60 seconds with Jen and Jim

Chevening: Hi Jen and Jim – tell us a bit about what the welfare and immigration team does…

Jim and Jen: Before scholars arrive in the UK we provide guidance on visa applications and any other welfare queries they might have. When scholars arrive and are settling in to life in the UK we can offer advice on how to access health services, making sure they understand their visa conditions, signposting for support with issues such as housing or academic concerns, bereavement and much more. We’re available to help scholars by advising them or finding solutions to their issues when they contact us via our e-mail welfare@chevening.org, or via their programme officer.

What will keep you busy over the next few months?

As the days are getting colder and darker, this is the time that some of the scholars really start to feel a long way from home, so we make sure we signpost them to activities and support, encourage them to keep in touch with family and friends, and consider signing up for Chevening events.

What is your favourite part of the job?

Jen: Finding solutions for scholars is really rewarding, and sometimes just a phone call or a friendly face can make all the difference if a scholar is feeling particularly overwhelmed.

Jim: Working with great people. The scholars and the staff at the secretariat. It’s always great to meet the scholars at some of our events. They’re often very gregarious and enthusiastic and when you talk with them about their courses and aspirations it’s often clear straightaway why they’ve been selected for Chevening.

Chevening Scholars come from over 160 countries and territories. Given how many languages our scholars speak, can you tell us what’s your favourite word in a different language and why?

Jen: My favourite word is ‘yani’. Most conversations in Arabic have this word in every other sentence’ it’s a bit of a filler and can mean, ‘ummm’, ‘like’ or ‘it means’

Jim: I like the welsh word ‘Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch’.  People think it’s a really long word but it’s much shorter and easier to remember than ‘Saint Mary’s Church in the hollow of the white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of St Tysilio of the red cave’.  Which is what it means.