November 2, 2016, by International students

Scholarship advice from Sunday, a Nigerian doctor

By Ugwoke Sunday Paul, a Nigerian doctor who has recently completed MMedSci Assisted Reproduction Technology at The University of Nottingham with a Chevening Scholarship.

My name is Ugwoke Sunday Paul.  I am from Ibagwa-Ani in Enugu State, Nigeria.  I first graduated with a degree in Applied Biochemistry in 2007 from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka and later with an MBChB degree from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.  Since qualifying as a medical doctor in 2013, I practised medicine in Nigeria first as a pre-registration house officer and then as a Medical Officer before moving to Nottingham to pursue a masters degree in September 2015.

What led you to choose to study the MMedSci in Assisted Reproduction Technology?

Infertility is an increasing problem globally.  The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that as many as 1 in 4 couples are affected by infertility in developing countries (particularly in Nigeria).  Most of these couples, who go through a lot of emotional and psychological trauma as a result of infertility, could be helped by assisted reproduction technologies (ART).  Hence the need to pursue a masters degree in ART.  Unfortunately, no university in Nigeria offers a recognized formal training in this all important technique.

Sunday while studying at Nottingham

Sunday while studying at Nottingham

What led you to choose Nottingham?

I chose to do my masters degree at The University of Nottingham for four key reasons.  First, The University of Nottingham has the UK’s longest running masters course specialising in ART.  The implication is that the university has substantial experience and expertise in delivering the course.  So, I said to myself, if I truly want to acquire these techniques, I must have to learn from the source – The University of Nottingham.

Secondly, The University of Nottingham has quite a number of scholarship opportunities for international students; far more than any university in the UK can offer.  As at the time I took the decision to do a masters degree, I did not even have enough money to pay for my flight to and from the UK, let alone paying for my tuition fees. However, after going through the website of The University of Nottingham, I saw a plethora of scholarship opportunities ranging from Developing Solutions Scholarships, Commonwealth Scholarships, Commonwealth Shared Scholarships, Chevening Scholarship awards and many more.  So, my conclusion was that, by the time I apply for all the scholarship opportunities available, perhaps I will be lucky to win one, and I did!  The Chevening scholarship I was awarded has covered my tuition fees and provided for my living expenses.

Thirdly, The University of Nottingham is a world class university and rated in the top 1% of universities worldwide.  It is has consistently been listed as having the most environmentally friendly campus in the world.  Then the fourth but not the least (in fact one of the important) reason why I chose UoN was the low cost of living and the powerful mix of students with different cultures from all over the world.  The University prides itself as being truly global and from my experience I can confirm that it is indeed global.

How has your experience been, academically and socially?

The University of Nottingham provides a superb opportunity for students to study and socialise.  The library facilities are excellent.  Computers are available at almost every location for students to use without restrictions.  Students who need a laptop to work at home can take a laptop from the university on loan for as long as three months!  That is unequalled.  Internet facilities are uninterrupted.  The academic work is demanding, but that is what makes it a postgraduate course.  The Students’ Union is up to date with their game.  There is always one social event or the other to engage.  For me, I had so much fun both on campus and also during numerous Chevening events around the country.  A powerful blend of academic work and fun makes one a smart being!

Nigerian medical doctors at our 2015 Scholarship Celebration Event: Dr Ojiegbe Somtochukwu (MSc Oncology), Dr Ugwoke Sunday Paul (MMedSci ART), Dr Ndubuisi Egwim (MPH), Dr Bismark Iwueke (Msc Sports and Exercise Medicine), and Dr Nnadozie Igbokwe (MMedSci ART).

Nigerian medical doctors at our 2015 Scholarship Celebration Event: Dr Ojiegbe Somtochukwu (MSc Oncology), Dr Ugwoke Sunday Paul (MMedSci ART), Dr Ndubuisi Egwim (MPH), Dr Bismark Iwueke (Msc Sports and Exercise Medicine), and Dr Nnadozie Igbokwe (MMedSci ART).

What are you hoping to after graduation?

I have acquired quite a lot of skills in Assisted Reproduction – I successfully completed my course.  I’m looking forward to working in a fertility clinic where I can put my skills into use and bring succour to infertile couples.

What advice would you give to anyone who is looking to study in the UK?

My advice to anyone looking to study in the UK, especially those who are considering funding for their studies, is that they should think of Nottingham first, then others.  UK degrees are globally respected and it is a great place to study.

What advice would you give to anyone who is applying for funding?

For anyone applying for funding, I have three honest and effective tips:

  1. Plan, and prepare your application essays very well.  Oftentimes, especially Chevening Scholarship (which I am proud winner), the quality of your essays go a long way to determining whether or not you are invited for an interview.  The essays (or answers to the scholarship questions) are the first and sometimes the only contact you may have with the selection committee of any scholarship.  Prepare your answers to the application questions (or essays) offline so as to ensure that there is no error whatsoever and then return back online when you are happy with your answers to fill it in (preferably copy and paste).  Remember that funding opportunities are very competitive, so, you have to make your essays (or answers) stand out! Sell yourself to the selection committee or board.  Give practical examples where necessary.  My Nigerian doctor colleagues will understand this sentence – “Package your essays logically and clearly just the same way we sometimes package medical history to suit a diagnosis in the exams.”
  2. Make Nottingham your first choice.  This is because Nottingham has an abundance of funding opportunities.  In the event that one scholarship (say Chevening) fails, you can fall back on another (say Developing Solutions).  Many Nigerian doctors (including my humble self) have found Nottingham as a second home because of the numerous funding opportunities that it offers.
  3. Apply! If you don’t submit your application, there is simply no way you can be offered a scholarship.  So, make sure you submit your application before the deadline.

Applications for Chevening Scholarships in 2017 are closing very soon: at 12pm midday UK time on Tuesday 8 November. Find out more about studying at Nottingham with a Chevening Scholarship and apply through the Chevening website.

Applications are also now open for The University of Nottingham’s range of international postgraduate scholarships in 2017. Find out more.

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