Meet our 2014-15 Scholars

This year Keele is welcoming students on the Santander, Tullow Group, Commonwealth and Chevening Scholarship programmes, as well as recipients of Keele's own Country Scholarship. Our Scholars talk about their life before Keele, receiving their scholarships and arriving at Keele, plus their hopes and dreams for the year ahead.

Samuel – Ghana

Samuel – Ghana, Tullow Group Scholar samuel

MSc. Environmental Sustainability and Green Technology

What were you doing before you came to Keele?

“Before I came to Keele, back in Ghana I was teaching Mathematics in a secondary school, which is also the school I myself attended: Baidoo Bonsoe Senior High Technical School in Agona-Ahanta in the Western Region of Ghana. I saw the advert on Internet that Tullow, in cooperation with British Council, were giving scholarships to young enterprising Ghanaians. So I thought it wise to put in an application. I thought that having a UK education and especially the type of programme that I saw at Keele - Environmental Sustainability and Green Technology - it would be good to get that exposure outside of Ghana.”

Why did you choose Keele?

“I chose Keele particularly for the programme. Personally I am interested in renewable energies, that was my interest. And having read the profile, I realised that Keele is very strong when it comes to Environmental Sustainability programmes. So I have to go for Keele!”

Describe how you felt when you learnt that you had received the scholarship?

It was so so amazing, I don’t know how to describe it. One Sunday after church I was just lying on my bed, and I thought let me check my mails on my phone. I just checked my mail and saw ‘tentatively you have been awarded a scholarship’ and I was like WOW, I don’t know how.. I just exploded! I was very happy!”

How have your first few weeks been – what are your first impressions of Keele?

“My first impression: very very interesting and good. Any office you go, either you need help, or you’re going somewhere and you’ve missed your way, everybody is ready to direct you, to give you that good reception. Every office you attend, they are just ready to help – the library, the Hub, I mean everywhere, the accommodation… it’s just fantastic at Keele.”

What are your hopes, dreams and ambitions for the year ahead?

Well we just started academic week. So my aspiration is to be able to know what the lecturers want from me, being able to understand them, and being able to get the required knowledge, because I have really suffered and gone through a lot for this opportunity. So if I’ve gotten it, the payback is to get the necessary knowledge for me to take back home.”

Fabian – Colombia

Fabian Fabian – Colombia, Santander Scholar

LLM Law and Society

What were you doing before you came to Keele?

“I graduated from my LLB in Colombia on December 2012. But prior to that I was working for the Colombian government, in childhood, elderly, everything that’s do to with family matters. And I worked for 4 years at Colombian government.”

Why did you choose Keele?

“The first reason is that after my job, I realised that I really like the topic that I was working in… so afterwards I started searching through the Internet for different universities where I could find it and I saw the Keele LLM on Law and Society, and it had some modules that could help me out in what I was trying to look, and so that was it – I then started searching a little bit more about Keele and I realised that it was a really good option. And that was the main reason! And the second reason was that I realised it was going to be the same cost studying in Colombia or studying abroad, and I realised that for my life experience it was better to do it abroad, and to be not only in England but Europe and have that experience of living outside my country.”

Describe how you felt when you learnt that you had received the scholarship?

“It was great! I was at a friend’s lunch for her birthday, and I received the message in which it was announced that I gained the scholarship, I was so excited! I had been talking to my wife and we knew that it was going to be much more difficult without that money. I mean we had our savings but having the scholarship just made it all so easier.”

How have your first few weeks been – what are your first impressions of Keele?

“It’s just so beautiful, the campus is wonderful. It’s so big, so green, I love it. And besides that, all that has to be with administrative stuff and everything, it’s very organised and what I like the most is that despite the fact that my teachers have all this diplomas and stuff and social status, they don’t care about that, they just sit with you and talk to you. The welcome was really really good, it’s really nice to be here.”

What are your hopes, dreams and ambitions for the year ahead?

“Besides of course of graduating from my Master’s, I want to take the most advantage of all this experience, I want to make the most of it, to live it to the maximum. Get to know people, get to know UK’s culture (we have already tried the food, and pints!). But that would be it, besides my Master’s degree, that’s the most important – I want to make the most of it!”

Olumuyiwa – Nigeria

Olumuyiwa – Nigeria, Commonwealth Scholar olumuyiwa

MSc Environmental Sustainability and Green Technology

What were you doing before you came to Keele?

“I actually had this one year national service in Nigeria, because it’s mandatory for any Nigerian graduate to undergo a one year service after the normal degree, it’s like a community service to your fatherland. So I completed that in early February, and since then I’ve been trying to apply to schools, for my MSc. My first degree was in Zoology at the University of Lagos, Nigeria.”

Why did you choose Keele?

“From undergraduate I had this interest in an Environment course, even my undergraduate thesis was on the effects of industrial effluents on fishes in the Lagos lagoon -- Many of our animals are going extinct mainly due to anthropogenic activities. So the Environmental Sustainability in Keele offered a focus on my interests and the opportunity to further my interests.”

Describe how you felt when you learnt that you had received the scholarship?

“Actually I made the scholarship application to two schools and I wasn’t offered Commonwealth scholarship at the first school… but I was still optimistic, I just felt like maybe there was still a chance. Late June I was just watching TV and then I got this mail and it was the best news of the year. So I checked the mail and I couldn’t even believe any more I had to go to my parents and tell them see... I had to get someone else to read the mail because sometimes you get so elated and excited that you feel that it’s not possible. And so I was happy!”

How have your first few weeks been – what are your first impressions of Keele?

“Before I came I actually, you’d see me downloading lots of Youtube videos on Keele University, so I kind of familiarised myself with some of the systems  like the library. Coming here, it was like you’re dreaming and then seeing the dream come true. I entered Keele, and everything is green and cool. So it’s okay in terms of academic too, I’ve attended some lectures and the conversation has been okay – it’s kind of a friendly interaction between you and your colleagues, even the lecturers! It’s a big difference to where I come from and I appreciate the fact that I have an opportunity to learn in this kind of system.”

What are you hopes, dreams and ambitions for the year ahead?

“Over the years I just keep learning - I just keep improving from secondary school to university. I want to create an excellent impression – I’m going higher now, being in Keele and I want to be better than what I actually did for my undergraduate. I’m optimistic, I know I will do it. It’s a new environment, and it’s a challenge actually, but I know I will do well with God’s help!”

Thidaporn – Thailand

Thidaporn – Thailand, Keele Country Scholar

MSc Physiotherapy (Neurology)

What were you doing before you came to Keele?

 “Before I came to Keele I worked for 2 years in Physiotherapy department in the hospital. And then I want to study more in particular field of physiotherapy. So, I decided to study again, in an overseas country!”

Why did you choose Keele?

“Firstly because Keele has the module that I’m interested in, because I wanted to study about Physiotherapy in Neurology. Secondly, my IELTS wasn’t high enough but Keele has a suitable pre-sessional English course, it’s all suitable for me – so I chose Keele!”

Describe how you felt when you learnt that you had received the scholarship?

“I felt so happy, peaceful and felt thankful to Keele for give me a great opportunity, because it’s a lot of money and it’s helped me and helped my Mum. Because if I didn’t have a scholarship I would try myself to keep and save a lot, but now I have the scholarship I can feel more relaxed.”

How have your first few months been – what are your first impressions of Keele?

When I first arrived and got to the accommodation, and had the Welcome I felt so warm inside! And when I took the pre-sessional English course, I found that staff in Keele are very warm, welcoming and lovely. They are keen to help you with everything, if you have a problem you just ask them, and they will give you the answer - if they don’t know they will find someone to give you the answer. I feel so good with Keele.”

What are your hopes, dreams and ambitions for the year ahead?

I hope I can have more ability with clinical thinking for my area and career. I think I will gain a lot of experience, because in Thailand I live with my Mum and my Mum prepares everything for me. But here I prepare everything by myself and try to do new things, try to meet new people and make new friends. I think after one year I will have a very beautiful memory and experience here.”

Linh – Vietnam

Linh – Vietnam, Chevening Scholar Linh

MSc Finance and Management

What were you doing before Keele?

“Before coming to Keele I have 4 years' experience in Banking industry. I worked for HSBC and then ANZ (The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited). My last position was Business Development Manager at ANZ Vietnam."

Why did you choose Keele?

“I would like to develop my career in the financial industry, and ideally to become a financial consultant. That job will require broaden knowledge in advanced finance as well as the management skills. Therefore, I would like to pursue the Keele Master’s in Finance and Management. I chose Keele because first of all, the University has a competitive ranking, secondly Keele has a high ranking for graduate employment, the third reason is because one of my friends studied here and recommended it for me. Last but not least, Keele is ranked number one for student satisfaction (2014-2016)."

Describe how you felt when you learnt that you had received the scholarship?

“I have to say that achieving the prestigious Chevening scholarship is one of my most important achievements so far – it’s really fantastic because I have the chance to make my dreams come true! On the other hand, the competition for Chevening this year was very tough. There were only 6 successful candidates  were chosen all over Vietnam from more than 200 applicants, so being one of those 6 people is a great honour to me!"

How have your first few weeks been – what are your first impressions of Keele?

“My first impression was that the campus is pretty. It is autumn now so the sight is beautiful like in a poem. The weather was very nice, sunny and not very cold, so it's quite comfortable to me. Additionally, I am happy that I have some new friends, who are very warm and nice. For the study, I was impressed that our university has many teams and programs to support for the transition and learning of students, especially the international students."

What are your hopes, dreams and ambitions for the year ahead?

“First of all I would like to widen my knowledge in advanced finance, because my future job will require analytical techniques and understanding of corporate finance and the financial market. Secondly, I want to improve myself to be a global citizen. Besides that, I love travelling so I hope that would like to have chance to explore the UK as well as Europe, to understand more about the people and culture of those places."

Naomi – Ghana

Naomi Naomi – Ghana, Commonwealth Scholar

MA Politics and International Relations (Diplomatic Studies)

What were you doing before Keele?

“I completed my undergraduate in 2012 - I read Political Science and Sociology at the University of Ghana. In my country after your graduation you do National Service, so I had just finished with that and I was working with a financial institution. I wanted to further my studies and then I got the Commonwealth Scholarship!”

Why did you choose Keele?

“That’s a great question! I applied to a lot of schools, but one thing I realised about Keele is how students are being treated, especially international students. I was talking to someone at Keele and then the reception that this person gave me, I really thought that when I come here, it’s going to be better than going anywhere else. And also the campus, it’s really nice – a lot of trees! That’s one thing I like about UK, you have a lot of trees here, it makes the air very fresh and the environment very calm.”

Describe how you felt when you learnt that you had received the scholarship?

“It was a great elation for me! When I first went on the net to read a bit about Commonwealth, I thought that the package was great, and so when I received it I was so happy! I was so thankful to God for being part of it, I was very very happy.”

How have your first few weeks been – what are your first impressions of Keele?

“What I can say is that the people are very receptive, and they are always willing to help if you have any difficulty. And then also things in UK are not like back home – everything is opposite here! So sometimes you have to face some issues. And then the weather too! People have been saying that I’ve not seen anything yet! My block-mates too are friendly, and our lecturers are also nice, so generally I like the atmosphere so far.”

What are your hopes, dreams and ambitions for the year ahead?

“With this new environment and this new opportunity, I would like to explore more. I want to learn more, I want to get acquainted with the social life too, because it’s not all about book book book! And then also with my academics, you know study here is really intensive compared to Ghana, so I need to do a lot of readings, I have a lot of readings to do. So I want to be a better person, I want to be a better person than I came.”