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Roberta Matshalaga: international student profile

Roberta Matshalaga joined us at The University of Manchester last year to study for her MEng in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and has got involved in a wealth of extracurricular activities alongside her studies since she moved to Manchester from Zimbabwe – including taking up a role as a student ambassador.

Roberta Matshalaga

“I chose to study at The University of Manchester as it’s well known for electrical and electronic engineering. My course is rigorous and led by world renowned staff, and the School is currently highly ranked for research.

“I was surprised when I started my degree how friendly all the staff were, and how concerned they were for my well-being. One of my fears was that I was just going to be ‘thrown into the deep end’ but I was pleasantly surprised that the staff were so supportive both during our transition into university study and even now that we have settled.

“So far my favourite course unit has been Microcontroller Engineering. I’ve always thought that programming was a complex art but I’ve learnt that it can be broken down into simple steps. Plus I love it when my microcontroller does what I’ve programmed it to do! One of the main strengths of my degree is that we interact so often with academic staff in tutorials and labs; this allows us the opportunity to ask them about their research projects.

“I’m currently undertaking part-time work as a student ambassador and I love my job. I get to work with other students at various kinds of events. We go to UCAS fairs, help with open days, and give campus tours – the list goes on. It doesn’t really feel like work because it is such a rewarding experience.

“The best thing about being a student in Manchester is feeling like you’re part of a community. Even though the student body is so diverse, there are times when we come together and enjoy things at big events which really make you feel like you’re part of something. I recommend that new students at Manchester try everything – or as much as you can! During the first weeks of University the societies host a lot of taster sessions – there’s a lot to take in during Welcome Week, but it’s actually pretty fun when you look back at it!

“Honestly, I’m not quite sure what life after graduation looks like for me, but I’m still in my first year, so that’s okay. However, I do feel like the University is adequately preparing me for later life – the Careers Service gives great support on job applications and interviews, as well as help with finding internships.”