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Kendra’s going back to school fund

Posted in - academia, featured on June 18th 2015 0 Comments

Dear friends,

I’m going back to London in the fall to pursue a Master’s degree in Museum Studies at University College London, and to reunite with my boyfriend of nearly three years, Robbie, and our cat/site mascot Lulu. To help me pay tuition and get by in the city, I bit the bullet and set up a GoFundMe campaign to ask for donations.

I realize that not everyone agrees with this particular method of fundraising. However, my stance is that if people want to donate, they will. If not, they don’t have to.

The Story:

From fall 2010 to early 2014 I had the great good fortune to be living in London, England, where I received an MA in Film Studies, met the love of my life, got a cat, wrote a book (see photo above), helped curate an exhibition, made a lot of great friends and contacts, and started building a life. And then my post-study work visa expired, and because my place of work was unable to offer sponsorship, I had to leave it all behind and move home to California.

Needless to say it was difficult. Robbie and I hoped that I would be able to go back to the UK last fall on an unmarried partnership visa – we had been together for the required two years – but because we had only lived together for one year, he was unable to sponsor me. So for the past year I’ve been thinking of how I could go back and resume my life in London.

The path of least resistance is to go back to school, and this actually turns out to be a great opportunity for me. Back in 2013 I was given an internship in the photographs department at the National Portrait Gallery, and got to co-curate a photography exhibition about my favorite actress, Vivien Leigh. That experience was a wake-up call for me. I felt like I’d finally found a line of work where I could combine my loves of writing and archival research, and present those in a public facing way. I felt like I was “at home” in that environment. But getting in to the museum field is tough these days without a museum studies or archiving degree.

Lulu the Kitty

Lulu the British shorthair

Here’s the good news: I applied for and have been accepted into the Museum Studies MA program at University College London, one of the most prestigious courses of its kind in the UK. They even offer a work placement in the second semester (just the kind of thing I was looking for)! I’ve accepted the offer, and am heading off at the end of August.

But there’s a catch: As a non-UK and non-EU national, I have to pay overseas tuition, which for this one-year course is £17,000 (roughly $26,000), not including living expenses. I currently have a full-time job, some savings, some projects in the pipeline. I will also be taking out a loan from good ol’ Uncle Sam, and have applied for a scholarship through the university. However, this combined is not quite enough to attend the course and be able to get by in the city.

Kendra and Robbie

Robbie and I

After much internal debate, as well as running the idea by friends on social media, I’ve decided to create this crowdfunding page to ask for your help. As mentioned above, I applied for a general scholarship through UCL (that being the only one I qualified for as an overseas, non-secular humanities student). But as June comes to a close, it is less and less likely that I’ll be a recipient of this financial aid. The goal amount on my gofundme page ($15,000) reflects the dollar equivalent of that scholarship. I know it’s a lot of money, and I don’t expect to raise that much. However, any money raised here will go toward tuition and expenses like food, transportation and rent. I see this journey as one that has the potential to be mutually beneficial in the long run.

Please consider making a donation to help me get back to Robbie and Lulu, and to help me pursue my career as a museum curator. Every little bit helps.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.

Lots of love,

Kendra

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