History student Drahoslava Machova tells us about her experience
BA (Hons) History & Education and MRes History
Moving from her native Czech Republic to Preston in order to study History at UCLan, Drahoslava has enjoyed her time here so much that she has decided to stay and study a Masters course too. Despite visiting many different places in the UK since her arrival, Drahoslava’s academic, social and working life has been very focused around the University which has helped her to get the full UCLan experience.
"One thing I did not expect and that really surprised me was the support and motivation offered by the lecturers at UCLan; they are very friendly and outgoing. They are extremely understanding, especially with English being my second language. The lecturers helped to push me and enabled me to overcome barriers – they would not let me fail and I don’t think I would have finished my degree without them. The History course at UCLan was ranked number 1 for overall satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2018 and I can definitely see why."
Back home in the Czech Republic there isn’t the same support and the attitude is ‘it’s your university course, you do the work’ with a strong emphasis on individual dedication. But here the emphasis is more on critical thinking, which is essential and something I had to learn. There’s more creative freedom and academic support here. For example, I was so worried about my Dissertation at first, but now it has stunned me that I have come so far and got where I am today. In my first year I did not have high hopes that I could finish the degree but looking back now it wasn’t actually that difficult!
It has not always been positive during my time in Preston because as an EU student I did not get the maintenance loan and had to find a job to pay for my rent so the first year was difficult. Towards the end of my first year I managed to find a job at Essentials, the supermarket within the Student Union building, and I still work there now! This has brought enough money for me to sustain a living and I have also managed to find other ways to make money, like tutoring for example.
Alongside my studies I also enrolled onto free English lessons for a few months to improve my grammar. It’s great that you can do this at UCLan, it really helped me to believe in my language skills and the classes were taught by some EU students who knew what I was going through.
I chose to study at the University of Central Lancashire because I really liked the look of the campus online, the marketing was really well done and some student reviews that I read influenced me. I came here with my partner which helped, however everybody was really friendly and the diversity and inclusion is amazing.
From Preston you can explore and it’s not so expensive, for example I went to Glasgow in Scotland for just £10! It is really close to the Lake District too which is awesome and I have also visited Liverpool, Manchester, Yorkshire and parts of the South of England. Back to Preston and it is a safe place to live and the taxis are very cheap too. I like that there’s a huge community of EU people so I can find European focused shops and restaurants.
In my spare time I like to play tennis at the Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre which is really awesome because it is free for students! I sometimes venture into the city to a gaming arena to play video games. There are lots of UCLan societies for specialised hobbies, so you will always find something that interests you and it is really easy to make friends – it is Northern nature to be friendly and outgoing!
If you are thinking of coming to UCLan I would say believe in yourself, focus on your studies and seize the opportunities UCLan and student life offers - there is so much you can do and be.