Discover Aishyaani's journey at Warwick and what led them to apply for the BASc Global Sustainable Development.
How did you find out about Warwick?
Throughout the time in which I was exploring my options of university, I discovered the University of Warwick as one of the top-leading universities in the UK, as well as for the course that I was interested in pursuing (Global Sustainable Development). It was the only university in the UK that offered this particular course and from what I had read, it did a pretty good job at teaching it! Warwick was also a common destination for many of my friends from Malaysia, and from hearing their insights, I decided it would be a good fit for me.
Did you consider studying anywhere else? What made you choose Warwick?
My choice to study at Warwick was twofold; it was the sole provider of my degree in the UK and there is currently no course related to it in Malaysia. Additionally, I wanted to attend a university that would give me the most holistic experience. From looking at the many opportunities that Warwick offered apart from being able to engage with like-minded academics and peers, it offered a wide range of societies and sports which would take me outside of my comfort zone. I also wanted to be apart of a multi-cultural, diverse community so that I could continue to learn from other individuals, grow and expand from the comforts that I am familiar with back home- and from my research, Warwick seemed to be the best place to do that!
How did you feel to be awarded a scholarship?
I was extremely humbled to have received a scholarship from the university. I applied for it at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic was still greatly impacting many aspects of my academics, mental health and wellbeing. It had also impacted my family’s financial burdens, which left many questions about what the near future would look like for me at a university abroad. Therefore, when I received an email acknowledging that I was successful in my application, I instantly felt a weight lifted off of my shoulders; it was a sigh of relief and shock mostly. The scholarship came at the best time for my family and I. I owe it all to my parents and my older sister who pushed me to believe in myself, and I’ve been grateful for receiving a scholarship ever since.
Who was the first person you told when you received the news about your scholarship and how did they react?
I told my parents first! I received it just before I took a shower, so it was a lot of jumping up and down and dancing in the shower. I then told my mum and dad about it and they were over the moon. As I said, it couldn’t have come at a better time for us. It was a competitive scholarship as it was open to just about every international student coming to Warwick, therefore my parents were extremely proud of me for my achievement. They had truly seen how hard I had worked and how much emotion I had felt to get to where I am at the moment, so it was a rewarding moment for us all.
How did you apply and did anyone help you with your application form and visa application?
I applied after I completed my final-year IB examinations so that I could fully focus on the application. I used a few resources that I used from when writing my personal statements to help give me ideas on the direction my application would take. However, I mostly just spoke from the heart, and gave a true, honest take on why I needed the scholarship and what it would mean to study at Warwick and in the UK. I mostly took advice from my older sister on which of my ideas could be written with more clarity, but I tried as best as I could to stick with my gut on what I thought would be useful to include in my application.
In terms of visa applications, my only advise to you if you’re an international student would be to start your research early! Student visa applications are tedious and require you to get different types of documents ready to submit so that you can get your visa on time for the beginning of university. Because of COVID-19, my visa application was a more arduous task than I had anticipated because of logistical delays by the visa company in Malaysia. However, once you have all your documents ready, the visa process becomes very straightforward. It was my parents that helped me get all the documents that I needed, and supported me even through the visa process as it was very mentally straining especially during the pandemic, considering international travel restrictions were holding a lot of international students back
What was your first impression of Warwick when you first walked around campus?
My first impression of the university campus was that it was even more beautiful in real life than in pictures! It was much bigger than I expected, and there are parts of the campus that I have still yet to have seen. In all honesty, it was slightly intimidating stepping onto campus for the first time as there were so many students everywhere, all with different groups of friends. I didn’t know where to start and felt like everybody had already found their place except for me. However, after meeting my flatmates and slowly getting to meet new people each day, I came to realise that nobody really knew what they were doing at the beginning, and that I was not alone in being a little lost and overwhelmed. The campus does have an extremely sociable and welcoming atmosphere, so it didn’t take very long for me to feel welcomed by my new home and start making friends. I quickly realised that there were also lots of places and activities to do on campus everyday, so there is always an opportunity to meet someone new and make some potentially life-long friends.
What is the best thing about Warwick?
I think one of the things that I love most about Warwick is the sense of community on campus. I’ve enjoyed meeting new people across different cultures and getting out of my comfort zone. I’ve learnt so much about myself since I arrived, and so much more about the world and cultures around me.
What is the worst thing?
I think transition from college to university life could have been better supported by the university better as I did struggle to manage my work and my time at the beginning of university.
How is your accommodation?
My first impression of my accommodation, Rootes, was that it was much nicer than I had expected. Although it is small for the number of my flatmates that I have, it is a cosy and communal space that is great for socialising and making friends. We’ve really enjoyed our time together so far!
Are you a member of any societies?
I was very excited about the sports and societies on campus as there was a society for just about anything I could think of. I joined the GSD society, Spanish Speaking Society, Warwick Think Tank and a few others just to gain some insight on what all of these had to offer. I also joined the netball team which is always really good fun whenever we get together to play. I haven’t done a whole lot with them as societies have just started promoting their activities, but I’ve started by attending some of the talks that some societies host with speakers from different fields of study. I’m also enjoying the socials and circles!
What are your plans when you graduate?
In Malaysia, environmental concerns amidst the COVID-19 pandemic have been subverted as economic recovery remains at the forefront of the government’s current agenda. As the UK plans to rebuild its post- pandemic economy with a “green recovery” that will reinforce sustainability alongside economic success, an approach that I would like to observe and learn from in order to advocate for similar policymaking in Malaysia.
Pandemic aside, I have also observed pre-existing environmental issues that prevail in Malaysia. By studying global sustainable development and environmental management at university, I would like to become instrumental in educating governments and corporations to push for more effective regulation and remove patterns of irresponsibility that persist in Malaysia’s policymaking.
What would you say to someone considering applying for an Undergraduate Global Excellence scholarship at Warwick, what would it be?
I think it would be to tap into your passions when you’re writing your scholarship application. The application involves a variety of broad-based questions, so make use of how broad they are to share what your course and studying at Warwick with mean to you.
What one thing makes you happy about Warwick?
I’ve enjoyed the community and the environment that I’ve been in since being here. The nature on campus is beautiful and always reminds me how grateful I am to be here. I’m also happy to be a part of a lively, sociable community where I can try so many new things with new faces each time.
BASc Global Sustainable Development challenges you to think critically about some of the world’s Big Questions, such as the environment and sustainable business, and to consider practical solutions to these problems.