February 12, 2016, by International students
Realising my dream of becoming an Advanced Level Nurse
By Isata Victoria Mandoh, an international student from Sierra Leone studying MSc Advanced Nursing at The University of Nottingham, funded by a Commonwealth Shared Scholarship.
Being a Commonwealth Scholar and a postgraduate student at The University of Nottingham
The award of a Commonwealth Shared Scholarship was the best thing that ever happened to me. It was a unique experience most especially when the award came at a time when there was a global travel concern for citizens of countries most affected by the worst Ebola Virus Disease outbreak the world has ever seen. Nottingham never gave up on me; I was encouraged to push through with my mobilisation to the United Kingdom on to the last minute when I had to request a deferral because of travel restrictions within my country. It was a great surprise again the following year, when I was contacted by the School of Health Sciences, encouraged to re-apply, was nominated again and awarded a Commonwealth Shared Scholarship.
Reflecting on that moment today, makes me realise how lucky I was to not only be considered for that most prestigious award, but how the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission and The University of Nottingham made me realise my dream of becoming an Advanced Level Nurse. Nottingham left an impression because they demonstrated what it was to be interested in the personal development of a student. That alone proved that this university is indeed a global university.
The primary reason for choosing The University of Nottingham for my postgraduate studies was because of its world class ranking, the international student friendly environment here, and most of all, because of the scholarship opportunities that the university offers, without which my dream of a masters degree in Advanced Nursing Studies would have been just a dream. From all that I researched about the university, and based on what I have experienced since I arrived, it is my candid opinion that this unique university has not been celebrated as it deserves and that the uniqueness of this great university has been underrated.
My arrival in Nottingham
Before leaving Sierra Leone to come to the United Kingdom on the 16th of September 2016, I was excited and apprehensive all at the same time. Nothing however, prepared me for the warm reception and love that I received on arrival in the United Kingdom, from the warm reception at the Heathrow Airport, the coach ride and beautiful scenery along the way and the wonderful welcome programmes that followed. I was able to witness and prove first-hand why this university is called a global university. Being here and having met people from all over the world has given me the opportunity to experience the whole world without having to travel to the countries the rich mixture of nationals I have met originate from.
It gives me great pleasure being able to describe my experience studying as a postgraduate student in the School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Nottingham.
The teaching and learning environment at Nottingham
Prior to my mobilisation, I thought I knew almost everything there was to know about nursing as a profession. It was not until I came to this wonderful university that I discovered that all those years that I worked as a Nurse Tutor in my university, my knowledge in nursing was only limited. The teaching and learning styles have enlightened me immensely, modified my thinking and broadened my horizon. What I enjoy most about the university is the opportunity to learn not only about the various research methods, but how to apply the different methods of evidence based research. Considering my previous perception about research, I can safely say that I am now inspired and motivated to formulate questions and find evidence based answers for them, for quality improvement and patient safety; a much needed requirement for the weakened healthcare system of Sierra Leone.
One particular impression that I have had about this university is the interest shown to all students, rich or poor, irrespective of race or nationality, the support, both emotionally and practically during the course of study is the same. The staff provide mentorship through guidance and coaching, are resourceful and supportive. The university staff and the International Office are always ready and endeavour to do everything to make Nottingham home away from home.
Student life and after-school activities
Let me hasten to add that life in Nottingham is not just about teaching and learning; the university has so much to offer in terms of social activities. I have had the opportunity of joining various organisations, groups and student societies aside from the students’ union, one of them being the Travel Society. There are historic sites one can visit, interact with the warm and friendly people of Nottingham, the beautiful lakes and friendly geese and the lovely and serene surroundings that Nottingham has to offer.
Let me conclude by adding that I have been inspired by the teaching methods and by everything this great opportunity has offered, and I can safely go back to my country after my studies to give a much needed contribution not only to my university, but to the healthcare system of Sierra Leone. This will be possible because professionalism has been developed in me, my professors have helped me develop not only professionally, but socially, with practical and interpersonal communication skills. I have received career advice and practical skills, and by the end of my studies, I will have gained independent thinking and abilities as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner to last me a life time. My advice to prospective students is very short: come and experience Nottingham.
The application closing date for Commonwealth Shared Scholarships at The University of Nottingham in 2016 is 11 March 2016.
Applications are open for a wide variety of international masters and research scholarships. See our scholarships webpages for full details and closing dates.