The International Scholarship changed my life
Nigeria / MSc Data Science
Ajayi Adegbemi is a student from Nigeria, studying MSc Data Science. He is thankful that one of his cousins who was studying in England sent him a link for University of Gloucestershire, knowing that he wanted to continue his education. Ajayi finished his undergraduate course in Nigeria and had years of working experience, but wanted to do a Masters as “education has always been a passion for me”.
The process of application he did himself, making sure that he uploaded all the correct documents. If he ever had a question, he would email one of the teams at the University. “The great thing I like about University of Gloucestershire is that you can send an email, and within 48 working hours you get a reply.”
Ajayi encountered some challenges with the January start date but all was resolved thanks to the University’s flexibility. “I moved to the UK in February, because I had some challenges in Nigeria concerning my visa. So, the school gave me the option of an online start.”
About the course – bridge between industries and academics
“The Data Science course has been amazing, the lecturers are knowledgeable, they understand what the industry needs. And that is what they’re focusing on. They focus on the major things you need to do to succeed not just as a student, but when you move out there and you are looking for placement and work. There is also Your Future Plan, they teach you how to write a CV, they look out for placements for you. They work with what is happening in the industry. I think that’s what educational system should be. It shouldn’t be only academics. It should be a bridge between industries, academics, and other types of endeavours. And I saw the Strategic Plan for the Uni for the next five year, and I read it. I was so glad to see how it is all planned.”
Studying at UoG – international community
Ajayi enjoys that his class is full of international students from India, Bangladesh, Nigeria and Ghana. Also, everything is automated and simple through the MyGlos App specifically created for students. “You’re picking a book? It is automated. You want to see your tutors? It is automated. Everything is in your mobile app. Where your lecture is, where to submit your assignments.”
University of Gloucestershire offers competitive International scholarships, and Ajayi Adegbemi is one of the excellent students who was awarded 50% off their first-year fees. Ajayi put a lot of effort into writing the application. He sent a draft of his application to his cousin for feedback, then redrafted it, making sure the application was the best it could be. On the day of the announcement, he couldn’t sleep. “I refreshed my mail over and over and over. All of a sudden, I saw – Congratulations, you have been awarded a scholarship! I was just over the moon. That was what changed my life. A lot of heavy lifting over my finances was sorted. It has brought back my confidence. Don’t forget that you have to have an offer of a place before you can apply for the scholarship. So, the scholarship was just like the icing on the cake.”
International student with a family
Ajayi misses his wife and two kids who stayed in Nigeria and will be joining him later in the year. His advice to international students who are parents is to settle first, find suitable family accommodation and then bring their family at a later stage.
“I want to focus on my course first, to get good grades. I want to get a feeling if it this is something good for my family. I don’t want them to have a culture shock.” Therefore, he is regularly making video calls, showing them Cheltenham town centre and High Street, shops, houses, and his University. He also wants to make sure he finds a good school and nursery for the kids and he is happy that Cheltenham schools rank amongst the top schools in England.
Life in England
Since moving to England, Ajayi is discovering new places, culture, and food.
“The first place that wowed me was Cheltenham High Street. Wow. A lot of people enjoying themselves, it was like carnival in Nigeria.”
The biggest challenge for him was dealing with banks and transferring money, which he finds a much easier process in Nigeria.
Ajayi also misses food from his home which he describes as ‘pepperish’, but English food is milder and gentler in taste. In adjusting to life in England, it helps to find a community of other Nigerian students. They go to local church together and enjoy some fun time.
“I looked on internet for places to live near the campus. I spoke to the landlord; he was quite pleased that I’m a student. He even picked me up from the bus station. So, from day one, you really know that the people here are ready to welcome international students.”
Future plans – being at the forefront of change
Ajayi is full of dreams and plans for the future but taking life one step at a time.
“I’m focusing on my academic studies. I want to see how it goes in the next three, six months, then I’ll decide if I’m going to continue to PhD or go into industry. Probably I’m looking at machine learning / artificial intelligence industries.”
For Ajayi, doing MSc Data Science is not only about advancing his own career prospects but making changes in his own country and globally.
“My dream is to be a Chief Data Officer. I want to be part of the culture that channels data rightly, ensuring that data is used for good globally. And not just being part of it, I want to lead that, especially from Africa. I want to take the knowledge from here, then apply it to the African culture, so that we can come to a certain level in terms of how policies are driven by data, how businesses can prosper, how countries can prosper with data intelligence. Those are the things I want to lead, be in the forefront.”
Find out more about Ajayi’s course MSc Data Science