Name: Sami Arik
Course: MSc Total Quality, enrolled September 2014
Where are you from? Bolu, Turkey
What was your background before you enrolled at USW?
I graduated from the Mechanical Engineering Department of Middle East Technical University, Turkey in 2008. Then I started to work for the Turkish Accreditation Agency (TURKAK) as an accreditation manager in 2009. Within this time I studied MSc Metal Education in Gazi University, Turkey graduating in 2014.
How did you hear about USW?
I was a looking for a master programme which is in line with my job and can be approved by the Jean Monnet Scholarship Programme. I contacted the British Council office in Ankara and they really helped me, giving me the necessary knowledge about the university and application process.
Why did you choose to study at USW?
During my application process there were three universities in the UK that offered the masters programme that I wanted to study. I chose to study at USW since it is one of the biggest universities in UK and has a wide a range of facilities and provides many opportunities. Also, the city of Cardiff played a very crucial role in my decision to choose USW. Cardiff is quite a compact, calm and cosmopolitan city. I believed that I would not be a foreigner here and this had a positive impact on my decision. After graduation I believe that my studies here would add to my academic knowledge regarding my job and this will really contribute to the work of TURKAK.
What inspired you to apply for the Jean Monnet Scholarship?
Turkey is on the way to harmonizing European Legislation as a requirement of EU accession process. Within the framework of EU accession process of Turkey, TURKAK is frequently asked to give recommendations on the drafted legislation which is going to be harmonized. Hence, it is very important for me to keep up with EU legislation since accreditation is a part of EU legislation and an important tool to remove technical barriers for the free movement of goods within European Union and the World Trade. Also, I was very interested in Turkey’s EU accession. Jean Monnet Scholarship which is very prestigious, was offering a great opportunity for me to enhance my academic knowledge studying MSc Total Quality. The Jean Monnet scholarship is helping me to enhance my academic and professional knowledge and is helping me and TURKAK assist Turkey’s harmonization process of EU legislation. Moreover, and possibly more importantly, one of my ambitions was to study abroad, meet people from all over the world and from different cultures. All these things inspired me to apply to Jean Monnet Scholarship to succeed my ambitions.
The scholarship covers my tuition fees and fixed costs arising from my accommodation and also a monthly allowance for my living expenses which is enough for a student abroad.
What was the process to apply for the scholarship?
The Jean Monnet Scholarship application process takes a long time and is quite exhausting. The Scholarship Programme accepts applications from public and private sectors and universities. During the time of my application, the number of scholarships was 170 and 60% of it belongs to public sector, 30% of it is allocated for private sector and 10% of it to universities.
To summarize the process when I applied;
Jean Monnet Programme which is an EU funded project was only accepting masters or research studies which must be related with EU accession chapters. Applicants needed to have scored at least 2.5 out of 4.0 in their undergraduate degree or have 3 years experience about the chapter they would like to apply to. Applicants also need to provide a proficiency certificate in the language of the EU country they would like to study in which must be recognized by the Scholarship Programme. After I was deemed eligible for the application, I entered the written examination. The written examination was generally about the EU history, legislation and Turkey’s progress regarding the EU accession chapter that I was applying to. After passing the written examination, I got the right to enter interviews. During interviews, I was asked about myself, my ambitions, my possible masters or research study subjects and my knowledge regarding the EU accession chapter that I was applying to. I then needed to get the approval from the Scholarship Committee to ensure that my masters was related to my EU accession chapter. After I was given approval, I was finally given the right to study.
Since the scholarship is an EU funded project it requires some paperwork after you start your studies. I need to report three times to the Scholarship Committee during my academic studies.
How are you settling into life at USW?
Actually, in the beginning everything was so unknown to me, it took a while to get used to life at USW. But, USW has a wide range of students coming from almost all countries. This helped me to get to know different cultures and pave the way for adapting to life at USW.
Do you have any advice to any other students who are thinking about applying for a Jean Monnet scholarship?
For any future Jean Monnet scholarship candidates, I would give a few suggestions. Studying abroad at a very well known university is an ambition for many people in Turkey. I think the most important thing is to decide on what programme to study within the framework of EU legislation. Most of the scholars have chosen to study in UK since English is the most preferred language among the scholars and the UK provides a wide range of study programmes. The path to the scholarship is actually quite a long process; candidates have to be very patient to the end of the process. After a very exhausting effort they will see that they can succeed to get the scholarship and study in very well known universities.
If you would like to contact Sami to ask him about his experience studying at the University of South Wales, please contact Jo Scaplehorn, International Officer.
For further information about Jean Monnet scholarships and how to apply, please click here.