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Bournemouth University Scholarship student, Clara Zhijin Chen must have thought she was seeing double on results day. On the very day as she received her BA (Hons) in Communication & Media, Clara was also awarded a LTCL Diploma from Trinity College of Music, London – a second degree level qualification!

A second pianist and music scholarship student, Martina Mercinelli from Italy, also gained her LTCL Diploma, again from Trinity College of Music, London this year, while also studying for a Master’s in Forensic Anthropology at Bournemouth University, which she achieved just recently.

Bournemouth University’s music department offers scholarships to support musically-talented students and provides tutors who travel from London each week, nurturing the further training of these musicians and encouraging their success.

Clara and Martina have been able to flourish through the programme and, for one, Clara is delighted with her results. “I really feel the music department at Bournemouth University has helped me grow, not just with my music but, more broadly, it has given me the confidence to succeed with my academic studies and aim for further challenges in life.” said Clara who is now embarking on a Masters in Project Management, again at Bournemouth.

As well as both being pianists, Clara and Martina are two of Bournemouth University’s current 2,500 international students. While Martina is from Italy, Clara grew up in Switzerland and then, at the age of ten, moved to Shanghai with her Chinese mother. “I didn’t even know where Bournemouth was!” she says “but I’d been to London once and was obsessed with British culture, through television and music.” When I looked at studying abroad, I saw that Bournemouth University offered great media courses covering lots of different things I was interested in.”

As well as sharing Clara’s love of music, Martina is just as talented at sport, too. She has been able to pursue this passion, too, during her undergraduate and postgraduate studies at Bournemouth University, winning the university boxing championships in 2015.

Clara is enjoying her time on England’s South West coast. “You can access the beach so easily. Where I may have been overwhelmed in a large city like London, it’s very chilled here and it’s so easy to meet up with friends to enjoy life in this town.” One thing Clara has really enjoyed is performing with the support of Bournemouth University’s music department, too.

“I want to tell people to come along to our regular concerts or join the choir, it’s a good way to meet friends. We have performed at Winchester and Salisbury Cathedrals and I have had people say really nice things about my concerts – it’s been wonderful.”

Having now completed her studies, Martina has found employment with a US organisation, working to identify and recover missing American Soldiers from the wars of the 20th century. While Clara aims for a career in the music industry supporting other talented musicians, for now she will focus on studying for her masters and performing for pleasure. Do look out for her appearances on Bournemouth’s concert programme again this year.


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