Pursuing a Master’s amidst COVID-19

MSc Data Science student Nithya Balaji shares her experience of securing her dream scholarship, starting a Master’s degree, and adapting to blended learning amidst COVID-19.

How exactly does someone start a new Master’s during a pandemic, and how does blended learning work? Here is my story.

Choosing RGU

Life was running smoothly. I was working for a major IT company in India, my home country. I was looking to boost my professional career and doing a Master’s degree seemed like the perfect answer. Pursuing a postgraduate degree abroad meant that I would get to explore a new country, its people and culture.

RGU Student shares her experience of starting Master's degree amidst COVID-19.

I started looking for countries that students listed as the best place to study abroad and the UK topped the list for Information and Technology-related Master’s programmes.

My husband, who is an RGU alumnus suggested that Aberdeen is great place to study. RGU was undoubtedly the best choice.

Nithya Balaji, MSc Data Science Student at RGU

With lots of hope, I applied to the MSc Data Science course and I received an offer as I desired.

A wish come true

While on one side, I was dreaming of how my life in a new country was going to be; on the other side, I was working on satisfying the conditions on my offer letter. Arranging funds was a big part of this process. I appreciated that RGU sent me timely updates on the scholarships that were being awarded to international students. I applied to several scholarships stating my genuine desire and passion to study Data Science.

Soon I received an email from the RGU Scholarship team stating that I was successful in my GREAT Scholarship application.

Nithya Balaji, MSc Data Science Student at RGU

It was an absolute delight. I was so proud of myself for becoming a recipient of one of UK’s most competitive scholarships. It was a success that my family and I will cherish forever.

My advice to future international applicants: Opportunities like this exist despite COVID-19. Go grab it!

A virtual start because of COVID-19

Due to the pandemic, I had to begin my first semester remotely. Nevertheless, I still had so much fun participating in pre-arrival induction programs and virtual activities conducted by the RGU:Union. There were a bunch of events that happened during the virtual Fresher’s Week. It helped me meet new friends and get introduced to the mentors at RGU.

I really appreciated RGU and the Student Union for putting in so much effort for our welcome.

Nithya Balaji, MSc Data Science Student at RGU

Plan, adapt and learn online

Adapting to blended learning was difficult at first, but soon, it became a comfortable reality. All our lecture recordings and virtual labs were just a click away. COVID-19 has stopped us from studying on-campus, but hey, look on the bright side, you don’t have to commute!

I could access all learning services and support networks through the RGU Campus Moodle website. The MYRGU app was convenient as it shows our daily schedules, emails and so much more.

Nithya Balaji, MSc Data Science Student at RGU

Not to forget, the support I received from my course instructors and other RGU staff was incredible. Any help I needed was resolved timely through emails, forums and online sessions. I would like to thank RGU’s support and advice services for their broad support for students during this pandemic.

Nithya Balaji shares her experience of starting Master's degree amidst COVID-19.

Acquiring knowledge remains the same in whatever means we learn. A word of advice: plan your day, adapt to new methods and start learning.

I have high hopes that this current situation will pass. I am looking forward to being on-campus and meeting all my virtual friends in-person.

Nithya Balaji

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