Winner of the Universities' Choice Award for Most Transformed Student

Winner of the Universities' Choice Award for Most Transformed Student

This article was written by Global Graduates, published on 14th December 2015 and has been read 2157 times.

No one is the same after studying or working abroad, but some people change more than others (and we're not just talking about regrettable haircuts). Our Universities' Choice Award is designed to recognise the effect that a well-orchestrated experience abroad during a student's degree course can have on their attitude, outlook and life in general. We received so many absolutely fantastic applications, but here are the highly commended and winning entries!

Highly Commended:

Peter Csipak, Regent's University London
RU's Study Abroad Manager (Outbound) says: "It is a pleasure to nominate Peter Csipak for The Universities' Choice Award for the most transformed student. I first got to know Peter three years ago at the beginning of his undergraduate journey at Regent’s University London. Peter had just arrived in London from his native Hungary and his first days and months in London proved to be a culture shock and a big challenge – what stood out immediately to me was his passion to learn and a huge smile. I could see that was something brewing beneath his cautious questions in group meetings. 

Peter is now in his final year of BA International Business studies with Marketing and Spanish language. Throughout his degree he always searched to grow and enrich his journey as student with new challenges and experiences. He has decided again uproot himself from London, which became a familiar territory after his home country, and take an opportunity to study abroad for a year in two different destinations; first he went to Mexico and for his second semester he travelled to Argentina

Peter came back a changed person, the confidence was oozing, and this was visible in his communication with others and even in his body language. He had so many good stories to share with others about the benefits of intercultural exposure. Through his study abroad journey Peter demonstrated he is able to adapt and solve problems. On his return he appeared to be focusing on his graduate career goals in the business industry but when an opportunity came up this summer to volunteer in rural areas of China he didn’t hesitate for one moment to help make a difference in impoverished communities and immerse himself in yet another culture. 

Peter got much more out of this experience than he had expected – when he returned he said to me that the experience was life changing. The value of trying to bring inspiration to the local young people of rural China, expanding their horizons of the world taught him a great deal and he decided on a u-turn before his graduate career plans. Instead of going into the corporate business world he will now look at using the skills he gained in developing countries. Peter’s journey, passion and commitment and as result a great transformation as a person can be an inspiration to many students."

Highly Commended:

Reika Kamasaki, London College of Fashion
LCF's Exchange and Mobility Officer says: "Reika Kamasaki has been nominated by her programme leader who met with her over the summer and has just received her proposal for her final concept development. From this, we can see that she has really made the most of her time abroad by adding numerous additional skills spanning textiles and crafts to business acumen along with hands-on experience at a handbag brand in Paris. Her written proposal shows how she has tactically considered the strengths and abilities she needs to grow and now is fully utilising all these elements in her work. Reika plans to create her own accessories brand on graduating so has been focusing on the tools she will need to prepare for this. On a more personal note she has taken on a new maturity and professional outlook that we are delighted to see for just one year away. Reika is incredibly hard working and dedicated in spite of her personal health challenges and we believe a very deserving candidate. We wish her luck in this award and her future ventures."


Rae-Ellen Collins, Sheffield Hallam University
Rae was nominated by SHU's Senior Lecturer in French and Academic Placement Officer for France, who says:  "While many students are nervous and apprehensive about their time abroad, Rae was particularly anxious during her preparation module in her second year, and had to be reassured that she was capable of completing her compulsory one year industry placement in France. Rae then rose to the challenge by completing her first 6 months in a large multinational company in a key strategic marketing role and then her second 6 months in a relatively new French start-up where Rae ran the company's sales and presence in the UK market single-handed. Rae has won an academic prize awarded by the second company who have praised her work very highly. Rae was an ambassador for the university in this company, being our first placement student there. As a result of Rae's skills and dedication, subsequent students have gained placements there and the company has recommended Sheffield Hallam to their business contacts. Finally, Rae has seriously considered continuing to work in France and deferring her return to her final year, having enjoyed her work and experience in France so much. This is testament to the transformational potential of living and working abroad."

The Judges say: It is clear that Rae has embraced her opportunity to live and work abroad during her degree. Not only has it transformed her life, as having been particularly anxious at the start she is now considering staying in France for longer, but through excelling in both (very different!) companies, and in her role as an ambassador, she has also helped other students have positive, transformative experiences like hers. This is what the year abroad is all about! Overcoming your worries to step out of your comfort zone and leap at a unique opportunity which will do wonders for your CV, your confidence, and your aspirations for the future - all culminating in giving back to 'the circle of year abroad life'.

Congratulations, Rae!

Prize: Rae wins an £80 Ryanair voucher, courtesy of our Sponsor,!

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