Student Ambassador: Kirthana Pillay – Molecular Ecology PhD

Kirthana PillayKirthana Pillay

Kirthana Pillay is a first year Molecular Ecology PhD student and is from Singapore

Languages spoken: English

Why choose Bangor?

Six years ago in Singapore, university representatives from all over UK came to recruit students and that is where I met Sarah, the representative for Bangor university and she explained to me all about the university and my specific school.

I chose to study in Bangor and continue to study here because of the amazing quality of education the university has to offer, especially in the field of natural sciences.

The International Ambassador Scheme

The International Ambassador scheme aims to help international students settle into Bangor smoothly and provide guidance for students who are new to Bangor. International Ambassadors will be the point of contact for certain students who require more information or help.

The international office also organises day trips and trips during semester breaks around the UK which I participated in and through this I have gained new friends. These trips also enable new students to familiarise themselves with the Welsh countryside and fall in love with it just like I have.

What is the most difficult thing about being an International Student?

When I first arrived, adapting to the new environment and the way of life was the most difficult thing for me. Being away from my family and friends was also difficult but today with modern technology such as Skype and Whatsapp I am able to communicate with my family easily and did not miss home that often.

Over the years in Bangor I have met many amazing people who have become my closest friends and some of them I even consider as family. Having such amazing people around in Bangor definitely help me get over my homesickness.

The Course

I’ve completed both my BSc and MRes in Bangor. Both courses helped me gain a better understanding of the natural environment and how to manage it efficiently in this changing climate.

My current PhD focuses on the molecular side of ecology where molecular biology and microbiology techniques are used to find solutions for environmental issues. The techniques I’m using are currently very popular and widely used beyond the field of ecology. Learning these new techniques have currently been the most exciting part of my year so far.

Natural Sciences has a great team of lectures and support staff who are focused in providing the best education and support for students who take on courses in natural sciences. They definitely make the studying part of uni life much more enjoyable.

Clubs and Societies

I used to be involved in the volunteering society. Student Volunteering Bangor (SVB) provides students with many opportunities every year to engage with local people and the environment. I enjoyed volunteering as I got to meet students with similar interests and the local people who never fail to make you feel more than welcome in Bangor.

Social Life

I enjoy going for walks with friends on the weekends around North Wales. My favourite spot is Llyn Idwal. I also enjoy visiting one of the pubs in Bangor after a hard days work! Sometimes I visit the local animal shelters (e.g in Betws-y-Coed) and spend the morning walking dogs.

What's the best thing about living in Bangor?

Bangor is a student town and as you walk around you never fail to bump into a familiar face. Everywhere in Bangor is accessible by foot which lets me save on transport and living costs are relatively more affordable than other student towns in the UK. Coming from Singapore which is a massive city, Bangor is definitely a breath of fresh air!

What will you miss most about Bangor when you leave?

When I leave Bangor I will definitely miss the quiet environment that I am very used to now and conveniences of the town which is due to its size. I will also miss the friends I have made here who some I live with and consider as my family away from home.

Support for students

The staff from the international office are very helpful and prompt in replying to emails in regards to visas when I needed the help. Whilst writing my MRes thesis I frequently consulted student services’ writing support. The staff were very keen to improve my writing skills and I believe it helped me submit a thesis of high quality.

Advice for new students

Moving to a new city or new country can be intimidating at first but there are many around who are willing to help. Keep an open mind and enjoy this new journey!

Plans for the future

I would ideally like to pursue a career in environmental research.