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Southampton Education SchoolOur alumni

Sotiria Kanavidou MSc Practice and Innovation, 2019

PhD in Education

Sotiria Kanavidou's Photo

My Master's studies as well as inspiring lectures during my undergraduate and master studies inspired me to expand my studies at a PhD level.

Q: Why did you choose to come and study at Southampton?

In 2017 I graduated from the Department of Early Childhood Education in Thessaloniki. During my undergraduate studies in Greece, I had the opportunity to work as a preschool teacher. Undoubtedly working as a teacher was a fruitful experience; however, from the very first years of my studies I developed an interest in research methodology. I decided to move abroad in order to broaden my horizons and enrich the spectrum of my knowledge within a different educational system. For my master’s studies, I chose the Department of Education at the University of Southampton as one of the UK's leading institutes for educational research. As a founding member of the Russell Group and one of the top 100 universities in the world, I was confident from the first time that I chose the appropriate university for my studies. Having finished my master’s studies and just begun my journey as a Doctoral Researcher, I could say that the University of Southampton fulfills my expectations.

Q: What is it like studying here? 

The city of Southampton combines both safety and social life. The town is full of beautiful landscapes of greenery and parks.

Q: How do you rate the study facilities at the University?

The University of Southampton provides a wide range of research facilities crucial for my future career. During my Master’s studies, I was enjoying studying in the library that was providing both quiet and social corners and so you could concentrate or you could share and discuss with your colleagues. As a doctoral researcher now, the University provides me with a work-station in a friendly environment with other researchers.

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

Studying abroad forced me to work, learn and interact out of my comfort zone. A few years before, I could not imagine that I will do a PhD in one of the UK’s top universities. At first, the different language and context and the performative demands seemed to be unbearable. Now, if I was giving one advice in a future student, would be ‘there is a process for everything’. You need to work hard, sacrifice time and effort from your daily life and as in my case this might mean being far from your family and friends. However, it is an experience that changes your attitude of life and your confidence about what you can succeed.

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

Studying at Southampton is challenging and invaluable at the same time! The fact that I had to learn in a language different from my mother tongue was a major challenge for me. The performative demands forced me to work harder in order to understand in-depth the content. Having completed my master’s degree, I have gained high-quality skills on independent working, critical thinking, communication and efficient learning.

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

The friends I made in Southampton helped me to understand that there is more than one perspective for everything and there is not a right or wrong perspective just several different ones. During daily insightful discussions, I had the opportunity to approach some key educational, social, etc issues, examining the perspectives of people that leave all around the world and they have different experiences.

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

My Master’s studies as well as inspiring lectures during my undergraduate and master studies inspired me to expand my studies at a PhD level.

Q: What has been the hardest aspect of studying in another country? 

The fact that I had to learn in a language different from my mother language was the major challenge for me. As an educator, I believe that we improve our skills through practice. The courses I attended during my studies were motivating as to structure, express and scaffold our ideas in class and smaller groups throughout seminars without worrying about being wrong.

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

During some courses, some of our lecturers organized coffee-brakes and gatherings that helped me to make friends and socialize.





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