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Durham University

Undergraduate

Ivalina Minova

Why did you choose to study Chemistry at Durham University?

When I made the decision to continue my education abroad I was aiming for an intellectually stimulating environment and Durham’s high ranking of the Chemistry Department and world known reputation were very appealing. I was also captured by the beautiful and compact campus known for its friendly atmosphere and long tradition.

What are your memories of the first few weeks as a newly arrived undergraduate student in Durham?

International students are invited to arrive a few days earlier than the rest of the student body which helped me get settled in. I enjoyed the warm welcome, the sociable atmosphere and the diversity of events. Sports and societies definitely help in the integration between international and British students. They are also a wonderful opportunity to meet older students and students from different colleges.

What is student life at Durham University like?

It is hard to imagine anything better! Durham offers academic excellence and a vibrant atmosphere with a strong sense of community. Not to mention, a safe environment, beautiful location and lovely landscapes. The collegiate system makes the transition from home to university smooth. In addition, the University’s Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre website provides help with employment all year round.

What do you enjoy most about studying and living here?

There is a real sense of belonging in the department; members of staff are friendly and very supportive, aiming to bring out the best in each student. Questions are always welcomed! Additionally, I thoroughly enjoy the greenery in this small yet beautiful city- from having a stroll along the river, to going picnicking on one of the hills. The long holidays allowed me to undertake a part-time job as well as get involved in a research over the summer (staff frequently encourages students to put their knowledge into practice). Durham is small, safe and almost everything you need is within a walking distance. There is a high standard of accommodation and facilities within a reasonable price.

What is the student community and students' social life at Durham like?

Student’s social life in Durham is great! Colleges offer a full programme of student-led events and extra-curricular activities throughout the term and there is something for everyone to enjoy.

 

What was your biggest challenge and your greatest success in your time at Durham so far?

For me, finding true independence was the biggest challenge. Setting time aside to study is not always easy when so many other activities are taking place during term time! My greatest success was deepening my interest and understanding of chemistry- beyond what my previous schools could offer and completing year one with first class results. Also, I settled into a new church community (of which there are many in Durham).

What are your career plans and goals for the future?

I enjoy Chemistry and it is hard to consider anything else but follow a career in science. Currently, I am doing my first summer research project with a view to discover what a PhD would be like.

How will a Durham Chemistry degree help you achieve these goals?

A chemistry degree from Durham will stretch your intellectual talents, test your organizational ability and give you skills for life. The skills you develop here are highly valued by prospective employers and therefore will increase your chances of employment in a scientific career. 

Is there any advice you'd give to other students thinking about doing Chemistry at Durham?

Be prepared to work hard, learn to be part of a lively community and expect to be challenged.