Neny is an Education PhD student from Indonesia who was working as a university lecturer before undertaking her doctoral training.
On my research
My research interests are currently in teacher identity and employability of English Language teachers. However, in the past, I have researched the use of technology to assist learning and sociolinguistics.
As my research is conducted in the context of the place where I worked before and I’m going to go back to the same place. My findings will help them evaluate the current program that they have for our students.
When I graduate, I will be back teaching at my university. As research is one of my responsibilities, my time in Manchester will prepare me to conduct research and publish more. With another fellow PhD student from my university, we have planned to invite our current supervisor to give a talk at a national association and our university back home. Cooperation in research is certainly in our head!
On choosing my PhD
I love studying and I see the PhD as my personal milestone. In addition, as a university lecturer back home, having PhD training is an advantage and requirement.
In the past, I was involved in research with one of the faculty members at the University, but I also chose Manchester because of its reputation as a world-class research centre.
On my PhD highlights
I love the fact that it has a good library that is accessible and so vast! My supervisors are also very supportive and understanding of my situation and condition.
Manchester is a friendly and cultured city. There are so many events and places to explore in Manchester. And if those are not enough, the location of the city has good hubs of transportation, making exploration to other cities in the UK and Europe very possible.
Ultimately, my highlight has been the level of support and understanding that the University has given to me to make my PhD journey successful. I have experience of doing a PhD elsewhere, but I found my past experiences to be unsupportive.
“Ultimately, my highlight has been the level of support and understanding that the University has given to me to make my PhD journey successful.”
On my greatest challenge
Conquering myself in terms of work discipline and battling study-related anxiety. My PhD experience has had ups and downs, but so far it’s been rewarding. Whenever I have the 'down' times, I feel that I have support from the communities in the University.
On training and development
I’ve attended three conferences so far held by the School of Environment, Education and Development, and by professional organizations outside the University. I’ve also been involved in various volunteering opportunities (for student-led conferences, induction programmes for new PhD students, Indonesian Students Society activities, an event for a master’s course programme, and a University Outreach programme). I also had the opportunity to work as a Teaching Assistant.
I’ve regularly attended workshops and training offered by the University, especially the ones related to my research. I’ve also attended talks at the University. As I have a job waiting for me already back home, I didn’t attend any career-related workshops, but I do feel that the ones I have attended are attuned to my research needs and prepare me for my job in the academia.
On being an international student at Manchester
I love the fact that Manchester is so diverse. My cohort mates came from at least 6-7 different countries and we regularly have dinners or coffee where we can not only talk about our worries on our research but also share about our culture. Having meals in different ethnic restaurants is also interesting!
I was involved in ASEAN night in 2017 as a performer where we showcased a dance from Indonesia, but at the same time enjoyed various performances from Southeast Asian countries.
I’m also currently the coordinator for Kemisan, a biweekly discussion for Indonesian students, under the Indonesian Students Society, and have visited seniors to present about Indonesian culture.
These activities provide respite in a more productive and relaxing from the business of PhD research (not to mention that one can be very homesick and lonely, and thus having food and company of those from your country or from local Manchester can be a real blessing).
On tips for future students
My number one tip is to do the research about the city and the university before arriving here as there is much information available. Some of this can even be used to arrange things (like accommodation, banking, transportation, communication, etc.) before you even set foot in Manchester.
If you’re international, it’s good to find information on your country’s students’ society and connect with them. The Indonesian Students Society, for example, has offered ‘induction’ meetings online and accommodation finder service to new students.
A PhD is definitely a big decision and it’s a really challenging process. Make sure you really want it and benefit heavily from it. You will need to constantly remind yourself of your motivation for doing it and why you fell in love with your research topic in the first place. I had failed a PhD programme elsewhere before and I learned a lot from that process and have tried not to repeat the same mistakes I committed before. But really, Manchester is way better than my previous PhD place, so no worries!
Read more about our PhD Education programme.