Anjali Abirami Kugarajh

Anjali joined our seaside city from Norway to study MPhys Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology

4 min read

Since the age of 5, I’ve wanted to become an astronaut. As I got older and read more about the discoveries made in the universe, my wish to become an astronaut grew into a wish to study and research the universe. 

I‘m an international student from Norway. From a young age I wanted to study astrophysics and cosmology, and to learn more about the universe we live in. 

I’ve always loved to travel and see new places, so when I was looking at universities to attend I researched various universities and towns. There were a few things about Portsmouth that caught my attention — including having the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation. The fact that I would be taught by lecturers that are experts in their fields was a big motivator for me to apply. 

In Norway I lived in a small town close to the sea and surrounded by nature, so I wanted to go somewhere similar. I liked the look of Portsmouth. I’ve always loved living by the sea, and the town itself looked amazing in pictures. Portsmouth was the perfect place to study for me, it had everything I wanted. 

As an international student I was worried I would struggle in adapting but I have enjoyed living in Portsmouth. 

Anjali Kugarajh, MPhys Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology graduate

I went to an international school from 6 years old, so language wasn’t a problem for me.  

My main worry before arriving in Portsmouth was if I would be able to adjust to the culture or find the things I need, but in a couple of days I was well adjusted and found everything just fine. 

Portsmouth is a great student town; everything is close by, and I never struggled to find places. When I did have questions, I always got help from the university. 

My first week in Portsmouth was during the International Students’ Welcome Week. The International Office and their student ambassadors had a great week with lots of activities planned out to make it much easier to get to know people. I met one of my closest friends during that week even though we don’t study the same course. It was great to meet people in the same boat as I was in, and we got to bounce ideas between each other and help each other out. 


My favourite part in Portsmouth was the seaside. On bright and sunny days, I loved going out to the seaside, or to the park, and getting something to eat or drink. It was always a nice feeling to get some fresh air from the sea. During exam season, a stroll by the beach was always nice to de-stress, relax and clear my mind. 


Anjali Kugarajh, MPhys Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology graduate

One of my favourite things about my degree is the close contact we have with our lecturers. All of my lecturers have been open and willing to help and I’m not afraid to ask questions thanks to their openness. 

I’m proud of my Master’s project on theoretical cosmology.  I’ve always liked theory and maths and so this project was perfect for me. I learnt to work more independently and manage my time, and enjoyed using everything I had learned from my past modules. 

I did projects with the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation over two summers in my degree. In both projects I was studying papers within theoretical cosmology, where I analysed the papers and derived results. Both projects helped me experience what research feels like and prepared me for my masters project. I also gained skills such as problem-solving, independent learning and communication skills, which have helped in my studies but also in day-to-day life outside of my education. 

I am now doing a PhD in Astroparticle Physics at Gran Sasso Science Insitute in L’Aquila, Italy. My project is specifically on theoretical cosmology, early universe, stochastic gravitational wave background and primordial black hole research.

When I started applying for PhDs, I really appreciated all the help I got from the Careers and Employability Service. They looked through my CV and motivational letter thoroughly and I got great feedback both through email and video calls. My personal tutor has also been a great help. Having a personal tutor was helpful in both adjusting to university and having academic support. 

If I could give my past-self one piece of advice, it would be to not let any opportunity go. Try everything, as it might not come back in the future. When you try everything, you open many doors and you’ll have a chance to grow. 

Portsmouth has provided me with great education, experience and support. I have been able to meet great people, both students and lecturers, who have been a great help through my time here at Portsmouth. If you want this same feeling, then studying at Portsmouth is the way to go.

Anjali Kugarajh, MPhys Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology graduate

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