Tatiana is a current student, carrying out a PhD at the Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS)

Tatiana Suarez

Why did you choose your programme?  

I chose the Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) for its long-trajectory and international reputation as a centre of academic excellence and hub for a community of students and academic researching the continent from various disciplines and using various methodologies.  

In addition, the flexible study options offered at SAS –including part-time study which allowed me to keep my job while doing my PhD –was a major determinant in my choice of institution. 


What aspect of the programme have you most enjoyed so far? 

I have enjoyed the opportunity to choose from a wide range of PhD training session from the SAS in-house training courses and the shared skills training programme run by the Bloomsbury Postgraduate Skills Network (BSPN). I have been able to attend sessions aimed at enhancing both my generic research and personal transferable skills at several BSPN participating institutions, including UCL, Birkbeck, and SOAS.  

I have also enjoyed having access to a very dynamic and multidisciplinary community, that is continuously striving to create bridges between Latin America and the rest of the world. 

Mostly, I have enjoyed an excellent relation with my supervisor who has encouraged me to bring a multidisciplinary perspective on to the study of post-war transitions and conflict resolutions. I have also been inspired and have felt encouraged to develop my full potential by both my supervisors and peers in my home institute at SAS. 


What facilities and resources are on offer and have you made use of at the Institute and School of Advanced Study? 

Senate House Library has an unparalleled range of resources in Latin American studies. The library staff and its subject area specialists are dedicated and friendly and are always attentive to the needs and queries of the library users. I have also used other libraries at the SAS institutes and have enjoyed participating and attending various seminars, workshops, panel discussions and other relevant events organised at SAS, which is located in the heart of central London. 

What is your experience of the teaching and teaching practices at the Institute? 

I have attended a wide variety of training sessions on various topics that have been carefully chosen according to my needs. Access to a focussed training on Oral History delivered at the Institute of Historical Research (IHR) for example was invaluable in preparing me for my ethnographic fieldwork. 

How do you think your experience of studying the course will help you in the future?  

Studying at SAS has given me a wide vision of what being a PhD student entails and has enabled me to establish connections, acquire relevant skills and expertise on various areas and to explore and prepare for my future career. I believe that being awarded a degree by SAS and the University of London will be key to building a successful career as an academic or practitioner in my research area. 

What, if any, was your experience of funding? 

During my second year, I was able to secure an AHRC-sponsored studentship from the London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP), which covers my fees, provides an annual stipend to assist with living expenses and offers the opportunity to apply for additional support for training. 

I was also successful in obtaining a Post-Graduate Travel Grant from the Society for Latin American Studies, which helped me cover for my trip to Colombia to conduct fieldwork.  

Finally, I also received financial assistance from the SAS Hardship Grant which allowed me to alleviate financial constraints during the off-work year I took in order to prepare and conduct fieldwork. 

What would you say to someone who is considering studying this programme? 

If you are thinking about conducting multi-disciplinary, specialist research within the humanities and social sciences on Latin America and the Caribbean, at CLACS you will be joining a long-established, welcoming community of dedicated students, and scholars. You will also have the opportunity to engage with academic staff and involve in SAS’s wider activities, which include a wide range of subjects and focussed events. 

Please provide any additional comments or relevant information about your experiences.  

Apart from the personalised support and guidance offered by my supervisor, SAS has been prompt to take measures to assist students with deadline extensions as well as mental and wellbeing resources. Finally, the SAS students-run organisation SASiety has been very key in helping students access social and academic contacts and support, creating a sense of community and providing a social space for fun events and ideas.