Pinar is a full-time student on the department’s MSc Education programme, specialising in Child Development and Education. Prior to coming to the department she studied Psychology at Bogazici University in Istanbul.

What degree did you apply for and why was it important to you to study this?

During my final year in undergraduate I applied to the MSc programme in Education (Child Development and Education). The focus of my studies during undergraduate was mostly on clinical psychology and child wellbeing. I enjoyed the research side of my undergraduate education the most and for this reason I decided to continue with a program, which would allow me to grow as a researcher in the field of child development.

What do you hope to go on to do once you’ve completed your postgraduate degree? 

I have been accepted on to the the department’s DPhil in Education programme and feel very lucky to have the opportunity to enjoy the research life in Oxford, especially in the department. I will be a full-time student, also working part-time for a EU project named ISOTIS as a research coordinator at the department. This position has been arranged as part of my DPhil education. I look forward to bridging the work that I will undertake for ISOTIS with my personal research interests with my supervisor. I appreciate that working and studying together can become very demanding from time to time, however I think it is a great way of connecting with the professional research world as the DPhil journey can become isolating. Besides, it is a significant experience to see how top-notch research projects function through a collaboration of various leading universities.

What do you most value about the teaching at the department?

I value the Vygotskian approach in it. There is always space for personal growth and exploration while receiving a high quality of guidance. It allows you to grow as an individual researcher while providing you the necessary tools for it. I think this is one of the most important qualities of education in Oxford.

Why do you think it’s important to study education?

It is the basis to both equality and inequality in a society. It is a powerful tool to bring change in the lives of the people as it coincides with the most vulnerable period of formative years of human beings. I think this is why I enjoy studying education the most. The more we understand how education and childhood shape us; we can bring more change into our lives.

What’s the community like at the department?

It is a small and close community. I am more connected to the researchers working for ISOTIS and FELL in the department as I spend most of my time working with in the same building with them. It definitely feels like a family. We celebrate birthdays together and socialise on other occasions as well. I quite enjoy the friendly working environment that I am a part of. It is revitalising when things get very busy.

What has your degree taught you most?

It thought me how to design and carry out a study, I think this was the most important takeaway of my education. It was my first substantial research experience in the field and I learnt how to work with young children, which is a crucial skill to carry out research on early childhood.

How do you get involved in other research activities within the department and what are they?

I have volunteered as a subject for a DPhil student at the department. He is working on migration motivations of higher education students and he interviewed me for his pilot study. It was quite interesting and fun to participate in another student’s research.

What’s your favourite thing about studying at the department?

The people and their research interests. I think the majority of the research in the department taps onto social inequality to bring change. I feel happy to be part of this research community with such an aim.

Do you have a mentor in the department, and if so how has this helped you?

I had a dissertation supervisor as everyone else did and I also had a course advisor. Our course advisor was very welcoming and available from the very beginning of the course and she made sure that the course cohort was doing well with the workload both academically and psychologically.

What advice would you give to new postgraduate students on how they can get involved in the department community?

I think the best way to do that is to attend to the department events and seminars. The department people are very welcoming and open to meet new members.

How did your College facilitate your experience at Oxford?

My social life was based around my college. I attended many events at the college and built a social life there. It definitely made my life in Oxford more enjoyable.