Being a Chevening Scholar is everything I imagined and more

Hesam Abbasi from Iran started his Chevening journey in September 2023 to study Film, Animation and Digital Arts at the University of Surrey. He shares his experience so far of settling into life in the UK.

My Chevening journey started when I decided that it was time for the next big step in my life. I had been working in the advertisement industry as a creative director for the past 7 years and I felt that it was time to pursue a masters degree abroad. Honestly, when I first learnt about the Chevening Scholarship through a friend, I didn’t think I would be selected.

But since I had the experience, a plan for the future and most importantly the ambition to become part of the Chevening network, I took a step out of my comfort zone and applied anyway. Ever since I pressed the ‘Submit application’ button, my life has not been the same since.

Becoming a Chevening Scholar, being able to study a masters in film in a UK university, was everything I could ever wish for and a dream come true.

And for all of those who’re wondering, yes! It is everything I ever imagined AND MORE! 

The main reason I chose to apply to Surrey University because of my course. ‘Film, Animation and Digital Arts’ is a one-of-a-kind multidisciplinary course which is teaching me about animation, storytelling, filmmaking and production. This course will provide me with the toolkit I require to become a well-rounded director and achieve my future career goals.

The most comforting thing for me is that my course mates are wonderful people from a range of artistic backgrounds, meaning that we can learn a lot from each other.

Another reason for selecting this course was the beautiful city of Guildford where the university is located. I love the scenery around the town and the calm, peaceful environment. The local people are lovely, which I’m grateful for. Lastly, Surrey University is just a short train ride away from central London, which is heaven on earth for a film and media enthusiast, providing access to BFI London, amazing museums and art galleries, major film studios, and countless networking opportunities.

I arrived to the UK in September 2023, a week before my course start date. At first, I felt a bit overwhelmed by all the tiny details of everyday living that I had to learn. For instance, my first shopping session at Tesco took 5 hours!

Everything was new to me but I was having fun while getting the hang of it. It’s been, by far, the most exciting journey of my life and everyday I’m learning new things not only at my classes, but just by living here.

I’ll never forget the first time I came out of the tube station on one sunny day in London, I was stunned by the beautiful architecture of the city and the Victorian gothic buildings on every corner.

I found it surprising that people were so kind, calm and polite to strangers. You can always have a lovely chat with someone you’ve never met before, and will probably never meet again.

Throughout my year here I’m planning on travelling to different cities of the UK to see its beautiful nature, architecture and historic places.

I believe that each day of this one-year journey is the most precious day of my life and I have to make the most out of it.

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