Tal had confidence in their abilities and wanted the opportunity to grow.

What made you decide to submit an essay for the competition?

“I decided to enter my essay for the competition because I felt like I had nothing to lose and only to win. Regardless of winning the scholarship or not, I could improve my essay-writing skills, as well as my English level (it is not my first language). I am fascinated by literature so I seek ways to deepen my knowledge in the subject. The competition was a great possibility for me – I prefer to work with a deadline so even when I want to develop in the field I like, it’s nice to have an external motivation to do so. Thus, it was a wonderful opportunity for my growth.

Apart from that, I felt confident in my abilities to think originally and to write good works. I knew that I had an innovative perspective to offer that could be recognised by the jury. I wanted to give myself a challenge.”

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Immerse offers resources to help the essay-writing process

How helpful did you find the support provided by Immerse for writing your essay?

“I loved that there was plenty of Immerse support I could gain my knowledge from. It created a feeling of safety – I knew what exactly was supposed to be contained in an essay. I didn’t have to worry that I forgot about something important. Additionally, I knew what was expected from me.

There are different approaches towards essay writing and by looking at the Immerse guides I could learn which option would suit the occasion best. I could also rearrange my knowledge about essay-writing by comparing what I learned at school with the support from Immerse. The advice was helpful and guided me neatly through the process of preparing my final piece.”

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Tal shares their process

Can you tell us about your essay-writing process?

“Firstly, I tried to brainstorm my chosen essay question. I thought about the intuitive answer that came to my mind first. I didn’t agree with the base of the question – I felt like it was formulated the wrong way. It was the approach I decided to stick to during the essay-writing process.
Then I started my research. I found a few different perspectives that my thesis could be perceived from. I sought logical arguments and other people who thought the same as me. Their works were an advocacy for the chosen approach towards the question.

I paid the most attention to Polish authors, as I wanted to turn my foreignness into an advantage rather than a language hardship. Finally, an analysis of a speech by the national Nobelist – Olga Tokarczuk, became a base for my essay.

When my research was done I started writing. Then I read, deleted some parts, and wrote again. And followed the cycle a few times.
I made use of a thesaurus. It was especially helpful as English is not my first language. This way I made sure to sound sophisticated.
I created a bibliography following the Immerse guidelines.

At last, feedback. I made sure to choose people who were my beta readers wisely. I knew two of my friends tended to give me especially helpful feedback. Fortunately, they were happy to help. I also asked my teacher to read my piece and give me advice. I didn’t follow all of the suggestions. I was confident in my choices and I applied the comments that resonated with me.
When the feedback part was done I was ready to submit. I read my essay for the last time making sure, I was happy with the result. And then I started to wait for the outcome.”

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How did you react when you found out that you had been granted a scholarship?

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“I remember that I was sitting on a bench at a bus stop when I read an email with the results. I read it carefully because the title sounded too good to be true. But then it turned out that everything was correct – I was awarded a 50% scholarship! I felt amazed. I messaged all of my closest friends immediately to let them know. I wanted to share my happiness.
Then I started to look at it more realistically. I saw that the financial situation of my family could disable me from using the scholarship. I started to look for ways of funding.”
 
“This whole experience was a starting point for many important events in my life. I became more open towards different educational paths. I decided not to exclude going to university from my options as I got excited about academic work.
After the programme, I feel more confident in reading and writing in English. I started to attend creative writing classes where I could develop my skills and check whether it is something I want to dedicate my life to.”
Tal saw a great improvement in their English level

How did you find your experience on your residential Immerse programme?

“The residential programme I attended was amazing! I had an opportunity to work with a wonderful tutor who gave me a bunch of opportunities to learn and grow during those two weeks. I studied the subject I love. I was reading texts, analysing them and writing about them in my essay. The tutor was creating such interesting lessons that made me excited about the university experience. It was a surprise for me, as I had thought that the university path might not be for me.
I got straightforward feedback and advice on how to develop when I came back home.

I see a great improvement in my English level. I speak more fluently, I use more sophisticated words. That is especially important for me, as a person who is not a native and plans to use this language in the future path.

Additionally, I met marvellous people that I keep in touch with even a few months after the end of the programme. We had a lot of fun together. The time spent with them in Cambridge is a colourful and shiny memory.

Overall, it was one of the biggest highlights of 2023 for me. I gained a lot from this experience. For sure, it played a role in the way I am now.

My favourite things were meeting new people, learning about different cultures, improving my English, the diversity in the participants’ group, learning things I am passionate about, advice how to develop when I come back home, getting excited about university

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Are You Ready?

What would you say to someone who was thinking about entering the Immerse Education Essay Competition?

“Your ideas are worth sharing. Be confident in your abilities. It is a wonderful opportunity for you to give yourself a challenge. If you don’t win, nothing will happen. You will always learn something new from this experience. Give life a chance to lead you to places you don’t expect it to.”

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Tal hopes to explore reading, writing and linguistics in greater depth

It's been a few months since you joined us, can you talk about something you have achieved since joining the Immerse programme?

“I started to attend a creative writing class regularly and I’m planning to publish a poetry book.”

“I believe that it is not necessary to plan my whole life path. I try to face life with a lot of space for everything that needs to appear in it for a greater reason. Thus, I hope to be able to follow the path of invitations. I am a person who values freedom.
I have no idea what “I want to be when I grow up”. But such experiences as an Immerse programme show me how life could feel good. What I truly enjoy doing. For now, it is everything connected with words – from reading and writing to linguistics. Therefore, I hope to explore these fields further.”

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