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Never give up on your dreams

Aygun Badalova grew up in Azerbaijan with one dream – to study hard and leave her hometown for a better future. She began by teaching English in Baku but now works in neuroscience in London. And Birkbeck helped her get here.

Aygun Badalova

I always believed I didn’t belong in my hometown

My desire to study abroad in England started when I was studying at school in Azerbaijan in a tiny town called Lerik. At that time and even now, many girls only went to school until aged 15 or 16, because of financial issues, and social and cultural problems. I too came from a low-income family, and I only had one goal: to study hard and leave my hometown for a better future.

I taught myself fluent English

My passion for England and the language led me to teach myself English growing up. After finishing high school, I moved to Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital city, for university. My love for the English language presented me with many fantastic opportunities during and after university. I worked as a translator for many events and international companies, taught English to professionals, and even wrote an English book for self-learners.

Years passed, but my desire to study in England was still the same

I finally took the plunge in 2019 and moved to the UK. I chose to study MSc Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology as I wanted to change careers and work in treating mental disorders.

I put what I was learning into practice

Learning about how the brain functions and how it changes in different mental disorders was really breathtaking. Alongside my studies I worked in healthcare settings and saw patients who suffered brain disorders.

Birkbeck has made me who I am today

I met a lot of experts and made many amazing friends who were so supportive. Our professors’ approach to us was impressive – they explained everything and were always willing to answer questions. I have been influenced by such great people and have become a better listener, as well as kinder and less judging.

My aim for the future is to be a well-known neuroscientist and neuropsychologist

I want to contribute to the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and anxiety disorders. I am living in London, conducting research, and working in healthcare settings. I am also a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Counseller, working with people with different mental problems. I love what I do. I’d encourage others to never give up on their dreams!

Think you’re too busy to change your life? Think again.