IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Q&A with Suhlim Hwang

Suhlim Hwang is a Psychology and Human Development PhD student at IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society.

Psychology and Human Development PhD student Suhlim Hwang

Hi Suhlim! Tell us about your journey into UCL and university study.

I graduated with a BA degree in Education, and worked as a primary school teacher in South Korea. My experience as a teacher strengthened my determination to learn psychology and its application in the educational context, so I applied for a postgraduate programme. I received my Education (Psychology) MA from the Psychology and Human Development Department at IOE and now I am studying a PhD in the same department.

What do you find interesting about your field of study and what inspires you?

While some teachers are successful in establishing and maintaining positive relationships with children with behavioural difficulties, many often struggle in their relationship with them. I was one of those teachers and dealing with behaviourally difficult children was the most challenging thing that I faced as a teacher in the classroom. I hope that my PhD research can provide useful information for teachers like me and help both students and teachers to be happy in their classroom. 

How do you think the system of learning and researching at UCL differs from that in your home country?

The vertical relationship based on age or hierarchy in South Korean school disturbs lively exchanges and discussion between a teacher/lecturer and students. The system of learning and researching at UCL encourages a free and frank exchange of views and ideas between supervisors and students, as well as walking students through a great guideline and support. 

Why did you apply to the IOE for graduate study?

IOE is the best in the field of education and has been ranked as the number one in QS ranking by subject for the sixth year in a row. Studying at UCL provides the opportunity to engage in a group of capable researchers from all over the world.

What is it like studying in London and how do you think it has benefited your studies?
London is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world. You can meet people from many different countries and discuss diverse perspectives on your study field. These diverse cultural perspectives can inspire creativity and provide better opportunities for personal and professional growth. 

What is the best thing about your course?

I can be trained as an independent researcher and, at the same time, have the opportunity to interact with others who have a diversity of viewpoints about educational psychology.  

What are your career plans once you’ve completed your PhD?

I hope to get a post-doctoral fellowship in child psychology. I attended the workshop on applying for academic jobs and interviews that my supervisor Jennifer Allen organised for members of the Shine research lab. It was a good opportunity to consider the elements that should be prepared in advance during my PhD programme.

I also attended an international conference and presented my research. It was a great opportunity to get feedback from many people who are studying the same field and to discuss a variety of approaches with established researchers from many different countries.