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Ioana Parry

MA Film and Visual Media

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Ioana Parry’s decision to enrol on the MA in Film History at Birkbeck, University of London, was based purely on her passion for the subject. However, she had not anticipated the extent to which the experience would change her life and describes it as “one of the best decisions of my life”.

As a full time IT Project Manager Ioana needed a course that she could attend in the evenings. She also wanted to be sure of the quality of the course; Birkbeck’s excellent reputation for high quality teaching and research reassured her that the College could offer what she wanted.

Ioana graduated with a BA Foreign Languages and Literature from the University of Bucharest in Romania in 1996 and moved to the UK in 2000. Differences between study approaches in Romania and England and the fact that she had not studied for 13 years meant that Ioana felt quite daunted during the first few weeks. Her mark for her first written assignment was not as high as she had hoped for, but, with the support of her tutors, she went on to improve and develop her study skills and graduated with a distinction in her dissertation. She says: “It’s a great achievement, and to see myself learning and improving throughout the course has been brilliant.”

The encouragement and the expertise of the tutors and the passion of the students in her lectures has been an ongoing source of inspiration for Ioana. “Everyone was here because they loved what they were doing. That creates a wonderful atmosphere in classes,” she comments.

Despite Ioana’s work being unrelated to her studies in Film History, she gained a lot of skills that helped her at work. “I use the things I learnt on my course in my job all the time,” she says. “For example, how to develop an argument and how to use it to achieve one’s goals. Also, how to assess a situation, looking beyond the first impression, which I think is very important in life. The writing skills that I have developed in essays and assignments are useful for structuring reports that I have to produce in my job, and my approach to research in my job has improved - I am much more methodical now.”

Beyond the benefits to her working life, Ioana thinks that the course has brought her innumerable personal benefits. She comments: “I have developed creatively more in the last two years than in the previous ten. This MA has given me enormous confidence in myself, making me feel wiser and enriching my life overall." Ioana enjoyed her MA so much that she is currently enrolled on two Certificate courses at Birkbeck and has just applied to do a PhD at the College as well. “Studying has become a way of life for me,” she says. She concludes: “Studying at Birkbeck was an amazing experience. I would recommend it to anyone”

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'Studying at Birkbeck was an amazing experience. I would recommend it to anyone.'