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“Birkbeck leads some of the biggest, most impactful research projects”

Suz Brits is one of four Chevening scholars from South Africa who joined Birkbeck in Autumn 2022 to study MA Educational Neuroscience. Here, she shares highlights about her experiences as a Birkbeck and Chevening scholar.

Two women are in the shot, one whose face we can see and the other faces away from the camera. The woman whose face is visible is meeting the other woman and smiling broadly.
Suz meeting Her Royal Highness Princess Anne

A passion for teaching led me to Educational Neuroscience 

Before coming to the UK to pursue my Master’s in Educational Neuroscience, I worked as a teacher in South Africa for eight years. Understanding how students learn and how neurodiversity plays a role in quality teaching and learning always fascinated me. This led me to starting an online platform that aims to assist teachers and parents by promoting science-based teaching and learning resources. It also doubles as a small business through which I publish and sell teacher journals specifically designed for the modern South African teacher. Eventually, I felt that if I wanted to be a better teacher I needed to learn more about the science of learning, which brought me to Birkbeck.  

Coming to Birkbeck to learn from the best… and meet royalty! 

The Master’s in Educational Neuroscience at Birkbeck offers the best lecturers and research in the field. My lecturers are all lead authors of books published in this field! Birkbeck leads some of the biggest, most impactful research projects that allow the world to benefit from said research, and being part of this community is great. The evening classes allow freedom to pursue internships and work opportunities during the day and gave me the opportunity to meet people that are already in the world of work, which ensured an engaging classroom environment with a wealth of experience to learn from. And as an added bonus, I got to meet Her Royal Highness Princess Anne at the University of London Honorary degrees ceremony! I was selected as one of the students to meet her personally, and we talked about how to make a difference to education systems worldwide.  

The benefits and highlights of applying through Chevening 

The Chevening application process was not for the faint hearted, but it taught me to be patient and always strive to improve myself. Once I was accepted as a Chevening scholar and arrived in London to study, I attended a variety of events hosting Chevening scholars from different courses and universities. This meant I was able to start the academic year with a community behind me that is diverse and rich in culture, experience and ideologies. The Chevening community inspires me every day and being part of a group of leaders who collectively believe that we can make the world a better place is really special. When I leave the UK, I will have friends from all around the globe and that is something truly special. 

Applying my learning in the future 

After I finish studying, my aim is to get involved in community and research projects in South Africa. I want to share the knowledge that I have gained and use connections I’ve made through my time studying at Birkbeck, to bring forth positive change in South Africa. I feel that we have not only an opportunity but a duty to make a positive impact in the world, and this whole experience as a Chevening scholar at Birkbeck will help with that. To anyone thinking of studying at Birkbeck, I’d say: just do it! You will never regret it. How many people can say that they studied at a university that is 200 years old? 

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