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The University of Southampton
Southampton Education School

Meng Zhan PhD Education

Meng Zhan's Photo

Hi, I'm Meng Zhan and I am studying PhD Education after graduating from MSc Education.

Meeting amazing professors whilst completing my MSc Education made me believe that the University of Southampton was the perfect place to continue my study with a PhD.

Why did you choose to study at Southampton? What attracted you to the University of Southampton?

I chose to study my MSc Education degree at Southampton because it has a very good reputation globally. Meeting amazing professors whilst completing my MSc Education made me believe that the University of Southampton was the perfect place to continue my study with a PhD.

What is it like studying here?

The University is located in a nice coastal city, surrounded by lots of parks. It is absolutely safe to study and live in Southampton, both around campus and in the town centre.

Academic staff here at Southampton Education School are all very kind and encouraging. The University also provides a very wide range of courses and resources that I could take to enhance my knowledge in needed areas. They have everything you need for your research.

How do you rate the study facilities at the University?

The last thing that I need to consider is academic resource. The University has a fantastic library which allowed me to have access to all the books and journal articles that I needed in my educational research. If the book or article is not available in the university library or online, there is also an inter-library loan system which could help you get the material you need.

What are you most proud of from your time at Southampton so far?

My PhD research has been presented to researchers from all over the world in world-leading educational conferences. Including the British Educational Research Association and the American Educational Research Association.

What do you think you have gained from your studies that you wouldn’t have developed without them?

I have the opportunity to learn from the best minds in the world. This is a University where you can have access to cutting edge research projects, and a place where you could learn the most advanced research skills. The professional network I built at Southampton and the skills I learnt are all valuable assets for my professional career in the future.

How have the people you have met at Southampton changed your life?

I met my wife, Manli, here at Southampton when we were both doing our Masters back in 2013. That is the most romantic thing that could ever happen to me, and we got married in 2018.

Have you undertaken any extracurricular activities? How have they enhanced your experience?

I worked as a pre-sessional advisor, student tutor for the FSS Faculty International Office, student ambassador for the University open day and graduation day, and even worked as a teaching assistant for Dr Chris Downey in a session for MSc Education students. These experiences changed me and made me into a more confident person and shaped my perspective of seeing this world, as a global citizen.

What will you do with your degree/research after you have finished your studies?

My wife and I both got a permanent lecturer post in the same university in China. This is what we have been dreaming about, working as researchers and trying our best to make this world a better place.

What has been the hardest aspect of studying in another country? How have you overcome the challenges?

Trying to blend in a society with a different social and cultural background.

Reaching out with more people, making more friends and trying to do more volunteering and part-time jobs have helped me a lot in overcoming the challenge.

How has the University helped you to adjust to living and studying in a different country?

The personal tutor assigned by the school, the professional FOS team members, and the activities organised by doctoral college and SUSU all helped me met more people from different areas and built my network. The University is a safe place for newcomers to learn and adjust to living and studying without being too concerned about making mistakes.

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