Life abroad can be tough but so far, so good. I’m in Cardiff, Wales in the United Kingdom courtesy of Chevening Scholarship.
Chevening is the prestigious UK Government’s Global Scholarship Programme that offers future leaders the unique opportunity to study in the UK. These scholarships are awarded to outstanding professionals from various countries and beyond to pursue a one-year Master’s degree in any subject of their choice at any of the top UK Universities.
I will be pursuing Master’s Degree in International Public Relations and Global Communication Management from Cardiff University until sometime in September 2020. It’s going to be a whole year far away from home. Do wish me a pleasant stay.
I’m determined to make the best of my life in this country. My priority being; giving my best in class, making new friends, learning new things, buying more shoes, touring Europe and finally just taking a chill pill, whatever that means.
I spent almost two years in Norway, between the year 2010 to the end of 2011. I am happy I got that experience while I was pretty young. So this time round, I am not feeling very green or scared about my experience abroad.
When people talk of winter, I am like ‘Yeah, been there, done that’ I know the experience first-hand. In addition to making this year an exciting one, I have housemates that I truly like.
Here’s who we are. We are four in total.
Patience Nyange: journalist and public relations practitioner. I am definitely going to be the noisemaker in this house. I can tell. I love my life with a lot of laughter and positivity. So I will do my best to ensure that we have interesting and memorable moments in this house.
I love cooking and I love my space. So quite often, I will be found in my room doing my assignments, listening to music that I love, reading my books or digitally catching up with my friends from all over the globe.
Dr Pamela Njuguna: a medical doctor currently pursuing an MSc in Clinical Dermatology from the Cardiff School of Medicine. She is our in-house doctor and we are glad that we can consult once in a while just in case we are not feeling very well. Pamela is our big sister and brings on board intellectual perspectives in our conversations.
During her free time, she enjoys random walks and she will be cooking us Mashakuras once in a while. Those who know that I struggle with adult acne, Pamela, my new found dermatologist says she will be here to help me with that, though on one condition.
I must follow all the regimen she prescribes. I oblige.
Sidney Aburi: the youngest of the family. I call him a Data Scientist, period. I don’t understand what he does on his computer and neither am I ready to learn how to decode data messages.
So we are happy to say…we will enjoy our time together in the kitchen. Food is the only language we share with him. So far, he has proved to be an excellent cook and we are happy to have him continue making his favourite meal; mac cheese and meat palate. I will upload a video of him being in the kitchen later.
We have a Ronald Okello from Uganda. Ronald is a computer scientist. He is in Cardiff University, School of Computer Science and Informatics pursuing Masters of Science in Cyber Security.
Ronald is a brave guy and for that we respect him. I mean, the three of us as Kenyans, didn’t know each other prior to getting here. But then Ronald, as a Ugandan, still chose to go abroad and live with Kenyans, who at times can be too loud and noisy. In his spare time, he loves watching movies, reading, playing Badminton and cooking.
So far we have had an experience with the Northern Ugandan delicacy famously known as ‘Malakwang’.
Having Ronald and Sidney in this house means all my computer problems are sorted out. I am truly excited. So my younger brother in Kenya can now have a restful time.
I call him all the time to consult on matters computers since he is also a computer scientist and he actually thinks I am quite dumb when it comes to computer world so he has a lot of patience with me.
So how did we meet and end up being housemates? It’s a funny story.
After eight months of the Chevening application process, the results were out. Someone knew someone who had made it to the finals. A Global Chevening WhatsApp group was quickly formed and we found ourselves in that group. I guess those of us coming to Cardiff University were lucky.
We were three Kenyans. Many of the Scholars, found themselves in various schools in the UK all alone. We then formed another group of Cardiff University Scholars.
The three of us, Pamela, Sidney and I started talking and getting to know each other. Sidney volunteered to help with house search. He sent us links of school and private accommodation.
We seemed to like the private accommodation options. But then, there was a problem. Most of the houses we liked were either 4, 5 or 6 bedrooms.
As time drew closer, we had to make a decision. We decided to go with the four-bedroom house, then go back to the Global Chevening Group and ask if anyone was looking for a house and was ready to share the apartment with three Kenyans.
Ronald Okello quickly declared his interest and that’s how we added him to our group hence becoming one of us. We assured him that were quite accommodating and even though the three of us were all Kenyans, we were also strangers to each other.
As the trend with Chevening is, the British Embassy in each country organises for a pre-departure briefing. We were all invited to attend. We were really excited that we finally had a chance to meet each other face to face.
When we met, we liked each other and as they say…. the rest is history. We are one loving family. We are now getting to know each other, creating a family for ourselves as well as making our stay in Cardiff memorable in every sense.
The four of us bring on board different expertise so we hope that we will add value to each other’s lives. A computer scientist, a doctor, a journalist/PR Practitioner and a data scientist... quite a diverse group!