Undertaking a postgraduate degree is an exciting opportunity to expand your knowledge and skills, and gain enriching experiences that can transform your future. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend all your time devoted to studying.

Research suggests that a balanced approach to work and leisure is important for our wellbeing and sense of identity, as well as helping us to realise our potential. So, building wider learning and extracurricular activities into your Scholarship experience is not only a good way to recharge but could also benefit your Scholarship work and future career opportunities in ways you never knew.

To help you on your way to achieving the right balance, we’ve come up with some suggestions for developing knowledge and skills whilst also trying out something new in your free time!

Strengthen your development knowledge: top tips on staying connected

Development is a rapidly evolving sector with multiple actors responding to challenges all over the world. Keeping up with what’s happening in the sector can feel like a full-time job, so here are some easy ways to stay informed.

Follow leading organisations on social media

ODI is an independent think tank producing in-depth research that shapes policy around injustice and inequality. You can follow them at @ODI_Global on Twitter.

The Development Studies Association is a membership organisation that supports students, teachers, and researchers in global development. You can follow them at @devcomms on Twitter.

The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) is a research organisation that supports knowledge, action, and leadership for sustainable development. You can follow them at @IDS_UK on Twitter.

Read the latest global news in brief

The Guardian’s global development hub curates a range of stories on current development topics from all corners of the globe. Meanwhile, The Conversation’s global edition presents bite-size and research-based articles by academics that offer you in-depth analysis on current issues in the time it takes to travel to your morning lecture.

Listen to views from around the world

And if you’re pressed for time or just want a break from your screen, why not try listening to a podcast. The UN News – Global perspective, Human stories podcast presents expert interviews and daily news bulletins to keep you in the know. For another perspective, you could also tune into the BBC’s Global News Podcast which brings current affairs topics to the forefront in its daily broadcast.

Get active in your CSC Knowledge Hub

Join a CSC Knowledge Hub and start sharing news about your research, work, and events relevant to your field of interest. Hosted on LinkedIn, the Knowledge Hubs are a great way to connect with Scholars working in similar areas who will have knowledge and experience that can truly benefit your work. Each Hub is built on the contributions of its members, so the more you put in, the more you will get out!

Join the CSC Mentoring Programme

Applications for joining the 2022-2023 CSC Mentoring Programme are now closed. However, any applicants reading this should consider signing up for a Mentor when starting their Commonwealth Scholarship journey. You can find out more about the Programme and its perks on the Mentoring Programme page.

Expand your horizons: events, activities, and volunteering

Sometimes it can be difficult to see beyond the university campus bubble. But there are lots of events, activities, and groups across the UK that you can get involved in throughout your Scholarship.

Discover events and sites of interest near you

Take a look at the listings on Eventbrite and Facebook to find out about a host of exciting events where you live, whether you like music and art, sporting occasions, or just want to try out something new.

You can also set out on a trail of discovery wherever you’re based in the UK by checking out the best sights and places to visit in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

Reach out to your local community

If doing something practical is more your thing, you could get involved in your local community through volunteering. Do IT is a volunteering network where you can search for opportunities by interest, activity, or location and the National Council for Voluntary Organisation (NCVO) maps volunteering centres across the UK, so you can connect with organisations that are looking for volunteers near you. You could also try the Royal Voluntary Service for roles that specifically support people in need and help the National Health Service (NHS).

Alternatively, why not try taking up a new hobby to connect with old friends or make new ones. Take a look at these 40 hobby ideas from FutureLearn for inspiration on unlocking a new interest today.

Tap into the Commonwealth Scholar network

Last but by no means least, remember to get involved in your Regional Networks. The Networks help you to meet other Scholars studying at the same university or UK region as you, as well as hosting  social, networking, and academic events throughout the year.

The new Regional Network Coordinators will be organising their first events soon, but they need you to support the regional community and steer the direction of each network. You can join your Regional Network Facebook group now to take the first step in supporting your regional Scholar community!