Meet the Scholars

"As an asylum seeker from Gaza/Palestine, I was granted a Sanctuary Scholarship at the University of Exeter. I am so grateful for the generous people who help make dreams happen for people like me. Their donations are truly an investment in our futures.

Like many vulnerable people, I sought refuge in the UK. All I wanted is a place of serenity, peace and tranquillity. An unexpected search on the internet led me to Exeter’s Sanctuary Scholarship programme. I decided to pursue an aspiration that I always wanted, but the journey seemed daunting. With the support of the Sanctuary Scholarship, I decided to start the PhD journey. Starting with the pre-sessional courses, the scholarships team were so supportive and helpful. Even with the eruption of the pandemic and lockdowns, I’ve been supported by the team.

The scholarship has enabled me to commit to studying and advancing myself without further worries. The options that are now open to me are abundant and I feel that whichever career path I pick I have the self-assurance, skills and enthusiasm to succeed at whatever I do. For me this grant is about much more than being able to study freely, it is also about how much my life has transformed and how constructive I feel towards the upcoming potential horizons. This change has been made conceivable through the compassion of people like you and I hope to realise great ambitions because of this.

The lessons I have learnt so far from my programme have been invaluable and eye-opening. The encouragement, attention and concern shown by my supervisors have not only made discussions an elevating learning environment but also a place where I feel comfortable to share various opinions and have motivating dialogues about them.

I am beyond appreciative for the donors who make these opportunities possible for me and other students. Their generosity has given me a chance in my life that I thought had passed me by, transforming a dream into a reality. Having the monetary burden of education lifted from my shoulders has assumed me the freedom to concentrate on what is essential, my research project. I hope that scholarship donors understand the impact that their gifts have on the lives of many students in this area. It’s a great help to vulnerable people who have potential and are desperate for a chance to prove their abilities and powers. Again, I am ever grateful for the investment by donors to Exeter's Sanctuary Scholarship Programme. Every act of benevolence is like a ripple in a pond, and its impact is reaching far beyond what one can see."

- PhD recipient from Palestine

"I’m grateful for the financial and mental health support the scholarship has offered me since I started my PhD journey in 2018. Without such support, I would not have been able to either persue my academic ambitions or engage with the research I have always been passionate about.

At a personal level, the scholarship has been critical to my own academic growth since it allowed me to focus on my research without being worried about my financial situation. It has also allowed me to gain teaching experiences which will be of great help when I apply for academic jobs once I finish my PhD.

Sanctuary Scholarships make it possible for refugees, such as me, to access Higher Education institutions and be given equal opportunities without discrimination based on citizenship status or financial situation. This access is of great importance since refugees often experience exclusion and marginalisation."

- PhD recipient from Lybia

"I obtained a degree in Pharmacy from Syria and was practising as a professional pharmacist in the suburbs of Damascus until I was forced to leave because of the war. The regulations in the UK however made difficult for me to have my Pharmacy qualification recognised in order to work and practice as a pharmacist. Despite the difficulties I had, I studied English for two years and I managed to pass the IELTS English exam in the hope of pursuing a PhD in the field of pharmacogenetics. However, my finances at the time meant that I would not be able to study for a PhD without a full scholarship.

This invaluable scholarship helped me to re-focus my life and enabled me to work diligently to build on my knowledge in both pharmacy and genetics and make me more relevant to future employers. The Sanctuary Scholarship covered my accommodation and other living costs which I really appreciate. I hope the investment which the university and those who have donated to the programme have made in me and my future will be repaid over and over again."

- PhD recipient from Syria

"As a recipient of the Sanctuary Scholarship, it has been a lifeline for me to access higher education, a triumph in the face of adversity, and the opportunity that means I can achieve my dreams and fulfil my potential. This scholarship is of great importance to me, and I’ll be forever grateful to the University of Exeter and all the donors to the programme, as it is because of their generosity, that I can undertake my undergraduate law degree, which will open great opportunities to me and mean that I have access to a brighter future as I pursue my dream career of being a solicitor."

- LLB Law recipient from India