My partner suffered the worst possible outcome in her viva - she was told her thesis was not up to standard even though her supervisors said she should pass. My partner was an international student and pretty much not backed up by her department. We fought (she was studying in the same department as me) but as many people have highlighted, you cannot overturn the external's decision (during early 2010).
This takes us to early 2012 and once I submitted my changes, I moved straight to Southeast Asia (Thailand). I had already got engaged a few months after our bad news during 2010 - I wanted to show my commitment. By early 2014, we had finally found a university willing to accept her (with updated IELTS scores) and she enrolled on a distance learning programme during January 2014.
Her progress has been slow even though her supervisor said she could adapt much of her old thesis. By January 2014, I had helped her edit a new research proposal. My partner also helped me get a travel grant back to the UK. However, I was gone for over 3 months and we had a conference paper to present together yet she only sent me her paper a few nights before I needed to travel home - she had done virtually no work since I had been gone.
I just took her back to the UK to meet her supervisor (March 2015) in which she should have prepared a revised proposal which would mean she could then move on to do her fieldwork. But this has still not materialised as she agonises over the literature, reading but NOT taking notes at all. She has less than 1,000 words of a proposal to show for six to eight weeks work. Her parents are paying her nearly £6,000 per year tuition fee and we planned to get her a PhD in 3 years. 18 months have been used with little to show for it. Help!
hi Craig it is great that you are so supportive of your partner. I knew a lady from Thailand who came to the UK to do her masters. She had excellent grades from her previous university, I think it was Chulalangkorn something like that but she couldn't cope with the English and she left after only 3 months. She couldn't even read journal papers without looking up words in the dictionary it was really difficult for her.
Maybe your partner will just have to come to terms with the reality of doing a phd. She may feel like she's losing face etc. it is not easy, and it may also not be easy for you to be so supportive all the time, you might even get fed up one day. Sorry, but what I am saying is really true.
But don't worry, everyone will come to learn and discover themselves in their own time.
Well done for being there for her, and whatever you do, remember to also focus on your own career.
This is common for all international students funded by their governments. Another layer of stress and pressure. If they fail they have to pay back the money, or they had to secure their loan on their house etc, so the government will repossess it if they don't finish their PhD or if they don't return back to their country to work after the PhD.
I know it's unethical, but can't you help your GF with the PhD?
Hi there, I hope you're still checking back on this thread.
I totally understand you and your girlfriend, especially your girlfriend as I'm in a very similar position.
I'm also a scholarship recipient, but from a private university in Thailand, and I am now doing my PhD in the UK.
I haven't finished my study yet, and my phd journey is not just bumpy - it's one heck of a roller coaster ride to hell.
My supervisors said they don't think I am capable of doing a phd and suggest I downgrade it to Mphil, or submit my thesis for a phd and risk getting nothing.
Like your girlfriend, I am locked in the contract with my funder (3 years of work for every year spending in the UK). Being funded, I am pressured to get the degree. The fact that people at home really have high hope of me doesn't really help either. Although my uni won't charge extra money or confiscate my house or anything if I fail to get a phd, the thought of going back empty handed scares me to death. Sometimes I think that I'm trying to push forward not because I truly want a PhD but because I can't bare being a failure and a disappointment. Maybe this is the phase your girlfriend is going through as well? It's hard to stay eager and productive when your passion is gone and you're doing something because you have no choice.
My English boyfriend, who recently got his phd last year, is also trying to help me with my study. But, just like you, he now has work to do and can't spend hours proofreading or explaining things to me all the time anymore (well, not that he could do much anyway as we are in totally different fields, he politics and I linguistics). It's really lovely to hear that you're helping her all you can - I know how much it means to your girlfriend, but she needs to realise, like I did, that if she really wants this she needs to push harder. I think it's important that you talk to her openly about this.
It's like being stuck on an island with a pile of wood, and in order to survive shark infested sea, you gotta build your own boat and row to a big cruise ship that's waiting nearby. People on that ship can only shout to you, telling you how to build a boat from afar, but unless you start following their instructions and actually building it, you're gonna be stranded there on that little miserable island.
Thanks for sharing the story with us. It gives me clearer idea of what I might do too in case I fail my phd here. All the best wishes for you and your gf! x
Hi, I have not contributed to this forum for a while. Wanted to update on my partner. Last July (2015) she did submit a good piece of work which I edited a bit and was hopeful she would push on. But her health took a turn during October/November last year. A condition with her eyes (which she did not tell me about) was affecting her. We thought that was sorted early this year (2016) but she said it affected her till March
I argued it was okay to not be well but she needed to inform her supervisor who also suggested she took time off. He is not a bad guy at all, but a bit hands off as this is a distance learning PhD (Social Sciences). She is now working on 3 chapters but has not given me work to check in over year so now I am taking a stand because this is crucial now because she has 2 year, 4 months left (technically she is registered as part-time to reduce her fee but she is working full time on the PhD). I am not an aggressive guy at all and I was far more laid back, but now I seem much more stronger than her supervisor cos I live with her everyday.
My bullshit Thai university causes us headaches and she has to help me with basic admin a lot (The university does not use email and all documents are in Thai). I sacrificed a lot over 10 years to be with my partner and spent 4.5 years on my own self-funded PhD so I am not a rich guy. We are living at the family home, I sacrifice my own privacy and independence to be with this girl (she is now 36)
I am trying to get her to show me some progress. Many Thai PhD students seem to struggle as their English is not so good but I don't mind helping as long as I get work to check. I feel trapped.
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