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My Chevening application journey

Updated: Jun 15, 2022

I remember the interview process clearly. My first application was for the 2017/18 cohort. I got shortlisted in 2018, and my interview was scheduled a week or so after Cyclone Gita hit Tonga. It was a skype interview and the Internet connection was extremely patchy. The panel asked some questions, and I had to ask them to repeat it many times because I couldn't hear them . When I FINALLY heard their question, I'd give my answer. And to my dismay, THEY couldn't hear me. It went back and forth "We didn't quite catch that? What was that last part?" Each time I had to explain my answer repeatedly, I felt less and less confident. It was the most tiring and repetitive interview I've ever had and I cried all night after. I kept thinking at the time, if I had better internet connection, maybe the outcome could've been different. Who knows but obviously I failed that first time. I blame TCC internet and cyclone Gita for that.

My second application round was 2019. Thank goodness there was no major cyclone that year and internet was 100% I was lucky because right before the Chevening interview, I had 3 different job interviews and that was a really good practice run (I didn't get the job I wanted but that's a different story ). I also reached out to the Tongan Cheveners at that time to ask for tips. What had they done that I didn't do in the first round? The answer? Watch Youtube videos My sister and boyfriend were then tasked with downloading all the Chevening interviews on YouTube. Trust me, the questions are almost EXACTLY the same as the videos you'll see on YouTube.

Before the interview, prepare by making sure you formulate your answers to align with the Tongan/Pacific context. Focus your answers on what you bring to the table. How will the course you've chosen benefit others? What are some problems you've been able to solve in the workplace? Highlight leadership experiences you've had, whether it be tutoring, church youth, a project at work or some involvement with NGO. This is NO TIME TO BE HUMBLE! Bring out all your big guns and come ready to shoot!

The Chevening scholarship, from the start to finish, is a looong process. You've come this far already, so don't give up! Wishing you all the best! You can do this!

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