Ruben Pastilha is from Portugal and is studying for a Ph.D. in Neuroscience at Newcastle University.
He studied his Under-grad and Masters in Portugal and came to study at Newcastle University two years ago.
Pastilha said, “My Ph.D. is going great”. He further explains:
“Something that I like about it is the international component. I get to explore labs abroad and I get to collaborate with students from other nationalities.”
Pastilha said, “The work we do is group work, we are assigned to a lab, and we work on a Ph.D. project which eventually turns into a thesis…”
The twenty-six-year-old is focusing on the studies of colour vision, colour blindness and the way the brain sees colour.
Something that stood out for Pastilha was how each student he works within the lab has different ways of doing things. He said:
“It improves the work it improves the procedures you implement.”
From Pastilha’s view, the education system here in the UK is more organised.
Socialising from a Ph.D. student’s POV
When Pastilha was asked about the differences between the UK and Portugal when it comes to the socialisation culture, he said:
“The social life in the UK tends to be related to alcohol, in Portugal, we do drink a lot, but alcohol here in the UK has a bigger role in bringing people together.”
“I didn’t know about these societies but now I do, I value them a lot. I used to do beekeeping back home in Portugal.”
Pastilha opens up about the mental health struggles most Ph.D. students go through, he said:
“I need to force myself to find the time to attend societies
“The percentage of Ph.D. students with depression is very high and this is a big problem
“If you're working in a group of people that are depressed it will depress you also.”
Pastilha further said: “Lecturers organise events for Ph.D. students to socialise, almost every week we have small meetings and once a month a student will organise a sociable event.”
Pastilha’s experience of studying at Newcastle University has taught him a lot, he advises students wanting to study abroad too, “Be prepared, value your personal life, your friendships and make sure you live your personal life here not just back at home.”
He further explains, “If you think ‘Oh, I will just study and work, I will handle it’ don’t do that, keep a balance.”
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