Meet Maria Nestor – the first recipient of the Access Masters scholarship! After joining the Access Masters Bucharest Online Event in November 2020, she became eligible for the prize of EUR 1,000 to help finance her postgraduate studies. She is the happy winner from a host of world-wide participants who tuned in online to meet leading universities and business schools.
Maria is currently a student of Biotechnologies at the University of Agronomic Sciences and Veterinary Medicine of Bucharest. She is preparing to pursue a Masters degree in Food and Health in Italy, starting from October 2021.
Maria tells us that she has been interested in gaining international experience since the age of 16, when she decided to attend high school in a foreign country. She believes this was one of the best decisions she ever made, as it enabled her to discover her passion for biology.
Read on to learn more about her story and her advice to prospective university students.
What are the main factors that have led you to consider getting a Masters degree?
I feel like this is the natural step for me to take. My Bachelor’s degree offered a broad spectrum of disciplines to familiarise us with the possibilities of biotechnologies. Now, I want to specialise in nutrition, gain more knowledge, and acquire new skills in this specific field.
Why did you decide to participate in the Access Masters event?
In my search for suitable programmes, I discovered this event and decided to participate, as there were several universities I was interested in. I liked the idea of one-to-one meetings with the university representatives, so I booked three of them. The meetings were very informative and the admission officers were really friendly. I honestly did not expect to feel so relaxed when talking to them. Overall, it was a great experience.
What are some useful things you learnt about their programmes while talking to Masters admission officers?
I researched each university in advance, so I already knew the general information displayed on their websites. After talking to admission officers, I learned more about the specifics of the programmes, which classes could prove to be more challenging, what is the employment rate after graduation. But I was also interested in finding out if they offer psychological assistance, help with accommodation or a buddy tutoring service.
In what other ways did you get to know the universities and programmes you are interested in?
I started following universities on social media, as I think this is the main channel of communication nowadays. I learnt about the webinars and meetings with alumni organised by these universities through their posts. In addition, some universities have initiatives in which they give access to their social media accounts to current students for one week. This is an opportunity for students to answer questions, share their favourite locations around the campus, and tell more about their experience.
How has the global pandemic affected your Masters preparation and/or application so far?
Because of the pandemic, I chose to be safe and take the TOEFL iBT Home Edition test to prove my knowledge of English. My communication with the student office happened entirely by email. Other than that, I did not encounter any problems with my application.
As for my upcoming Masters, we were informed in an online session that studies at the university are taking place both on campus and online, so each student can decide which option is best for them. If I had to choose, I would probably opt for offline studies, as I miss classes a lot!
What would you advise other participants in Access Masters so that they get the most out of this opportunity?
I would say participating in one-to-one sessions is the most important thing, as Access Masters is, after all, a university fair. Research universities first and decide which ones are most suitable for you. Prepare your questions, because time is limited and you don’t want to waste it by asking for information you can easily find on their website. Finally, do not stress over small things – you are building your own future, and that is admirable!