Studying for a PhD at the School of Education, Durham

Wanying Li

I was awarded a distinction MA Education degree. I am now receiving the Durham Doctoral Studentship for my PhD study.  I am also a member of the Durham Dancesports Team. The team is for ballroom dancing, and we compete with other university teams across the country (UK). 

I picked up my current research interest from my MA program in Durham, which focused on the interplay between students’ learning of global discourse in textbooks and their later reflections on such knowledge during actual intercultural experiences.   

My UG program was called “BA in foreign language (English)”. The course design included literature, linguistics, translation, and interpretation.  I came to Durham for the MA course is that my undergrade program was designed to be general introductions to the subjects I mentioned above.  

The problem with this is, by the time I finished my undergrad study, I felt a lack in subject specific knowledge in any area and it was thus difficult to me to decide what career pathway I shall aim for. I could tell that I was interested in education, culture, and communication. All these factors together led to my choice of joining the MA program at Durham. 

From my experience of module learning, I love the variety of socio-educational and intercultural perspectives and concepts that was being introduced. As a new starter in the field of education, this diversity of theories was truly helpful and eye-opening. What’s even better, they tickled my curiosity on intercultural communication and education from a students’ perspective, which led to where I am now. 

With regards to my future career prospects, I would say the most helpful bit is that since my MA study, I gradually started picturing myself doing academic research and teaching. In previous years, I didn’t see myself as capable of doing such things. Through learning, practicing and reflecting what I have encountered in the course, I really got to see more of my own potential. In short, I would put it as “a change of mindset which is transferrable and beneficial to any possible future career”. 

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Wanying Li

I am Wanying Li, also known as Rita. I am a second-year PhD student at the School of Education, Durham University. 

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