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Enriching the student experience

15 September 2017

‘My trip to Kolkata challenged me to make changes to my attitude in life. It doesn’t really matter where we come from and what we look like. Instead, it is our human qualities, positivity, hopefulness and love that count and have the most meaning. In this sense, I feel like the people I met have impacted on me much more than I did on them.’ Catherine Ollerhead, University of Bristol medical student

We all have memories from our student years which have stayed with us, shaped us, even dramatically changed the course of our lives. Thanks to a grant from the Knowlson Travel Award, medical student Catherine Ollerhead had the chance to spend a life-changing month in Kolkata, India last summer with Tearfund.

Catherine tutored girls from a children’s home in science for their upcoming exams, handcrafted paper bags with women from a slum, and survived nerve-testing rickshaw rides. She says, ‘I was always struck by the girls’ positivity, motivation and hopes for the future, in the face of significant adversity. I hope to remember that next time I catch myself taking my education and opportunities for granted.’

John Knowlson gave £20,000 in 1963, valued at over £197,740.51 today, to endow a travel fund so that ‘students or junior members of staff can benefit their education and experience by travelling overseas.’ Sending students abroad during their time at Bristol has immeasurable value – they go on to earn better, get better jobs and become employed after graduation faster. Thanks to the long-lasting legacy of the Knowlson Fund, more students at the University of Bristol are able to have life-enhancing experiences overseas that will improve their prospects for the future.

‘I will carry it with me and continue to learn from it for many years,’ says Catherine. ‘It was one of the best experiences of my life.’

Further information

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