I am Maria Elena, I’m from Italy and I am a long-distance PhD student at the University of Birmingham. I decided to undertake research in Italian studies because I have a modern languages background from my master degree and I did a project on cinema, in American cinema, so I thought to mix my vocation if we can call it like that together with my cultural background, had an idea to study in Italian field, and my supervisors were
enthusiastic of this idea. I chose the University of Birmingham because it’s very well ranked and rated at international scale of university and I also read several comments on the international environment that is really really good and I can confirm that after one year here in the campus and online-based student. I received a great support even in both modality of and on campus, we have Stacey that she is very kind, she updated us on all the news and events on campus for us, and they and all the stuff is very available online they answer you in one day generally and also the department is very available when you need research answers to some topic. The distance learning community is wonderful, we meet once a year, generally the university organise the same accommodation for everybody so it’s very funny to stay two weeks together and it’s as well very inspiring because you met a lot of people from all over the world America, Kenya, France, Italy, and you can exchange a lot of ideas and during the year you are in contact through Facebook or Canvas, all the platforms the University offers and then you can support each other for burocratic documents you have to fil for your PhD programme. The visit at campus generally is on the first day you come for this two weeks induction and it’s very good because it’s led by a PhD student that is like a mentor for you and they explain everything about your PhD needs and above all the new library, how it works and how to move around the campus that is very bigger, it’s very nice and that it does all the facilities you need. While the residential programme is very very good organised, they don’t leave anything aside. I used a lot the new library when I was on campus, it was very well-equipped and as well as “Findit Birmingham” for online resources, a lot of academic articles that could downloaded during this year for my literature review, that was the first step of my a PhD programme and as well as the train station, it was very good because it arrives directly in campus so during my two weeks visit here I can move easily from the campus to the city centre of Birmingham. My plan is to continue with some projects after my research, I don’t have the taught course in these distance learning modality so I’m thinking about the academic teaching because my primary interest is in continuing with projects after my PhD.