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My advice to future students would be to pursue what you are truly passionate about, even if the end goal isn’t entirely clear yet, and do it with love.

Beatrice, Italy

Introducing Beatrice

  • Country: Italy
  • Studied: BSc (Hons) Ocean Science and Marine Conservation at University of Plymouth

What made you choose Plymouth?

I chose to study at the University of Plymouth due to its excellent reputation for the programme I was enrolling in, and the opportunity to live by the sea and pursue my passion seemed like the perfect combination.

What did you choose as a subject?

I chose to study Ocean Science and Marine Conservation because I have always been passionate about the water. After my 6-month experience studying marine biology in Australia, I realised that my future would be tied to the ocean and its conservation. I want to learn as much as possible on this subject so that I can one day contribute to protecting our oceans from human threats.

How did you find the enrolment process?

The enrolment process has been very straightforward for me. As an international student from Italy, I had to take English proficiency exams and provide proof of my academic qualifications, as I had enrolled before completing my high school degree in Italy. An agency in my home country assisted me throughout this process, helping me with the necessary exams and liaising with the university. At the same time, the admissions team at the University of Plymouth was very responsive and helpful, promptly addressing any questions I had.

What were your first impressions?

When I first arrived in Plymouth, it was unfortunately during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, with lockdowns and all the shops closed. However, my initial impression of Plymouth as a university city was still excellent. The first time I saw the university, I didn’t feel like I was in a different country, surrounded by people I had never met before. I was completely amazed by the beautiful campus, with its large, glass-fronted buildings. I still vividly remember walking through the campus for the first time, feeling overwhelmed. At first, I thought I would get completely lost, but now I know every corner of the campus and still enjoy it as much as I did on that very first day.

How did you feel being so far from home?

I moved here when I had just turned 18. At that age, I was still young and a bit idealistic. I was responsible, but I wasn’t sure if I was truly ready to be completely independent and care for myself without any guidance. It was a challenging transition – there were moments when I felt down and homesick, where nothing could have coaxed me out of my room. However, the happy and fun moments have far outweighed the difficult ones. I’ve learned how to be independent, to rely solely on myself, as I didn’t have anyone else here in the country. Being away from my family and lifelong friends was hard, but it has taught me how to be content with my own company and create a life for myself. I’ve learned that the people who truly care about you will always be there for you, no matter the distance. Living apart from everyone I knew for 4 years has been eye-opening. Now, I feel like I’m living two parallel lives – one here in Plymouth, and one back home. Sometimes these two worlds overlap, but in general, I feel incredibly fortunate to be experiencing this amazing opportunity. Despite the occasional homesickness, I would choose to come here again if given the chance.

What was your experience at the College?

The staff at UPIC have been absolutely wonderful in supporting me. As a very outgoing person, I always enjoy a good chat, and I’m grateful that the staff have always made time to support me and help with any issues I’ve faced. They have been incredibly kind and amazing. The staff have always been ready to lend a hand, listen if I was having a bad day, and encourage me to believe in myself, whether the issue was personal or academic. I would like to sincerely thank each and every one of them – they are all amazing people, and I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet them.

How did you find the transition from UPIC to University?

The transition from UPIC to the University of Plymouth itself was surprisingly smooth. Of course, the academic workload increased significantly, as one would expect when moving from a foundation program to the university. However, thanks to the amazing staff and wonderful teachers at UPIC, I did not experience any anxiety or doubts about my ability to succeed. The UPIC team was always ready to help me with any matter or provide advice for any questions I had, even after I had completed my foundation year. I am incredibly grateful for their support and guidance throughout this transition, and I don’t think I can thank them enough.

How was the teaching?

The teaching at UPIC was well-suited for preparing me for my intended undergraduate degree. It provided me with the right foundational knowledge and skills to succeed in the tasks and coursework required at the University. Although my foundation year was unfortunately conducted online due to COVID-19 and the lockdowns, the teachers made their best efforts to engage us in the lectures, and I was able to get the most out of the experience.

How was it making friends?

Being a very outgoing person, I generally don’t have much trouble making new friends, as I tend to talk to everyone. However, the lockdowns during my first year did limit my ability to make a lot of new friends. But I got quite lucky, as I ended up living in a large house with 15 bedrooms, and I got along well with all of my housemates. We formed a really nice group, and once the COVID-19 restrictions started to ease up, I was also able to go out and make good friends from my course. Those friendships have continued, and I’m still seeing and talking to those people today.

What are your future plans?

When it comes to my future, I’ve always had a clear idea in mind. I’ve always wanted to make a difference and give my absolute best to achieve my goals. Ideally, I would love to work for a government or organization that has the power to influence the current state of ocean health. My dream is to become a researcher focused on coral reefs, and to be able to make a positive impact on their wellbeing. I’m doing my best in my undergraduate degree to gain as much knowledge as possible, and I hope to further build my experience through internships and potentially a master’s degree, and even a PhD. My aim is to leave a lasting, positive impression and help raise more awareness about the pressing issues facing our oceans today. I will do everything in my power to make a meaningful difference. Even though I have a clear vision for my future, I understand that not everyone may have such a defined path. My advice would be to pursue what you are truly passionate about, even if the end goal isn’t entirely clear yet, and do it with love. With dedication and hard work, you can make a real impact in the areas you care about.


Interview by Asia Gallo Costa Silva

MSc Digital and Social Media Marketing student at University of Plymouth

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