Living in Vienna and studying for a doctorate in Bath: "My supervisor has been brilliant"

Dzenana Ceman, PhD in International Education, talks about combining a research degree in Bath with a career in Vienna.

Dzenana Ceman, PhD in International Education
Dzenana values the support from her "brilliant" supervisor in helping her manage a doctorate at distance.

What is your current role?

I am an educator at the Vienna International School. I arrived here in 2017. I’ve also taught at Dwight School New York and International School of Brussels. This is my 13th year teaching.

Why did you choose to do a PhD?

There was no set goal as to why I chose to do a PhD, such as a career teaching in academia, for example. It was all about learning for me. I wanted to be more stimulated intellectually and decided a PhD would allow me to learn more - and to keep learning too. I’m doing a PhD on the role of PR in the implementation of the IB in the USA and started the PhD in International Education in October 2017. I’m studying part time.

Why did you choose the University of Bath?

I chose Bath because it was highly recommended by colleagues: three colleagues from New York recommended it – they were really pleased with the course. In addition, I had a colleague from Brussels who praised it as well.

How do you find combining research and a career?

I was really worried about how it would all work at first - being in a new job, with a young child and being new to Vienna too. There were lots of changes happening at once. I wasn’t sure how a PhD on top of it all would impact all these other aspects of my life.

So far it’s been great. The academics and staff in the School of Education have all been so supportive, helpful and friendly. They answer any questions I have quickly meaning that this adjustment to a new environment hasn’t seemed so overwhelming.

My supervisor in particular has been brilliant. I missed the residential in the autumn and I was a bit worried about not being based on campus and that I would be missing out. He sends me lots of emails with suggestions of articles, news and updates that I should read. It really helps. He also suggested that I try to come over for a week or two, to meet some other researchers and not feel so out of context. I will try to come at least three times a year.

Receiving campus and seminar updates from my Director of Studies has been beneficial when it comes to my site visits and getting the right information in a timely and organized manner. My supervisor is also helping me to organise all of my ideas – I didn’t know where I was going with my research idea at first - but with his help I’m reading so much more and have a clearer plan. I’m planning to do most of my research in the States. I feel really excited about starting it all: the literature review, reading, investigating, interviewing and getting it all on paper.

What do you like best about your experience so far?

I’m really excited overall. At first I had no idea how demanding the PhD would be. But that’s exactly what I like about it. I have so much information to delve into, I love it. It’s the exciting part of the whole experience. Starting the PhD has already changed my mind about what I might do long-term in my career. But for now, I just want to keep learning more; it’s only the beginning.

‘So far it’s been great. The academics and staff in the School of Education have all been so supportive, helpful and friendly. They answer any questions I have so quickly meaning that this adjustment to a new environment hasn’t seemed so overwhelming.’
Dzenana Ceman, PhD, International Education

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