3rd February, 2013 was the day I seriously embarked on my longtime dream of finding a scientific career to take. You may wonder why I recall the exact date, I am just good at numbers. On this day, I sat alone on my bed side table and scribbled some of the courses I thought were important to me. a) medical microbiology, b) molecular biology and c) molecular virology given the type of work I was doing then and the stuff I fancied, molecular biology was the most applicable course to me. I then embarked on looking for a University abroad that would have me as its student, this was a very challenging thing to do, given that there were tonnes of them offering the same course.
My three best options ended up being in the U.K. Why U.K? I had all the reasons to convince everyone that UK was my ultimate destination, I didn’t want to end up in a place where English wasn’t the formal language of communication. I wanted a place that I could easily fit in and not be worried about any language barrier issues. That said, I looked at the University rankings, regionally and internationally, and I selected Univesity of London, University of Nottingham and lastly the University of Manchester. With the first two Universities, I was not so lucky as the scholarships offered were either very competitive or offered partial funding. Whereas the University of Manchester offered complete scholarships under the Equity and Merit scholarship scheme. I later on applied for the University of Manchester scholarship and I was selected to do my dream course, Medical microbiology. This was the first time of my life to leave my home country for a full year on my own.
Being an international student in a vibrant city such as Manchester was worthwhile, I enjoyed every experience that each day brought. The system of education was one that I had longed for all my University life, it was engaging and stimulating. In a class of 30 students everyone was well catered for in terms in of studying materials and laboratory practical apparatus. I loved sitting in the Alan Gilbert e-library to do my research and course work assignments. The University staff were always willing to help and the University’s state of art facilities adequately facilitated my learning and consequently excelled in my studies.
I was very open minded and engaged in a lot of university activities that saw me build my CV, acquire a part time job at King’s house conference hall as a conference assistant and learning the British culture. I served as a University ambassador, scholarship ambassador, graced and gave speeches on a couple of Alumni and University functions. This experience built my confidence and changed my life positively. I learnt how to live by my own, plan my school life to balance the different activities I was doing. I learnt how to live in my financial means while enjoying myself. With the cultural diversity in Manchester, I leant about different cultures and norms, explored different delicacies, enjoyed fish and chips, the Traditional British staple meal. I learnt to say thank you and sorry where it’s due, not forgetting the “Are you alright?” In the British accent, I wish I could say it here😀. I learnt to keep time, if it’s 10am it’s supposed to be 10am not 10:05am and rain was never an excuse for non-attendance.
By the end of my course, I had travelled almost every part of Britain, experienced the different cultures, made a number of friends, tasted different foods from Asian to Arabic to Brazillian and West African cuisines, loved the different seasons, of which Spring was my best.
On the left( second from the back) as scholarship ambassador at the Alumni general meeting in London
Reading in the beautiful Alan Gilbert Learning commons library
Some of the tasty cuisines and pastries served on one of The many medical school functions.
Farewell luncheon of the Equity and Merit Scholarship students of my year
While I am sharing some of my experience, I know there could be someone out there who is contemplating or about to start a new life somewhere. One thing I know is that change is part of life. Most times we are scared of the unknown, freaked out by non-traversed grounds, scared of what tomorrow my bring but I tell you that change is good. Good change is one to look forward to. If it’s what your heart wants, then take the green light. When it’s all said and done, you will have the satisfaction that it was worth it. My studying in the UK has opened up many avenues that if I hadn’t taken this brave step, I would probably still be in where I was two years ago.
Please share your views on how to embrace change? How to start a new life? Will be glad to read your views and learn more on how to embrace change.