Cara Skikne

Education is the link between nature and magic


Every enrolment is a story worth telling

Meet Annie and Bianca

At Studyportals we are proud to have helped more than 485,000 students to find the course that transports them to a completely new place to work towards their dreams. Every enrolment is a story worth telling. We’d like to tell you about two students with two distinct ambitions, who we got to know when they won two of our International Distinction Awards.


Annie Diao                                                 Bianca Morgan

Relocated to Malta from China as a child, Annie Diao was enchanted by language from an early age. Her voracious reading led to a parental ban at age 11, so she started to write her own stories. At this stage, however, a career as a writer seemed unattainable.

Then at 17, unmotivated by her biology and chemistry studies, a teacher suggested looking for an international opportunity that would enable her to pursue her real passion. Annie told us: ‘I knew that I wanted to write. But there are so many universities worldwide, how would I find the right fit for me?’ The multiculturalism of Malta had always been a fascination for Annie, and she knew that experiencing another new, different culture would be beneficial to her development as a writer.

Teaching at a Canadian school in Egypt, Bianca Morgan wanted to study outdoor education and knew that Scandinavia is at the forefront. We signposted an MA in Outdoor and Sustainability in Sweden that would allow her to immerse herself in the culture as she learned. She explains: ‘In Sweden, this is not an idea or a theory, it’s a way of life. Nature is everywhere and as the world woke up, they developed it as a pedagogy.’

As you move education outside, the dynamic shifts between teacher and student. ‘Children think and behave differently. They can actually feel the energy from trees, instead of just being sat down and told that they give oxygen,’ Bianca explains. Our urgent need to address environmental decline starts with children, she believes: ‘They are losing connection with nature, so what will be their reason to preserve it?’

Annie’s choice of location, Edinburgh, where she is studying an MA in Creative Writing, is also influencing the stories she writes: ‘Scottish folklore and myths are so interesting. Edinburgh is rich in arts and culture and I really love the vibe. I like dark humor and fantasy and Edinburgh feels like a modern, gothic fairytale.’

Bianca plans to return to teaching post-study to see her work put into practice: ‘I have this battle with education. I love it, and I also want to revolutionise it.’ She has written a 9-week unit for schools that will form the basis of her Ph.D. Could she be tempted to move into a policy role? ‘I like the grassroots. But at some point, I might think, ok this works, I need to take it wider.’

As far as her future, Annie is deferring her decision as to the first story she wants to tell, but dreams of making a similarly profound impact: ‘I think that genre doesn’t matter. I just want to write something that makes its mark on the reader. What is so amazing and terrifying about words, is their power to change you.’

Individuals like Annie and Bianca inspire us to keep making connections between aspiring students and the opportunities that will change their world, and ours, for the better.

When we started out, Studyportals wanted to send more students abroad to study than there are soldiers abroad. We did it! Up to now, we helped 485,000 students to find their dream study. While we can only track part of our students, we know our total impact is even larger!

Going forward, we have set ourselves a smaller target – 0.

We want to see a world where no one misses out on an educational opportunity because of a lack of information.



If you would like to get involved and contribute towards this goal, you can find out more at

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