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During her studies, when the 22-year-old wasn’t based at the University’s Parkgate Road Campus, she was learning all about her subject at Radford University in Virginia – an experience which not only enhanced her studies, but also developed her independent spirit.

Originally from Whitehaven, in West Cumbria, Abi chose to study Psychology at Chester because the Department’s wide variety of modules suited her academic interests.

But she also liked the feel of a smaller campus and was enamoured with the opportunity to study overseas, something some other universities didn’t offer.

She said: “Being able to study abroad helped me develop my sense of independence.

“Leaving my family and friends behind and going to another country was scary and required a lot of organisation, booking flights and hotels, sorting university accommodation and which courses I wanted to take.

“I had to adjust to the American culture, which required me to remain open-minded to new experiences and different cultural norms. Furthermore, I was micro exposed to other cultures via interactions with other international students.”

During her time in America, Abi enhanced her subject knowledge by studying Child Psychology, which in turn has directed her to continue her student experience at Chester where she’s planning to study for a Master’s in Family and Child Psychology.

Abi said: “I have always wanted to help people, in whatever capacity that I can.

“After I have completed my master’s degree, I hope to be able to work in a setting where I can help kids and families, potentially as a family therapist.”

For Abi, of the biggest challenges she faced during her time at university was, like so many others, the COVID-19 pandemic, which hit just as she was writing her dissertation and revising for exams.

However, the support she received from lecturers proved to be invaluable.

She said: “Having to change from my regular university routine to being confined at home was a large adjustment which needed to be made, and it added a lot of pressure, which I hadn’t experienced before.

“One of the things that I did to overcome this pressure and adjust to the new regime was to create my own schedule to stick to. Creating a timetable helped me structure my days and helped me complete my work.

“I was totally supported by the University, as I was able to contact my lecturers and Personal Academic Tutor for support. This provided me with stability to help me continue with my studies.”

She added: “The University of Chester has provided me with the knowledge and skills that I can use in future endeavours. It has given me the ability to apply myself to any project that I am given.

“It has shown me that I am driven and motivated and can achieve what I want to, the university has helped me become the person that I am today.”

Dr Liz Whelen, Programme Leader for the undergraduate Psychology course in Chester said: “Abi has been a joy to work with over her time at Chester as both a personal tutor and her dissertation supervisor.

“While always hard-working and enthusiastic, going to America really had a positive and noticeable effect on Abi, and the maturity and extra skills she returned with helped her obtain a first-class degree that she really deserved.”

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