Clearing 2022: Brilliant Bianca grasps second chance at university in Leicester

Psychology graduate Bianca Semczuk says choosing Leicester through Clearing “couldn’t have been a better decision”.

Bianca, 26, had a first taste of university life in Poland, studying International Relations in Warsaw. But after falling out of love with the subject – and as the only Romanian on her course – she dropped out to reassess her goals.

And, after a chance conversation with a psychologist pointed her towards a career in neuroscience, Bianca took the plunge with husband Marcin and baby daughter Blanka.

“Until my psychologist suggested it, I had never even thought about studying psychology,” Bianca explained.

“But I really like biology and anatomy, so the neuroscience side really interested me. And I found that Leicester’s course in Psychology with Cognitive Neuroscience BSc is one of the few such courses in the UK.

“My husband was just finishing his PhD in Astronomy and was applying for postdoctoral positions, and once he had an offer from Leicester I knew I wanted to apply.”

Bianca submitted an application and received a conditional offer within 24 hours; the only complication being the six-hour roundtrip to Berlin to rubber stamp her English language qualification.

“It was a bit of a panic, as this was all the week before my wedding,” she laughed.

Bianca Semczuk with husband Marcin and daughter Blanka.

Marcin – now a Research Associate in Leicester’s School of Physics and Astronomy – moved to the UK in September 2019 to set up home for Bianca and Blanka, who arrived in time for mum to start her studies that year.

“My two university experiences were so different. When I arrived in Leicester people straight away were approaching me, asking me about my day, and inviting me to sit with them,” she continued.

“I made a lot of friends on my course. I had been worried because I was a ‘foreigner’ but everyone was so nice to me, and there were quite a few international students on my course, from Colombia, Brazil, Cyprus, Poland – and another student from Romania.”

Bianca also threw herself into the full student experience by becoming a Course Rep, winning the College of Life Science’s Course Rep of the Year award in 2021, and representing her fellow mature students within Leicester Students’ Union. She successfully campaigned for a child-friendly room to be installed in the Percy Gee Building on campus.

Graduating with first-class honours from her undergraduate degree in summer 2022, Bianca has now started a Masters at Leicester to continue her journey towards becoming a fully-fledged researcher. Her MPhil in Cognitive Neuroscience is supported by the European Regional Development Fund and marketing agency Lnet Digital.

Bianca added: “We’re using eye tracking and emotion recognition to look at the user experience. I really enjoy getting to work with and analyse the numerical data.”

And, with hopes to take on a PhD later down the line, Bianca is grateful for changing course and choosing Leicester.

“I feel like it couldn’t have been a better decision.”

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