Each month, we will be asking one of our brilliant social media ambassadors to write a blog, summing up their experiences in the UK. First up is Guatemalan scholar, Ximena Matus.

‘This month I had the opportunity to share with the world the experience of what a Chevening Scholar does while studying in the UK, and as I go through these memories, I cannot think of anything than being grateful for this amazing opportunity, and what I’ve gained in experiences, knowledge, professional development and friendship. It has been an amazing month and I want to share it with you.   

Being involved in a high-class educational environment and engage and interact with tutors, lecturers and guest speakers, like Pat Younge, Former Chief Creative Officer from the BBC, has been reaffirming that studying in the UK is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Even the opportunity to collaborate with important organizations in the UK like the Open Data Institute in London and the Food Standards Agency, while studying Service Design Innovation is an amazing experience, to start working with real projects and apply the knowledge we’ve given.



Service Design Meetup night! 🙂 #ServiceDesign #CheveningSMA #MyCheveningJourney

A photo posted by @xime_matusb on Nov 18, 2015 at 11:23am PST


Each university offers different activities and programs that a student can participate, and my university, Ravensbourne, offers programs such as mentoring other students and creative leadership workshops, where I’m able to develop my leadership skills with other students from the school.

Besides our studies and networking activities, having the opportunity to enjoy a vibrant city like London has given me the chance to attend events where I can surround myself with creativity, knowledge and new friends, from lectures, to exhibitions, social gatherings and even the touristic places throughout the city.

As a service design innovation student, I want to use this opportunity of being in the UK to meet people from my field. I’m amazed how in London you’re just an ‘app’ away from whatever you want to do; apps like Meetup and Yplan allowed me to discover people from my same interests and meet them to network and learn from them. I had attended events like the London Design Festival, where I was able to meet other designers and network with them, enjoyed the museums like the Victoria & Albert museum, and discovered gastronomical areas like Brick Lane Market in Shoreditch. I`m also being involved in the organization of the Service Design Jam, a global event where service designers around the world gather for a weekend and create new services.



I’ve also enjoyed the city as a training landscape for my daily runnings, and discovered places like Greenwich Park, where you can have an amazing view of Canary Wharf and its surroundings. I will continue discovering more amazing places, as I’m training to run London’s half marathon in March at Wembley Stadium.

In November I had the opportunity to be part of the Women of the Future Summit, where other women Chevening Scholars had the opportunity to network, collaborate with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and women from all over the world to create propositions for promoting women empowerment in our communities.



I also had the opportunity to attend one of the events that Chevening organizes for the current scholars, and we visited Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. We were able to explore the place where Winston Churchill was born, and how this Palace was an important part of the UK’s history during the war. My favorite part of the day was to experience the English Cream Tea in the Palace. The UK has many incredible landscapes and places to visit, even historical locations considered historical elements of the World’s heritage like Stonehenge, where I had the chance to go as well.


Stonehenge!!! Amazing english heritage site #MyCheveningJourney #CheveningSMA

A photo posted by @xime_matusb on Nov 29, 2015 at 5:09am PST


Everytime I get an opportunity to share with the world that I’m a Chevening Scholar, I wish I could have more than a couple of minutes or paragraphs to explain the amazing opportunity we, more than 1,800 scholars in the UK in 2015, are receiving. This year will be one of the most important of our lives, as we will be growing in different areas, not only educational, but professional and personal, and we will improve our leadership and go back to our countries and be part of the change we want to have in the world, within our positions.’ 

Like what Ximena had to say? Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Want to learn more about our SMAs? Take a look at their profiles.