes and packed my suitcases to move to Glasgow would be a bit of a stretch; after all, I had all my friends and family back home. I had heard many stories about life as a PhD student from alumni and friends, and most of them could be summarised as: “it is very, very difficult.” However, after careful consideration and many conversations with people from inside and outside academia, I decided that this opportunity was simply too good to pass up, and I started a new adventure in Scotland.
Why am I telling you all this? Because I want to use my own motivations, experiences, challenges and questions to write posts for others who might find themselves in similar situations. I was so grateful to hear from other PhD students that I would like to continue to share information with others.
I’m not claiming I know what I’m doing. So much is happening at the same time, that most days I don’t even understand what day, month or country I am living in. However, in my shared office I receive advice from my office mates and hearing them talk about their decisions, dilemmas and day-to-day issues inspires me and helps me review my own project.
I would love to share everything I’m learning right now with others, to make being a PhD student a little less isolated. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or suggestions for blog posts!