Meet Karine, who has just returned from a Santander-funded research trip to Ethiopia…

Karine is studying for an MPhil (Master’s) in Development Studies at St John’s College. Her studies are fully-funded by Santander, the Clarendon Fund and her College. Here she explains how she came from Sao Paulo in Brazil to be studying at Oxford, and the difference the funding has made to her future career.



Applying for an MPhil in Development Studies at Oxford was certainly one of the best decisions I’ve made, potentially only comparable to the decision to accept the Oxford offer. My application was entirely written as I sat on the floor of a slum in Sao Paulo, while working as an MIT D-Lab trip leader. The constant thought in my mind was a rather simple one: ‘I have no idea what my chances are, but I just have to try.’ And everything somehow fell into place…

My name is Karine and I was born and raised in Brazil. I completed my undergraduate studies in 2013 at MIT (USA), with a double BSc in Physics and in Political Science. All throughout my time there, I had been involved in development projects. But the final decision to pursue international development as a career came only as I received a scholarship to study at Oxford. The combined scholarships from Santander, the Clarendon Fund and St John’s College have allowed me to turn down an offer for a full time position at a management consulting company and follow my dream to study development – a difficult decision, but one I would have never been able to do without funding. Oxford has been a fantastic experience in so many ways! The academic rigour of the university is balanced by a rich social life that fosters connections between people working on the most diverse areas.


The generous funding I am receiving has allowed me not only to come to Oxford, but also to go to Ethiopia for fieldwork. I spent this past summer in Addis Ababa, conducting fieldwork for my MPhil thesis and collaborating with a project in the Oxford Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE). My MPhil thesis is a continuation of a research project I worked on while at the World Bank, focusing on self-employment and entrepreneurship as engines for job creation. There is much we still need to understand about the nature of self-employment in developing countries. Under which conditions do urban youth opt for self-employment? Which circumstances allow them to remain in this occupation – and thrive? Finally, what makes them abandon self-employment, and what are their job prospects like once they leave self-employment? The collaboration with CSAE allows me to conduct qualitative and quantitative research with a random sample of individuals in Addis Ababa, a rare and precious opportunity.

Every day, I am reminded of how grateful I am for the opportunity to be here and to learn from the incredible people around me – be it in Oxford or in Addis Ababa. In addition to the material means to study at Oxford, the scholarships I received have also provided me with two invaluable things: the confidence that I belong in the field of development, and the drive to make the most out of my time here. If Oxford is your dream university, I highly encourage you to give it a chance and apply as well – everything might just fall into place for you too. 





A Celebration of the Lloyds Scholars Programme


On 16th June 2014, thirty Oxford students who are provided bursaries by Lloyds Bank joined a whole host of other Scholars from other universities to celebrate the Lloyds Scholars Programme and express their gratitude for the support they have received.

Lloyds’ Chief Executive, António Horta-Osório, welcomed the Scholars to this special event in Westminster Palace. It was a fantastic chance for students who are currently provided financial support from Lloyds to meet each other, and share their experiences about the difference the support has made to their studies.

Lloyds offers young people from lower income households a unique combination of financial support, paid work experience, mentoring and the chance to develop their employability skills. This industry experience is key, as it provides young students with networks that they would not otherwise have had access to. As part of the programme, Scholars complete 100 hours of volunteering, which is a great opportunity for them to give back to the local community and take on additional development opportunities.

On behalf of the Scholars – thank you Lloyds, for your fantastic support!

Introducing Riaz…

Riaz Agha has been awarded several scholarships during his time at the University of Oxford: firstly, to fund his studies for a part time MSc in Surgical Science and Practice at Kellogg College, and then to allow him to study at Balliol College for a doctorate. Riaz explains here how the funding he has received has improved his practice and brought benefits to patients.

Riaz Agha 2

As a trainee in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, I was delighted to be awarded two scholarships to study for the new part time MSc in Surgical Science and Practice at Oxford University. Gaining such financial assistance was crucial to me being able to complete the MSc without enduring excessive financial hardship.  The MSc itself was a fantastic programme and allowed me to acquire knowledge and skills that will be useful for the rest of my career.  For example in areas such as; evidence based healthcare, how to be a medical educator, human factors, teamwork and communication, leadership and management, quality and systems analysis and surgical technology and robotics.

It was during my MSc that I applied for a doctorate and was extremely lucky to be awarded a Clarendon Scholarship that would cover all my fees (including those of Balliol College!).  Scholarship funding has made me a more effective and well-rounded surgical trainee and is bringing real benefits to patients.  My development has become more holistic and crucially I have the opportunity to develop my clinical and academic careers congruently.  This has led to rich and unique synergies and collaborations with others internationally, on projects that really engage me, and link in with my clinical development.

Surgical trainees should definitely consider Oxford as a premier place to do a higher degree, develop themselves and their network further.