Marita Van Rooyen, Chevening scholar from Namibia shares her experience studying at USW

May 15, 2015

Marita Van Rooyen from Namibia received the prestigious Chevening Scholarship to study MA Documentary Photography at the University of South Wales. Marita graduated in 2014 and is keen to tell us why she chose USW...

What course did you study?
MA Documentary Photography, graduated 2014

Why did you choose this course?
I chose this course because I’ve always wanted to further my studies, and expand my knowledge on the subject of documentary photography. As the University of South Wales is ranked very highly in this regard, it was my first choice.

What did you think of the course/teachers/facilities/campus/location
The photography facilities are known to be of the best in the country and it allows amazing opportunities to explore all aspects of the art. The teachers also hail from a variety of photo related backgrounds, making them all the more valuable as knowledge conveyors.

What has been your biggest achievement?
In 2010 I was awarded the MISA Namibia Journalist of the Year, when I was only a junior in the field. This achievement made me realise that I have the ability to further pursue my dreams and made me believe in myself more, an attribute that got me where I am today. Having received one of only two Chevening bursaries for Namibian students is another achievement I’m really proud of.

What did you enjoy the most?
I had lots of fun during my first ever time in the darkroom, developing and printing black and white film. This experience opened up a world of new possibilities to me and made me realise that I actually have some hidden talents.

What’s was the most useful thing you learned?
That you need to have absolute passion for what you do, know what message you’re trying to convey through your work, believe in yourself, and spend time and money to promote your work to the industry.

What was the best bit of advice you were given while you have been here?
That it might actually be a good thing to be madly obsessive about your work.

How did you surprise yourself?
I found out that I have a few not-so-bad darkroom skills.

Who inspired or helped you the most?
I was inspired by my tutors and by the majority of guest lecturers, just because they are really knowledgeable on a wide variety of subject matters, showing that the field of photography covers immense territory.

What was the social highlight?
Every Thursday’s meeting, every workshop, every get-together with co students have been social highlights. We’re a diverse bunch of people, from a variety of backgrounds, and it’s really inspiring and eye-opening to sit together and discuss photography, travelling, and exploring the UK, and sharing cultural views and opinions.

What do you miss the most about University?
The academics. I just love being able to learn new things and having access to such an amazing library makes me excited to learn more.

What do you plan to do next? How has your course prepared or trained you for it?
I plan to take the skills and knowledge I’ve gained back to Namibia and work to give smaller communities a visual voice.

Would you recommend the course and the university to other students?
Definitely, there’s not a fraction of doubt about that! The course itself is fantastic.

Please visit Marita’s website to see some of her work.

To find out more about how you can apply for a chevening scholarship please click here