November 20, 2015, by International students
When a dream becomes a reality… the International Scholarship Awards Ceremony
By Omowunmi Abimbola Osinubi
12 November, 2015 was a day that I had been looking forward to for a long time. It was the day the international scholarship awards ceremony for The University of Nottingham was held. I can guess you would say that I had been looking forward to it since I got the mail that I won the scholarship, right? Wrong!
Let me give a brief insight into why this is so. When I decided to start applying for my masters and the scholarship, I went to the picture page of 2014 scholarship winners on the University’s websites and Facebook page and was on the lookout for pictures of Africans/Nigerians. Why? I wanted to use them as a point of reference in my prayer and faith. I even saved a picture. The point was to motivate me into believing that I could win the scholarship. I believed that one day I would be standing in the same place they stood and have my pictures taken as one of the winners.
So the event was a confirmation that that dream had actually happened. Until that day, it felt like everything was a dream. A pharmacist colleague, classmate and fellow scholarship winner Adeela Usman from Sudan said ‘I still cannot believe that I am here’ and I cannot agree more. We both need a few seconds after we wake up to remember that we are in Nottingham and not at home. And we couldn’t have afforded our dreams without the scholarship.
At the event which was packed full and had me standing (because I was late) humbled me and gave me a sense of pride. While discussing with Adeela, I thought of how scholarships are awarded in Nigeria (which involves a lot of corruption in the process) and the fact that I didn’t even have to know any highly placed person to influence the award of the scholarship. So seeing a lot of international students at the event made me feel really proud to be one of the chosen award winners.
There were some really good speeches given by past scholarship winners who were either pursuing their PhDs or would be graduating this year. They all said that we should be really proud to be one of the students that were granted the scholarship awards. A lot of people had applied and out of that lot we were chosen (and no one needs to tell me that; I knew that when I attended the education fair last year in Nigeria). Some of them gave us some tips for surviving at The University of Nottingham and I cannot say how extremely grateful I am to them. Coming back to university 7 years after graduating from my undergraduate school has been a struggle but after one of the speakers in trying to calm our fears said ‘you would pass’, I am more relaxed. I was motivated that even though I had struggled and was anxious about getting good grades that it is okay to feel that way and that everything would be okay. The academic, non academic staff members and other students are always willing to help out in any way that is possible; you just have to ask questions.
Another scene that blew me away was the amount of students present. I knew that The University of Nottingham was generous in its offer of scholarships but I didn’t know it was that generous. I was astounded with the amount of people. Even the official photographer had to go to the second floor of the building to try to capture everyone in the pictures (yes, we were that many). And I do know that quite a number of scholarship award winners could not attend the ceremony.
Sometimes I am seriously baffled on how the university’s management can afford to pay salaries and continue to provide top notch quality education to be ranked in the top 70 universities internationally by QS World University Rankings 2015/16 (if you don’t believe me, just Google it you will be blown away) while offering a vast amount of scholarships to students.
I was reminded that the popular saying of ‘givers never lacking’ is so true. Just realising that and attending the ceremony has inspired me to work hard to give back to people and the society in any way I can. And this feeling seem to be shared by other scholarship award winners as was confirmed when I interviewed a fellow Nigerian, Timothy Ishaku, a masters in Physiotherapy student. He said he was filled with extreme gratitude to have this opportunity to feel like he is part of a group of worthy people. And that attending the ceremony has inspired him to give more to people.
As we took pictures in the cold (I was not going to appear in an international web page with a bulky coat so I stood in the cold weather with great pleasure) the smiles on other award winners never disappeared. We saw people from our countries and continents and it was nice to see the beautiful attire of other countries in real life and not in pictures. It reminded me that The University of Nottingham was truly a global university.
I think at this point I will let some pictures do the talking. WARNING: It is a lot of pictures…..
Photo Credits: Caroline Noel Agabiirwe , Kayode Daramola, Egbon Benedict Nosazemen and me
Adel Elfeky, a masters in Physiotherapy student from Egypt said ‘attending the ceremony was a form of confirmation that the email sent earlier was not a fluke’ and that the scholarship has afforded him his dream of studying in a top international university and would help give him a great elevation in his career. And I couldn’t have said it any better.
I would like to say on behalf of all the scholarship award winners for the year 2015 a massive thank you to the University’s Management for the opportunity to achieve our dreams which people like me had almost given up on (it is incredible….I am crying again as I write this) and even though we might feel like we don’t deserve this honour, sometimes we hope to make the University proud.
I would like to say thank you to Adeela Usman, Timothy Ishaku and Adel Elfeky for sparing a few minutes to answer my questions.
Omowunmi Abimbola Osinubi is a Master of Public Health (International Health) Student, a blogger (www.journalofapetitediva.com) and a proud and grateful Developing Solutions Master Scholarship winner from Nigeria.
Applications are now open for our international and EU masters and research scholarships in 2016. See our scholarships webpages to find out more.