Degree: PhD in Intercultural Studies
Graduation year: 2011
Job: Chief Executive Officer
Employer: Develop Global Ltd (UK)
Becoming a Dr signifies the new beginning for the future. Before graduation in 2011, I set up my own company, Develop Global Ltd, which provides intercultural training and consultancy. My company is based in Durham and I am very much excited and confident about it because this allows me to make full use of my professional and personal strengths!
Looking back, one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life is to pursue a PhD degree at the School of Education, Durham University. I have learned and grown so much both as a researcher and as an international citizen.
I have received an enormous amount of support from my department both academically and financially. All administrative and academic staff in my department are so friendly and always ready to help. Throughout my PhD years, the experience of working on my research project with my supervisors, two excellent academics in intercultural studies and higher education, has been truly inspiring. With their support and encouragement, I had presented in both national and international conferences and acted as research assistant in two international research projects focused on international students studying in the UK
In addition to advance myself as a researcher, while ensuring the good quality of my research, I devoted myself to extra-curricular activities for my personal development. I need to point out that without the support from Ustinov College and my supervisors, many of my ideas and initiatives would not have come true. In my first year of PhD study, I founded Ustinov Intercultural Forum (UIF) which aims to promote cultural awareness, integration and personal development among all in Durham University and beyond. I acted as founding president for three years during which I initiated and led many projects such as Cultural Day (annual event at Ustinov College since 2006), Durham Intercultural Dialogue (coordinated with Durham County Council, 2008), Creative Cultural Diversity (three-month event in June 2009) and the Working Abroad Career Fair (coordinated with the Careers Employability and Enterprise Centre, Durham University). From 2006 to 2009, in addition to UIF, I acted as Postgraduate Research Students Representative (School of Education), Students’ Representative of the Chinese Association of North East England, International Students’ Representative (Ustinov College), Clubs & Societies Representative/Career Centre Liaison (Ustinov College) and Social Secretary of Ustinov Rugby Club.
In 2008, I applied successfully for the intern post to work in the section of Intercultural Dialogue, Culture Sector at UNESCO headquarters in Paris for three months. That was such an inspiring and valuable experience for me because I have experienced and learned so much from the unique on-going intercultural dialogue with people who are from different cultural backgrounds and work with me on the same platform where I could apply both of my professional strengths and other essential competencies.
Throughout my PhD years in Durham, I have got much recognition from Durham University and beyond. In 2008, I recieved the Outstanding Student Contribution award from the Faculty of Social Sciences and Health. In 2009, Ustinov College awarded me Outstanding Contribution to Intercultural Communication. In the same year, I was the North-East Regional Runner-up of Shine! The International Student Awards. Also in 2009, Ustinov Intercultural Forum (UIF) was recognised as Best International Students Society.
Among all, the biggest recognition that I have achieved is the PhD degree from Durham University. This degree is not only the recognition of academic achievement, but also, the recognition of my personal growth, a transformation from a Chinese student to an international citizen.
Durham University provides me with an education. It’s an education for life.