Studying the MSc Control of Infectious Diseases - Alice's story

Alice from Canada is studying the intensive MSc Control of Infectious Diseases. She tells us about her experience on the programme and gives scholarship advice.
Alice Kim

Please explain a bit about your academic/professional background.  

In 2020, I graduated from Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada with a BScH Life Sciences and Global Development degree. Prior to coming to LSHTM, I had previous experience working at NGOs, labs, hospitals, and a cybersecurity company.  

Why did you choose to study at LSHTM?  

I was really attracted to LSHTM because I knew that it was the global hub for public health research and a leading institution in the field. Within my first few days at the School, I knew that I made the best decision possible. LSHTM is more than just a school; it truly is the top leading centre for all health activities across a variety of disciplines and industries. Our professors, seminar leaders, colleagues, and peers all have such a wide breadth of experiences, and my education has been so enriched by being part of the LSHTM community. I know that these networks and connections will be instrumental to my success as a public health professional in the future. I specifically chose the MSc Control of Infectious Diseases programme because I am interested in the resilience and risk management of healthcare systems in epidemic/pandemic response. I have already had so many interesting discussions about this very topic in my various modules and I’m looking forward to completing a summer project that aligns with those themes.  

Which scholarship programme did you apply to and what would be your advice to students who are considering scholarships?  

Coming to London has been a very worthwhile investment for me but I know the financial costs associated with this degree can be a huge burden. In addition to international tuition fees, there are a lot of extra costs to consider as an international student such as visas, travel costs, insurance, and living arrangements. I knew I couldn’t afford this degree even with student loans, so I started researching scholarships and financial aid very early on. There is a lot of information out there on scholarships but here are a few tips and tricks that might help refine and focus your search.  

Rather than searching “scholarships” on your search engine, start by looking at dedicated financial aid websites on universities. School websites are usually filtered, and they will advertise real scholarships that are applicable to the students attending. I started with the LSHTM website then looked at my undergraduate university’s website. My undergraduate website had quite a few 'alumni scholarships' that I was able to apply for and they were only open to graduates of my university. Another great place to look is other universities in London and in your hometown - I looked at the University of British Columbia website because I am from Vancouver, and I found some Canadian scholarships.

Within my first few days at the School, I knew that I made the best decision possible. LSHTM is more than just a school; it truly is the top leading centre for all health activities across a variety of disciplines and industries.

After months of searching, I learned about the Rotary Global Grant Scholar programme and contacted my local Rotary Club to enquire about a potential sponsorship. The Rotary Foundation funds scholars studying abroad doing graduate degrees related to their areas of focus. I was very blessed to receive support from my club in Langley and they successfully forwarded my application to the Foundation. London hosts the largest amount of Rotary scholars out of every city in the world and many of them study at LSHTM. Rotary introduced me to an amazing community within the School and I am so proud to be studying infectious diseases as a Rotary scholar, especially considering their contributions to polio eradication.  

Applying for scholarships can be time-consuming and challenging, especially if you’re also working on other applications. My biggest advice would be to remind yourself that people are usually willing and open to help. I surprisingly received so much support from my network of friends and acquaintances who offered to read over my statements, bought me coffees, and even completed international phone calls on my behalf to order transcripts. By the time I submitted my final application, I had over 40 different individuals read over and give feedback on my personal statements! Studying at LSHTM has changed my life so profoundly and I am forever grateful to the people who helped make this dream come true.  

What advice would you give to someone considering studying your course? 

I’ve had a lot of prospective students ask me if they are “good enough” for this course without a medical background or 10 or more years in the field. I very much related to some of these messages because even I felt a bit of imposter syndrome while reading through the prospectus and hearing the introductions of some of my classmates. However, the Control of Infectious Diseases programme is renowned for recruiting students from a wide variety of backgrounds and everybody’s experience is important and valuable. It’s easy to start comparing yourself to others and their accomplishments but what’s important is to discover what you uniquely offer as an applicant and reflect on those during your studies.