One World Together

Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that Liverpool is one of the most welcoming cities in the world. A maritime heartland that is a melting pot of cultures, the city’s approach has infused the university. We are very proud to welcome staff and students from over 100 different countries. Here we talk to some students whose overseas roots have played a key role in their learning experience.

Anastasia Vavilova, Masters in Graphic Design and Illustration

Anne Marie Ntaganira, Masters in Public Health

Julia Ngadi, Masters in Global Crime, Justice and Security

Ushie Utubakwu, Masters in Marine and Offshore Engineering

Mihaela Giuiu, Masters in Fashion Innovation and Realisation

Narrative success for Anastasia

With a degree in Linguistics from her local university in Russia, Anastasia Vavilova went on to work in the advertising department of Russia’s biggest IT company. It was here that she came to appreciate the importance of the link between written communications and illustrated/design elements. She realised she needed to find out more and thus her search for a Masters course began.

Narrative success for Anastasia

With a degree in Linguistics from her local university in Russia, Anastasia Vavilova went on to work in the advertising department of Russia’s biggest IT company. It was here that she came to appreciate the importance of the link between written communications and illustrated/design elements. She realised she needed to find out more and thus her search for a Masters course began.

“I became fascinated by visual narrative and creating stories through pictures,” says Anastasia. “I took a Continuing Professional Development programme in Russia and learnt how to create a narrative story. As my final project I made an illustrative book ‘Fellow travellers’ about a seven day train journey I took from Moscow to Vladivostok.”

Anastasia looked at a host of different universities when searching for a Masters. “I was interested in finding a programme which would include both Illustration and Design,” she explains. “I think that only by studying both of them can you understand how text and illustration work together complementing each other or, in some cases, confronting each other.”

Narrowing her search down to two universities she applied and received offers for both. “I made a list of pros and cons for each one and finally decided on Liverpool and LJMU,” she says. “I only knew two facts about Liverpool at that time: that it's the home city of my favourite football team and it’s the birthplace of the Beatles. When I came here I liked the city at first sight. The only thing I was not prepared for was the scouse accent. At first I thought people were speaking German! With a bit of time though I got used to the accent and now I love it.”

Anastasia enjoyed the University every bit as much as the city. “I was so impressed by all the facilities, I had never seen anything like it before,” she smiles. “For me it was like Hogwarts but more modern and exciting!”

The UK learning style was very different from Anastasia’s experience in Russia. “We did a lot of research here,” she says. “It let me rethink my approach to practice and enabled me to create meaningful artworks. My favourite module on the course was the Collaborative Practice module. Izzy, Beth and I were collaborating with Tate Liverpool’s team on the Talking Pictures Community Learning project; a 6-week adult learning Programme for refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants living in Merseyside. It was a completely new experience for me - working with socially oriented themes. I loved it. The participants were very open with their stories and experiences. As a final outcome we have created a publication that documents the learning process and results of the project.”

Another new aspect was the self-reflection element of her course. “We never did anything like that in Russia but, in my opinion, self reflection is one of the most important things you can do at the end of a project,” she says. “It helps you understand and analyse what was done well, what you could do better and how the experience influenced your practice. I think it’s always important to understand where your practice is at and how you can use your previous experience. It is that kind of knowledge which has got me to where I am now and will inform all aspects of my career in the future.”

Back to her Roots

For Anne Marie Ntaganira there is no doubt that her Masters at LJMU has put her where she wants to be. The Rwandan student refers to her studies as the backbone of the knowledge which helped her secure her post as Teaching and Learning Coordinator at the University of Global Health Equity in Butaro.

Back to her Roots

For Anne Marie Ntaganira there is no doubt that her Masters at LJMU has put her where she wants to be. The Rwandan student refers to her studies as the backbone of the knowledge which helped her secure her post as Teaching and Learning Coordinator at the University of Global Health Equity in Butaro.

Anne Marie came over to live in the UK in 2009. On leaving school she studied for a degree in Public Health at the University of Wolverhampton. “I knew I wanted to pursue an advanced degree and I was drawn to Liverpool and LJMU because of their diverse characters,” she says. “I was really interested in improving population health and developing strategic interventions for low income communities. My Masters enhanced my understanding in these areas. There were lots of guest speakers who talked about Public Health as a calling rather than a job. It typified how I felt.”

LJMU’s own staff made a massive difference to Anne Marie’s experience. “They were absolutely brilliant,” she smiles. “They constantly work to bring out the best in you and encourage you. They are always offering opportunities to get involved in real life public health issues, enabling you to participate in workshops and allowing you to explore where you can have the greatest impact.”

During her studies, Anne Marie travelled to Uganda to explore the issues experienced in rural communities. “It was an amazing and educational experience,” she recalls. “We spoke to community leaders about their problems with sanitation and barriers to healthcare services and then we held community workshops to provide advice on issues such as sanitation, nutrition, domestic violence and family planning. We left them with something sustainable that they could build on and hopefully made a difference.”

On graduation, Anne Marie worked as a consultant in education and volunteered as a research assistant at LJMU. In June last year she secured her role as Teaching and Learning Coordinator at the University of Global Health Equity back in Rwanda, moving out there in August.

“The focus of my work is Global Health Equity and so I provide curriculum development and research support along with delivering some workshops to medical and surgery students encouraging them to take the lead in terms of public health,” she explains. “We want to make these students agents of change, and we train them to be great leaders so that they are champions of health equity in everything they do. When they go out to work in the field they will have built a set of shared values, commitment and skills to take on complex delivery challenges ”.

The move back to Rwanda has been something of a cultural shift for Anne Marie. “I was so used to life in the UK it has taken me a little time to adapt,” she laughs. “When I grew up here I was based in the capital city but Butaro is very different. I am seeing my country with a fresh pair of eyes and love the opportunity to make a difference. LJMU has set me on the right path, encouraged me to understand what I can do and start to do it. Thanks to my Masters study I am now where I want to be.”

Time to Think

One of the key elements of moving on to Postgraduate study straight from your Undergraduate degree is that it gives you time to focus on the right career path for you. Irish student Julia Ngadi embarked on her Masters in Global Crime, Justice and Security as she simply wasn’t ready for work and wanted to increase her expertise and assess her career goals.

Time to Think

One of the key elements of moving on to Postgraduate study straight from your Undergraduate degree is that it gives you time to focus on the right career path for you. Irish student Julia Ngadi embarked on her Masters in Global Crime, Justice and Security as she simply wasn’t ready for work and wanted to increase her expertise and assess her career goals.

“I had studied for my degree in Criminology at Abertay University in Dundee,” she explained. “I decided that a Masters would give me the thinking time I needed and, having looked at a range of universities, I realised that LJMU was the right choice for me as it offered the exact course I wanted.”

Julia first visited Liverpool in July to find a place to live. “I had never been to the city before but loved it straight away,” she smiles. “During my time here I have met some really good people both in and out of university. I love how affordable the city is and I really appreciate the fact that I am studying right in the heart of the city.”

Not at all fazed by the step up to postgraduate study, Julia says her Masters is very much what she expected: “I knew that the work would be more intense but it is certainly manageable,” she says. “There was the odd challenge, of course. I had never had to create my own essay questions before, for example, so that took a little getting used to but now it is just second nature.”

The support of the tutors and her peers has been a real bonus for Julia. “Lecturers always have time for you and always provide great feedback on your work,” she says. “Add to this the diverse background of my fellow students and the way we all get on so well and it really is a great learning environment.”

As to the future Julia intends to go where her career takes her. She is looking at jobs in Government, NGOs, the National Crime Agency and even Interpol. “I am interested in international aspects of crime,” she explains. “My Masters has given me so much inspiration for the kind of thing I want to do. I am so glad I came here.”

Sailing to Success

Ushie Utubakwu came to LJMU to study for his Masters in Marine and Offshore Engineering. The Nigerian mature student is enjoying his experience so much that he is now planning to settle in the UK, study for a PhD and set up his own business!

Sailing to Success

Ushie Utubakwu came to LJMU to study for his Masters in Marine and Offshore Engineering. The Nigerian mature student is enjoying his experience so much that he is now planning to settle in the UK, study for a PhD and set up his own business!

Studying for an undergraduate degree in Marine Engineering, Ushie always planned to take a Masters. “After my undergraduate degree I worked as a Second Engineer on board ship, then as Marine Engineering Lead and then as Assistant Marine Service Manager/ Superintendent,” he says. “Working in Offshore diving and ROV operations I knew I needed a Masters to progress so I applied to a number of universities.”

LJMU offered the exact course that Ushie was looking for and he was offered a place. “It was a difficult decision to leave my job so I deferred my place for a couple of years but eventually I knew it was the right time and I came over to the UK to start my studies,” he explains.

So what does Ushie think of his Masters programme? “It is a really exciting experience,” he smiles. “The tools you have access to, the computer programmes, the libraries and the online learning environment are fantastic. If there is one thing I really appreciate about LJMU though it has to be the lecturers. They are not so much teachers as mentors and coaches. As they are so experienced in their field they are brilliant at guiding you and providing up to date resources to meet their modules expectations.”

As for the city of Liverpool, Ushie is equally impressed. “Liverpool is great,” he laughs. “Originally I was quite worried about coming to the UK because it is such a different culture but Liverpool is very diverse so it is really easy to integrate here.

I can find all the foods I am used to at home in the shops here and that makes me feel welcome and special.”

The variety of students on Ushie’s course also makes for a positive experience. “People have different backgrounds and are very happy to share their life experiences,” he says. “I have made many friends here.”

As to the future, Ushie is keen to settle here. “Now I have started my higher level studies I would like to go on to a PhD,” he says. “I am thinking of setting up a business whilst I continue my study and offering consultancy marine services and other support solutions from Liverpool.”

So is Ushie happy he came to LJMU? “I would recommend it to anyone,” he says. “If it is something you want to do, take the chance and explore the opportunities that are available to you. It may change your life.”

The Model Student

Mihaela Giuiu was already a success when she joined LJMU to study for her Masters. The Romanian fashion student had previously spent three years studying sustainability and genderless design and had undertaken an internship in a fair-trade factory at the foothills of the Himalayas. In 2018 she was one of just 10 finalists in the YKK Awards at London Graduate Fashion Week and developed a collection encapsulating her fascination with meticulous design process and skills. 

The Model Student

Mihaela Giuiu was already a success when she joined LJMU to study for her Masters. The Romanian fashion student had previously spent three years studying sustainability and genderless design and had undertaken an internship in a fair-trade factory at the foothills of the Himalayas. In 2018 she was one of just 10 finalists in the YKK Awards at London Graduate Fashion Week and developed a collection encapsulating her fascination with meticulous design process and skills. 

"Ranking so high in a competition with a project I was so passionate about, encouraged me to further develop my knowledge on an MA programme," says Mihaela. "After some serious searching and consideration, I found that LJMU was most welcoming and offered the most advantages with specialist staff and very good facilities."

And as for the city, Mihaela was a massive fan: "Liverpool was above all, accommodating, full of art, music and culture -  which I could not live without," she smiles. "It is a place where you can easily make friends - a crucial aspect for an international student like me." 

Mihaela appreciated the work-related nature of her course: "The university offered amazing opportunities for career development and making contacts in the industry" she explains. "Compared to other places, Liverpool and the university felt like an open door, embracing everyone and everything."

And when she actually started her studies, Mihaela’s hopes for the course were realised: "The academic staff went to great lengths to provide opportunities, bring in external professionals, and create group activities to help us in developing our projects," she says. "The programme was more complex than I expected but I had great pastoral and academic support from my lecturers. I was able to get involved in interdisciplinary collaborations and even developed part of my project during a work-placement in Portugal. It gave me a better perspective of my future career."

As an international student, Mihaela felt very much at home at LJMU: "I loved the multicultural environment and the interdisciplinary collaborations," she explains. "I believe as a designer you need to know how to work efficiently in a team, how to better negotiate your project with your collaborators, where to place certain skills and how to get to successful results. To me it was a great personal development lesson. The university offers excellent support in building experiences necessary in your career and gaining the skills you need. You get out as much as you put in. Although I only spent a year with LJMU, I gained considerable experience and skills."

Mihaela is now further developing the research she started in her MA: "It has evolved into a more complex research project, but it is still within the parameters I envisioned," she says. "I am also doing some work with a researcher based in Bucharest at the I.N.C.D.T.P (National Institute for Research and Development for Textile and Leather). In my spare time I have returned to art and am now taking part in national and international illustration and graphic art exhibitions.  LJMU certainly set me on the right path."