Maisie Chadwick - The Difference Undergraduate Scholar Maisie Chadwick - The Difference Undergraduate Scholar

It wasn’t until about three years ago when I became adamant on attending university. Due to part of my family living in Norwich, I have frequently visited the city since I was a young child. When it came to applying to university, deciding where to apply was not a difficult task. I love everything about the city- the culture, the scenery, and not to mention, UEA is one of the best universities in the UK. So when my offer was upgraded to unconditional, I was absolutely over the moon. However, despite my university place already being set, I did not let this demotivate me from achieving good results. Instead, I went on to achieve A*AAB, and as a reward, spent part of my summer travelling around Europe, which was fantastic.

At the moment, I am undecided as to which career path I eventually wish to pursue. However, with an avid interest in different cultures and current affairs, I am hoping that my Geography and International Development degree will potentially lead me into a career involving travel, within an array of different people and environments. I would love to provide support and aid to poorer people in less developed countries.

After losing my mother three years ago, I know exactly how it feels to have your world fall apart. Due to being estranged from my father, I had to integrate into a whole new family. It was an incredibly daunting experience, but I feel that the past three years have made me a much stronger person. Because of this, I would love to help other people who may be suffering. Luckily, during my time at the University of East Anglia, I have the option to spend part of my degree abroad, particularly helping people in Africa, which sounds like an incredible experience.

In my spare time I enjoy dancing, which I am hoping to continue by joining the society at UEA. Similarly, I also enjoy baking, which I am hoping will impress my new flat mates and help me make friends!

I am very grateful for this opportunity and cannot wait to start my new adventure at UEA.

Maisie Chadwick

First Year, Geography and International Development

Yasmin Gorman - The Difference Undergraduate Scholar Yasmin Gorman - The Difference Undergraduate Scholar

My name is Yasmin Gorman, 19, from Southampton. I study Translation, Media, and Spanish (with Greek and Italian). Before my emotional arrival to UEA I studied at Barton Peveril College for 3 years prior. 

When I first arrived at college, I took an adult evening course in GCSE Spanish, I had never done Spanish before but knowing Greek made it easier to learn and I achieved a B within 6 months. However, I failed 2/3 AS subjects due to problems at home which unfortunately caused my failure. Nevertheless, the failure has put me in a more secure direction. The teachers did not give up on me and put me on a business diploma and allowed me to start AS Spanish, as well as carrying on with English language, and in my final year I did a Japanese course. In the last two years I’ve worked so hard, as a result of this I managed to get my C in Spanish, D*D* in my diploma in business, as well as passing Japanese and English language!

After many years of hard work I can't believe I'm in university, I am the first member of my family to do so. I am hoping to go in the direction of interpreting or translation as my secure career, the idea has been burning in my mind since I was 12, as I have a variety of languages under my belt.

It would take too long to write why I chose UEA but generally the course here is just fantastic, everyone is friendly and humble. Thinking deeper, it was time I had my own independence and to stop being relied on for everything back home and to just focus on myself. 

What I am looking forward to most about being here is to finally have my freedom, as well as being able to immerse myself Spanish and the wonderful societies such as swimming. But most importantly, making many new friends that will remain with me for life. 

Yasmin Gorman
First Year, Translation, Media and Modern Language


Jasmin Plant - The Difference Undergraduate Scholar Jasmin Plant - The Difference Undergraduate Scholar

My name is Jasmin Plant, I am 20 years old and I live in Norwich. I studied for my GCSE’S at Sewell Park College and studied for my A-levels at The Hewett and City College. I have had 3 jobs which include a service assistant at McDonalds, a service assistant at Norwich airport café and a pub cleaner. 

I am currently studying undergraduate psychology at UEA. Psychology has always been one of my greatest interests and I have known for a very long time that I want a career in it. My greatest interest in psychology is clinical and forensic, I aspire to have a career in one of those fields. There are many reasons why I chose UEA, but the main two reason for me were; one financial and two family. I have a very strong relationship with my family and I love living in Norwich so going to UEA was a natural choice for me and the fact that UEA is such an accredited university and high in the league tables made it an easy decision. 

In my spare time I love to cook. I’m a food enthusiast and hope to start a food blog soon, considering I spend lots of time reading others; food blogs, cook books and watching cooking programs. At A-level I studied psychology, sociology and law. To my surprise I got an A* in all 3. I worked extremely hard to gain those grades but still I am overwhelmed on how I achieved. I am very much a perfectionist and strive to be the best I can be. 

Jasmin Plant
First Year, Psychology


James Ryan - The Difference Undergraduate Scholar James Ryan - The Difference Undergraduate Scholar

Tomorrow is the start of a new journey; it is my first day as a University student. I, like so many others, am filled with mixed emotions excitement, anxiety and a feeling of self-doubt that has almost certainly come from the constant viewing of our course timetable and an insight to the volume of information that the students need to digest in order to become a qualified Paramedic. This, however, is a welcome challenge, and one I intend meet head on.

University offers so much more than the course people enrol on, and I intend to take full advantage of all aspects of University life. Having spent the last ten years in the military, where physical fitness is part of the everyday programme, I have developed an interest for a variety of different sports. I plan to take as much of my spare time as possible sampling the different teams and courses on offer. Perhaps my body would welcome a yoga class or two after the years of constant physical exertion.

I am extremely excited to meet our course team, but even more so my fellow students. I hope that we can develop the team spirit and comradeship that is so vital within the public service, but also have some fun during the less serious times. With our course being relatively small in comparison to other University courses this should not be a problem.

I live locally, in Norwich, and having spent my entire military career away from home I only considered attending University if I was successful in being offered a place at the UEA. It was an all of my eggs in one basket type of situation, but it paid off.

I would like to take this time to say thank you for choosing me to be the recipient of your generous grant. It will undoubtedly be huge help over the next three years, and I cannot wait to give my thanks in person.

James Ryan

First Year, Paramedic Science

Harriet Avery - The Difference Postgraduate Scholar Harriet Avery - The Difference Postgraduate Scholar

Hello, I am Harriet Avery. I come from a small Suffolk coastal town, and I am a postgraduate student at UEA, studying for a Masters’ degree on UEA’s prestigious Creative Writing Prose course. As I write, I have yet to start the course, but I am days away from my first introductory lectures, and I am very excited to begin! 

I am already in love with Norwich and the University, having studied there for a Bachelors’ degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. I was extremely proud to be awarded a Starred First by the Examining Board as my final degree classification – my graduation day was one of the best of my life! The writing I produced through my undergraduate course is work of which I am very proud, and I know that, during my time there, I improved and fine-tuned my craft not only through the tuition of the brilliant writers associated with UEA, but also through being in the absorbing, quirky, and profoundly literary environment of the University, and the wider city. To try and return for the Master’s was a no-brainer really!

I am looking forward to getting stuck into the workshopping process of the Prose course, which always pushes me and stretches me to think beyond my ability. In the second term, I have opted for a module on writing historical fiction, which is something I have never done before – I am interested in the challenge of a brand new genre, and I think UEA is a perfect environment to take risks and see what happens! I am looking forward to finding places in which I can perform my work as well – I remember the UEA Live reading events from my undergraduate days, and I would love to try my hand at a few of their events as well.

As you may have guessed, I am undeniably obsessed with writing in all its many forms; I exist predominantly on an (unhealthy!) combination of pen-ink and Shakespeare and words. Fortunately, UEA is still there, waiting and ready for me to learn and write and thrive.

Harriet Avery
MA Creative Writing


John Cade - The Difference Postgraduate Scholar John Cade - The Difference Postgraduate Scholar

My name is John Cade, I am 33 years old, and I have been a paramedic for 7 years. Based at Cambridge, I completed my training in 2009 and was fortunate to meet my now wife Helen the same year. We have a 3 year old son called Joseph and we are expecting our second bundle of joy in early March next year. Recently I got offered a new position with a local GP’s practice and start this new venture as a paramedic practitioner early next month. Prior to my interest in paramedicine, I had a curiosity for genetics. This led me to pursue a job in Molecular Genetics at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

From school I realised that I needed to explore the world before continuing my education. GAP Activities Australia paid for my travel and accommodation expenses for the best part of a year. In return I worked on conservation projects throughout Australia. This was one of the most important decisions I made, teaching me more about culture, nature and people at a young and impressionable age. I started my Human Biology degree in the September of 2002. I enjoyed many aspects of University life, meeting my closest friends. My degree was the catalyst for finding a people-focused career. It gave me the chance to study genetics and find a job in this field. My particular interests were in genetic predispositions for chronic diseases.

I’m still a keen sportsman, using 5-a-side football as a de-stressor after a hard day’s work. I also enjoy playing golf and table tennis but recently time has been very precious and my most important interest is time with my family and watching little Joe grow up.

I have always wanted to continue to improve patient outcomes at the point of care using evidence based practice. I believe that this MSc will give me the best preparation to fulfil my aspirations and the UEA is tried and tested, it is where a completed my paramedic studies and this course interests and excites me.

This is why I am looking forward to getting stuck in, I have no idea where I will find the time, but I will. I know that being a pre-hospital clinician is my vocation in life, helping people is what I am designed to do!

John Cade

MSc Advanced Practitioner: Paramedic

Alexhsandra Cravid - The Difference Postgraduate Scholar Alexhsandra Cravid - The Difference Postgraduate Scholar

I was born in Sao Tome and Principe, where I lived until I was 10 years old, when I moved to Portugal. In Portugal I attended secondary school, high school and University. I went through some struggle, as I came from a social-economic disadvantage family. Also, it was not easy to study and live in a different country, with different culture. But I believe that I managed to focus on education as way of creating social mobility, and gave my time and effort to perform in the best way I could.

When doing my degree I did an exchange programme, ERASMUS, in Spain for 9 months. It was a good experience. I then return to Portugal and finished my degree in 2009. After that, I started to look for work, but because of the economic crisis that Portugal was facing I had difficulty in finding a suitable position. Therefore, I manage to apply for an internship role within a local ONG, which was part of a one year programme to help students that just finished their undergraduate degree.

After this experience I decided to travel to England, precisely to Norwich, where I wanted to study and work. I worked mainly in factories in fast food restaurants, and also on ongoing and temporary assignments given by recruitment agencies, over 4 years. I finally managed to secure a place at UEA last year and following that I tried to prepare for this year of studies, whilst continuing to work.

I also would like to take the opportunity to thank the person who gave me the scholarship, as I believe this can be an opportunity to achieve a better professional role.

Alexhsandra Cravid

MA Education and Development

Rachael Grant - The Difference Postgraduate Scholar Rachael Grant - The Difference Postgraduate Scholar

My career started in Manchester, in 2007, when I commenced a diploma in adult nursing. I qualified in 2010 and obtained a post within emergency care first in Manchester, then moving to Colchester, Essex, after eight months. I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the wards, made so many great friends and learnt so much, but I always knew I wanted to explore the world and expand my knowledge of tropical health needs in developing countries. Therefore, I completed a diploma in tropical nursing, at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, in 2014, after finishing a part-time degree pathway in the care of acutely unwell patients, at Anglia Ruskin University.  I was amazed by the wide variety of mainly curable diseases and the high rate of mortality if left untreated. The injustice of where you are born and the impact that has on the opportunities available to you really affected me and strengthened my resolve to work with disadvantaged communities. This course led me to a small village in the heart of Malawi where I volunteered as a nurse for six months. The clinic had very few resources and depended solely on private donations and western volunteers to provide the much needed services to the remote village. I was expected to improvise in difficult situations, be adaptable and work outside of my comfort zone. The team morale and strong assessment protocols really helped me work through the toughest experiences of my professional and personal life. Again, I began to understand what I wanted and needed to achieve. After Malawi I went back to my role in Colchester knowing that it would not be a long term plan and constantly researching and preparing for my next adventure. I then heard about the University of East Anglia and the amazing reputation the School of International Development has. I looked into the courses and realised that the MA in International Development afforded me the opportunity to tailor a masters to my interests, academic level and future goals. I applied and, fortunately, was accepted. I don’t really know where I will find myself in a year, I hope it will involve working with communities to improve the health and wellbeing of women to reduce the gap in gender related inequalities. Who knows? 

Thank you for the opportunity of a life time.

Rachael Grant
MA International Development

Ellen McLaughlin - The Difference Postgraduate Scholar Ellen McLaughlin - The Difference Postgraduate Scholar

I am a Postgraduate MA Creative Writing: Scriptwriting student. Five years ago I moved from Rotherham in South Yorkshire to Manchester. There I studied for a BA in Drama & English Literature. Whilst I loved studying for my BA, the breadth of what I studied was so large I didn’t have the time to specialise in Scriptwriting. It is for this reason that I decided after two years of working in Higher Education, first at the University of Manchester Students’ Union as an elected student officer and then at the University of Salford as a progression assistant, that it was time for me to pursue my dream of becoming a published writer.

I had a passion for politics and exploring social issues instilled into me by my parents and this is reflected in my writing. It is my aspiration to use my writing as a way to challenge the political and social status quo; to raise awareness about certain issues that affects the lives of ordinary people. In the past I have organised theatre events aimed at raising awareness about issues such as the changes to our NHS over the past decade. These events always included new writing by students in order to give myself and my peers the opportunity to develop and showcase our writing. Currently I also work part time at the University of East Anglia Students’ Union supporting students who run the ‘Raising and Giving’ society to raise money and volunteer time to local charities in Norwich. I look forward to combining my love for theatre and fundraising over the next year in Norwich, a UNESCO City of Literature! I feel immensely privileged to be able to study here and fully immerse myself in the cultural life of the city. 

Ellen McLaughlin
MA Creative Writing: Scriptwriting


John Steciuk - The Difference Postgraduate Scholar John Steciuk - The Difference Postgraduate Scholar

I was born in Manchester in 1989, the youngest of two.  As a child, I don’t recall being asked what I wanted to be when I grew up.  If someone had asked at 7, 10 or 15, I would have been embarrassed to admit that I wanted to be a writer.  I always loved to read and to write stories, but the idea that someone like me could one day make a living doing those things seemed insurmountably distant to me.  I come from a normal working-class background, and neither of my parents attended university.

I learnt about the Creative Writing MA at UEA when I was 16 and it became a focal point for my ambitions; a realistic target at which I could aim.  I read English Literature and Creative Writing at UEA as an undergraduate, largely because I saw it as a stepping-stone toward the MA, and during that time my writing improved dramatically.  I was consistently awarded firsts for creative writing pieces, including my final dissertation.

Although it had been a long-held ambition to study on the Creative Writing MA at UEA, this year was the first time I had applied.  My mother died suddenly in 2008 when I was 19, and unfortunately my father is not in a position to support me financially, so before now it wasn’t economically feasible for me to continue studying.  As a result, since graduating in 2012, I have spent the last four years teaching English in South Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam whilst I save money and continue to write.  I don’t regret this at all; I have had some phenomenal experiences and my writing has undoubtedly matured as a result of them.  This year, however, I felt the time was right to take the next step and apply for the course.  I am beyond pleased to have been offered a place, and extremely eager to get to work.

I see this course as the next step in a long journey, towards my ultimate goal of working as a writer of fiction, and supplementing that life by guiding others as a teacher of creative writing.  I hope the skills, experience and contacts this course will help me to develop will further that goal.

John Steciuk

MA Creative Writing

Caitlin Woods - The Difference Postgraduate Scholar Caitlin Woods - The Difference Postgraduate Scholar

My name is Caitlin Woods and I am very fortunate (thanks to The Difference Scholarship) to have just started studying an MSc in Computing Science. I am originally from Australia and have been living in Norwich for three years. 

Prior to commencing my study at UEA, I have been working as a freelance composer and producer, with projects of note being a sound design commission for a temporary exhibit at the Natural History Museum, London; a multi-movement work for Norwich’s Keswick Hall Choir in celebration of Shakespeare’s 500th anniversary; and two projects for the West Australian State Ballet Company. 

Previous studies include a BMus Hons in music composition and a Masters in music technology. The desire to embark on this conversion Master’s degree into computer science has come about fairly organically, with a natural curiosity for computing and programming developing exponentially since the conclusion of my studies in music technology. My aim at the completion of this course will be to seek employment with a cutting edge music technology company that develops hardware and software such as Native Instruments or Roli – where I can utilise my new skills in computer programming in combination with my expertise in music composition, production and technology. 

UEA is renowned for the well-rounded experience it offers to students and I am looking forward to immersing myself within the life of the University by singing with the chamber choir, joining the live music society and joining the squash and dance clubs as well as the computer science society. I am currently in a local band called the Tibetan Night Terrors and hope, through the live music society, to be able to play on campus and at gig nights. I chose UEA because of its excellent academic reputation, course offering and scholarship opportunities. 

Caitlin Woods
MSc Computing Science