Meet our 2015-16 Scholars

This year Keele welcomes students on the Santander, Commonwealth and Chevening Scholarship programmes, as well as recipients of Keele's own Country Scholarship and Keele-Kenya Scholarship. We asked our Scholars about their life before Keele, receiving their scholarships and arriving at Keele, plus their hopes and dreams for the year ahead.

James - Kenya

James, Kenya – Keele Kenya Scholar
MSc Environmental Sustainability and Green Technology

 

What were you doing before you came to Keele?

Working at an architectural firm; working on designs for recreational facilities. I was involved in design and had been working there since graduation.

Why did you choose Keele?

Keele had a good reputation in the environmental and sustainability agenda. My experience showed that the world is moving that way, with an increased interest in sustainability issues. The course also connected well with my previous studies in Urban and Regional planning and I would like to explore how the two can be integrated.

Describe how you felt when you learnt you had received the scholarship?
One word – ecstatic! I found out at the office after a long day at work, when I checked my email and saw the congratulations email I started celebrating and dancing in the office and after sharing the news with my colleagues I went home to celebrate with my family.

How have your first few weeks been – what are your first impressions of Keele?
Amazing. The university has met my expectations. I’m impressed by the campus environment and how serene it is, everything is very ordered compared to previous experiences in my home country, it is silent and serene. I have been impressed by the classes which are in the form of seminars where there is continued interaction with all the lecturers and the fellow students.

What are your hopes, dreams and ambitions for the year ahead?
I have set a path for myself and my ultimate goal would be to do a PhD here at Keele or anywhere else within the UK, focusing on the environment and climate change. This year is a once in a lifetime experience and I want to make the most of it - every sphere of the university and to gain as much knowledge as possible. I have also set myself a personal goal to prepare as many dishes as possible, making foods from many different countries and cultures.

Mohamed - Egypt

Mohamed, Egypt – Chevening Scholar
MSc Financial Risk Management

What were you doing before you came to Keele?

I used to work as a credit analyst for one of the major commercial banks in Egypt. I wanted to study a Masters degree in finance. England was the destination that I wanted to study and spend one year at. I concluded good research to find a module that can provide me with the right knowledge and skills to develop my career

Why did you choose Keele?

Keele University was a perfect choice for three reasons:  

First as I chose to study MSc in Financial Risk Management which is in line with my career and is adding to me a lot of technical skills and knowledge that I needed to carry my career further.

Second Keele University ratings were very good in finance field among my short listed universities.

The third and equally important reason was the location, as located in a spectacular English country side, Keele was a nice place to spend a year studying away from the crowded cities that I am used to and also the quietness helps me to focus more on my studies.

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

It was so great to know that my Chevening Scholarship application was accepted and that I was going to study my MSc at the United Kingdom, my parents even made me a party that evening. I was so excited that I booked to arrive one week before my course start date.

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

When I arrived I spent a lot of time wondering around and preparing my room for the years stay. It was nice September weather and as being my first time to the UK I had a lot to find out. The university held a welcome week for all international students with many activities and free meals, I met other students so I made new friends and started acting as part of two student societies back then

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

I hope that this year to be very productive in academic and social levels, I have a lot of knowledge to acquire and I hope to be able to get satisfying academic scores.

Kannikar - Thailand

Kannikar, Thailand – Keele Country Scholar

MSc Physiotherapy

What were you doing before you came to Keele?

Before studying at Keele I had three years’ experience working in a physiotherapy department in a private hospital in Thailand. After I had treated many patients and gained more experience I thought I had to study abroad to improve my skills and develop my academic measure.

Why did you choose Keele?

I think Keele is the best university because it is ranked 2nd in the UK for Physiotherapy. Secondly, Keele is 1st for student satisfaction (NSS, 2016) and I think this is good for international students. Finally my friend had recommended Keele to me; she really liked Keele and thought it was very friendly and warm.

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

To be honest I was amazed. I sent the scholarship essay and thought it was too late because I had a mistake communicating with my agency in Thailand. I am very grateful to Keele and glad I came here.

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

I came for the pre-sessional course and came to Keele in the summer; I think the campus is very beautiful, it is green, beautiful and colourful with the flowers, and I like it. I find Keele is very friendly and the staff are very helpful -  if I have any questions I ask and they help me.

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

Firstly I plan to study for the year as my major is hard. I think I will gain lots of experience in Keele as it is my first time studying overseas. I want to gain knowledge for my career from my department because my tutor is very expert. After I finish my course I plan to travel in the UK. I want to learn the western culture as it is quite different from Thailand; sometimes I think this but my friends thinks something else, it is quite different but I am happy to study and learn together.

 

Rodgerson - Uganda

Rodgerson, Uganda - Commonwealth Scholar

MA Human Rights, Globalisation and Justice

 


What were you doing before you came to Keele?

After my undergraduate degree I was working with a travel and tour company. Although my background is not in tourism, it is in human resources, tourism is a person interest of mine, as I am an adventurous person and it gave me an opportunity to fulfil that part of my life. I’ve always held a desire to pursue further study in the area of human rights and law. I want to be able to contribute to human rights system in my country.

Why did you choose Keele?

Of all the universities that I saw, I realised that Keele had the course that I was interested in, that being Human Rights, Globalisation and Justice. Also the location of Keele is conducive for learning purposes, it is not in the middle of town, for example where there is a lot of noise, the environment gives you time to concentrate and study well. Keele was chosen to be the UK number one university for student satisfaction and I was interested in knowing and experiencing what it was all about.

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

It was unbelievable. I thought it was impossible or a myth that people got the scholarships,  I could not believe it was true. I was very happy to be given the scholarship and the opportunity to advance my studies and to be able to get the opportunity to develop as a person and in my career.

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

I researched Keele and its surroundings on the internet and when I arrived I was happy to see that what I used to see back at home on the internet was exactly what I found here. The experiences here are so good: the people are friendly and welcoming; the institution has the equipment needed to pursue different courses; the staff are friendly and very helpful in everything we needed. As new students we have different issues; you don’t know who to consult, where the classes are etc., it was a new world altogether and the staff really helped us. The orientation was very interesting; it helped us to settle in quite easily.

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

I drew my plans from the course that I’m doing. I hope I’ll gain the necessary skills after my course to be able to impact on human rights systems in Africa and in particularly in Uganda. There is a need to develop a team of professionals in human rights and justice to address problems in order to see a peaceful Africa, and I will be pleased to contribute to the development of the human rights system. As part of my career I would like to engage with the UN in Geneva and take an internship, to give me leverage to see how international systems work, and relate this to day to day situations in Africa.

 

Camila - Colombia

Camila, Colombia - Santander Scholar

LLM, International Law

 


What were you doing before you came to Keele?

Before I came to Keele I was working in my country as a Lawyer for a few years, when I realized that I wanted to study abroad. So I started to look at some programs and I also spoke with one of my closest friend that used to study here and he loves Keele.

Why did you choose Keele?

The program of the LLM was exactly what I wanted and I have really good references about Keele.  

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

After I applied to Keele I applied for a scholarship and when I received it, it was amazing because I am here with a loan and that helps me a lot. Also it is great to see that Keele recognized my previous grades and achievements.

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

When I arrived everything was new but exciting and the people are really kind and helps you a lot. I joined a running club and I made new friends. It is remarkable for me how complete is Keele for you as an International student, they have everything for you, sports, religion, languages clubs that makes you feel part of something.

In my photo, I was a running Santa in a charity event, another amazing thing of Keele they help everyone.

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

I hope to continue my learning process and in the future start applying it. I want to apply for an internship and develop new skills, and make new friends.

 

Aiah - Sierra Leone

Aiah , Sierra Leone - Commonwealth Shared Scholarship

MA Diplomatic Studies

 

What were you doing before you came to Keele?

When I graduated in 2011 I got a job at Standard Chartered Bank as a transaction banking officer and then later moved to another position as a business development executive.

Why did you choose to come to Keele?

There were three reasons:

  • Keele had the type of environment similar to where I grew up; Njala University, where my father is working.
  • Keele had a unique programme and my career aspiration seemed to fit with the programme that Keele was offering, so I felt it was the perfect choice to apply   for the course (MA Politics and International Relations - Diplomatic Studies).
  • I saw the possibility of having funding by applying for the scholarship programme and being accepted by Keele.

Describe how you felt when you learnt you had received the Scholarship

In April Keele wrote to tell me that my application had been shortlisted for nomination and then a couple of weeks after I found out my application had not been successful, then in August when I was looking through my emails I saw a message saying that funding had become available and that I had been awarded the Commonwealth Shared scholarship, for me that was amazing and shocking. When I finally received the confirmation mail thereafter, I was sure and certain that I had received the award and I was very happy and overwhelmed and said to myself that my dream has come true.

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

Keele is a very hospitable university and integrating into Keele is easy. The staff are very supportive and for me it has been very interesting and relaxing. Keele feels like a family university. I have found it to be very accommodating.

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

Looking forward to completing the year successfully and to the days ahead when I shall return home to contribute to the development process of my country. Should I have the opportunity to pursue further studies for a PhD degree, I would choose Keele.

 

 

Betzy - Kenya

Betzy Bowen, Kenya – Commonwealth Scholar

MSC Environmental Sustainability and Green Technology

 

Photo Betzy Bowen What were you doing before you came to Keele?

Working for the Kenyan Industrial Research and Development Institute as a research scientist in the environmental management division.

Why did you choose Keele?

I choose Keele because of the course. I was looking for a course that cut across sustainability, while focussing on renewable energy. After going through so many universities, I finally settled for Keele as it was offering exactly what I wanted.

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

I was so excited. First before I got the scholarship, I applied for admission in 2014.After getting the admission, I saw on the Keele website that there was a partnership between Keele and Kenya to offer one scholarship position for a student coming to do the course, I applied and i was not successful. The passion and the determination to pursue the course persisted and I did not give up, and so in 2015 I applied for the Commonwealth shared scholarship and this time round I was nominated for the Scholarship and I was so happy.

 

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

Keele is a very beautiful and friendly university.  When I first came here I was not sure of what to expect, how people were going to treat me as it was my first time in England. I have been surprised by the hospitality that people offer here, everyone is so friendly and supportive, beginning with the course lecturers, the staff and even fellow students. They made me feel at home and feel that everything was going to be fine. That assurance has kept me going. My Personal tutor, Dr Sharon George has been very supportive and encouraging and I will forever be grateful to her.

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

I’m looking forward to making use of every opportunity that comes along. Apart from studying, I look forward to interacting and taking advantage of the opportunities the university offers to students, in terms of career development and preparation to face the future. I want to venture into entrepreneurship when I return to Kenya especially in renewable energy consultancy as there is lots of potential in Kenya in terms of renewable energy; we have a lot of resources that have not been tapped. I want to go back and be a key player in promoting sustainable development in Kenya as a means of eradicating poverty and protecting the environment.