Cerys-Scarlett Swift

Cerys grew up in Blaina in the South Wales Valleys and is now studying for an MA in Documentary Film at Royal Holloway, University of London, and living at Goodenough with help from the ESS British Student Scholarship


I grew up in one of the most deprived areas in Wales. It’s a difficult place to come from and to get out of. Getting an education is challenging, there are preconceptions about what someone from my area will do and how they’ll grow up. But I worked really hard; no one in my class went to university apart from me.

Where I come from there are lots of stereotypes about things people don’t have enough information about. I started watching documentaries and realised that not everything I heard was true. It’s so sad the way that we’re not given the same access to knowledge – it shouldn’t be that way. I realised: this is what I have to do – I want to make these films.

During my undergraduate years, I worked 40 hours a week to support myself, on top of my studies – I just worked, worked, worked. That’s hard on you mentally and socially. This is the first student experience I’ve had.

When I first found out I had the Scholarship, I called my dad – he was crying, I was crying. I was so overwhelmed, I just couldn’t believe it I was so grateful. It didn’t just mean the world to me, it did so much for my mum and dad. For them, knowing how much I was having to work and not being able to help, it was hard.

I am so grateful because it means I can experience London. I can have a better quality of education now. I’m not just trying to pass while I juggle work; now I can do my best.

Goodenough College is an amazing community, I’ve never experienced anything like it. To be surrounded by so many talented postgraduates from so many different countries is surreal. I’ve never met anyone from say, Canada, or Pakistan. I can’t believe I now have friends from all over the world!

I’m so grateful for the opportunities I’ve had. All of this is life-changing. People where I’m from don’t do things like this; they don’t live in London, they don’t do a masters, they don’t win Scholarships – that just does not happen. But, it did.