“I was so happy when I found out I had been awarded the scholarship”

Lauren Hutfield (BSc 2021) is studying for an MSc in Development and Security and is in receipt of a Black Bristol Scholarship. Here, she explains how the scholarship has impacted her and her plans for the future. 

At the end of my undergraduate degree here in Bristol, I didn’t feel like my friends who said: “I’m done with uni!”. I wanted to go on and do more – I still felt like I had that in me. But you can’t get the same kind of loan for tuition fees for your master’s as you can for undergraduate studies, so finding funding was crucial. I was the first of my siblings to go to university and my family have been really supportive in encouraging me in what I want to do, but without the scholarship it would have been really hard.

I was so happy when I found out I had been awarded the scholarship. I knew that it would be competitive to get, so I was really surprised, and relieved as well, because it took the pressure off. I didn’t have any worries about trying to find part-time work and I could just focus on the master’s, which is a lot more challenging than my undergraduate course. My results this year have definitely reflected this, because I’ve been able to put in the time I needed to do the work.

It has been great to experience more of Bristol too, and the funding has helped me to do that. I came home to Swansea for the end of second year and all of third year because of COVID, so I felt that I hadn’t really explored the city. It has been nice to build a relationship with my cohort too, and see them face to face!

My department was a big factor in me wanting to stay in Bristol to do my master’s. I love the lecturers, they’re all so supportive and leading in their field. I’m writing my dissertation at the moment, evaluating Sierra Leone’s progress towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. My mum is from Nigeria, so I’ve always had an interest in West Africa and I’m fascinated by African politics. Eventually I’d like to go into diplomacy, perhaps in the Foreign Office or as an advisor for an international organisation.

I’ve just found out that I have a place on the Civil Service Fast Stream so I’ll be working in government for the next four years. It’s been such a long and competitive process, which started back in September, so I’m really excited to have got through. I think my master’s has played a big part in helping me take this next step. I’m so grateful for this scholarship. It has been such a big help in so many ways. It’s an amazing initiative and I hope that it continues to support many more students like me for many years to come.

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