From Kenya to Surrey

An insight into life at Surrey from a current Kenyan student

….Chevening Scholars Relay: the Red baton lands at Surrey

Chevening scholars at the University of Surrey had a great day, laying their hands on the red chevening scholars relay baton,one of the two relay batons making their round in universities around the UK.

...chevening scholars relay baton at SurreyThe red baton, first launched at Bangor university chevening scholarships award ceremony has been on the move ever since September 2016, reaching out to the many scholars in different universities around the UK. Dubbed the scholars relay, the baton represents Chevening scholarships aims to all the successful applicants and the very countries they represent. The relay seeks to encourage scholars to collaborate with one another and other stakeholders both in the UK and beyond, among the scholars themselves, network, travel widely and adopt an all inclusive approach to common goals.  The aim is to have the baton pass around the network safely, getting the scholars to develop conversations around one another within the network and beyond.

Chevening scholarship is ranked the very best scholarships around the world that enables all those who successfully go through the process of applying for it study among the most prestigious universities in the UK. It is a fully funded scholarship catering importantly for the tuition and upkeep for all the scholars besides providing a wide range of networking opportunities for the students. Having gone through the application process, i would boldly say it is not  a process for those who are not ready to work for it. A process that spans over six months from the day the advert is send out in August to the time the final award letter is obtained, it is an opportunity that opens doors to lots of opportunities that come with determination, hard work and readiness and willingness to go an extra mile.

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Every scholar or individual who holds the ambition of being a future leader, an influencer or a decision maker in whichever area they find themselves in, the scholarship could be the answer to your ambition. Applications for 2017/2018 are officially closed and most applicants have eceived feedback on whether they proceed to the next stage of the interview process or not. For those who have made it to the next stage of the application process, my advice is……”consider your upcoming interviews as an opportunity to have a conversation around your dreams and aspirations. You will be discussing these statements with a panel of people who have an interest in what you believe in and are there to help realize this dream. What you brought out in terms of your leadership, networking and career path is what you are going to talk about, therefore, take it as an opportunity to show the world what you have in store for it. Master your statements just like your dream, be ready to discuss this from each perspective and be confident about your dream and aspiration…”

For those who never made it to the next stage, it could have been due to a number of reasons, but most importantly, there are lots of chances still around you and having gone through the process the first time, the next one should be easy for you. My advice is….”do not plagiarize the statements made by others in your application process. Do not use other scholars statements as your own. This is illegal and unacceptable especially for scholars and future leaders. There is a host of scholars who would be willing to offer advice on the application processes especially on the chevening alumni  network home country face book pages. Getting in touch with them would be very helpful. Am glad to have supported one from Cambodia, and voila, she made it to the next stage, and am currently mentoring two have made to the next stage as well

..the scholars day....networking...collaborate....lead..For all the scholars who wish to study in the UK, the next chevening scholarships applications open in August 2017 for the 2018/2019 academic year. Besides Chevening scholarship, most UK universities have funding available for the various programs and checking it out with the various university pages would be more helpful.

img-20170221-wa0062For further help on the application process and more information on the scholarship, check out on www.chevening.org.uk and you can as well shout out and someone will be there for you. For more information on studying at the university where wonderful things happen, check out on the University of Surrey home page.

Return to home…..

Right after the end of last semester exam, something happened. It was something i had looked forward to, for two months. Getting back home to my family. The anxiety that came with leaving them four months earlier was gone, but the new anxiety that came with looking forward to seeing them again was here with […]


The Beginning of the Beginnings…my journey to Surrey

captureIt was 3.30am in Mombasa…lovely moon was out there which seemed to say…. go well son, and come back soon. A decision had been made. My masters of science in Energy Economics and Policy program journey courtesy of the prestigious Chevening scholarship had just began. UK was the destination and University of Surrey was the place to be. The 15 minutes’ drive to the airport was silent but anxious. Nostalgia, the feeling I have nursed since I was a little boy gripped me when I finally said bye to my family…..I looked forward to seeing them again, which I still do to this moment. Aboard Kenya airways, several thoughts went through my head. Had I made the right decision? With the many stories of harsh weather, the complete opposite of my home town, Mombasa, would I really make it? What is the place like?  What was Guildford like and how are the people and the culture? My family, how would they cope without me? The anxiety consumed every bit of me….but a decision had been made, I had to do it. Hope of a better place, a better people, a better culture, a better university education and a great decision made slowly returned.

After 8 long and reflective hours, my flight landed at Heathrow airport. Hope and excitement overwhelmed me again. I walked through the immigration gates, picked up my heavy luggage. As I made my way out, my optimism was restored even more. Courtesy of the meet and greet arrangement by the university, I was ushered into the UK by the university ‘staff’ who I later came to realise they were student ambassadors who had given their time to ensure international students arrived and settled into their respective halls of residence with ease.  That was a calming moment for me; quite a special moment. Right at the airport were other international students going to the same Surrey. Meeting other students from other countries did it for me, I realised I was not alone. 30 minutes later, we were on our way to the university, the central and famous Austin Pearce building, where we were handed the keys to our respective rooms.

As the van snaked its way through the now quiet streets, thoughts of what had just transpired ran through my head, I had woken up in my hometown, Mombasa and now I was thousands of miles away, in a far off land where I was going to spend the night. The trail of thoughts were interrupted as the lead student ambassador, Anne welcomed us home…Hazel Farm. Just as I had expected, this was it…Hazel Farm itself is a fabulous story (to be shared ……)

As I rested on my bed that night, I made a resolve to be of help to anyone in my situation coming to the UK to study. The opportunity to be a student ambassador came just in time for me. One moment I look forward to, is being at the airport next welcoming fellow international students to this great country and this great university, assuring them of the beautiful moments ahead for them!

#Surrey; where wonderful things happen #where we meet and greet all our new students

 

 

 

 

Theory Meets Practice: Energy Economics students visit Apsely Bio-gas plant

My journey from Mombasa, Kenya to UK has been a fun filled one ( to be continued on a different note…….) but also really focused. Through out my academic and professional experiences, life has taught me to have a reason for making choices at all or certain times in life. For me, one of the choices i had to make while seeking an institution of higher learning in UK was one that respected the interface between the theory taught in lectures and the practical world each scholar seeks to be  apart of long after the scholar life is gone.  The university of Surrey is one choice am glad i made, because besides wonderful things happening here, Theory in all its forms meets practice.

University of Surrey Energy Economics and Technology students at Apsely Biogas Plant in Hampshire...where theory and practice met.

University of Surrey Energy Economics and Technology students at Apsely Biogas Plant in Hampshire…where theory and practice met.

On 23rd October 2016, the Energy Economics and technology class( of which i am proud to be) made a visit to Apsely farms, the second biggest bio-gas plant in UK. The plant, located in Hampshire is home to a state of the art investment in a facility that generates electricity and sells it to the national grid. The director, Mr. Henry, while explaining to us how the plant operates indicated that the bio-gas plant is fed with crops and in turn it produces manure and methane gas. The gas is blown into an engine which drives a generator. The electricity produced is fed into the national grid. The plant also produces natural gas, having cleaned the bio-gas, which is injected into the gas network while the manure known as digestate is stored in a vast lagoon and spread on the land in the spring, to fertilise the new crops.

Of great interest during the discussion was the subsidies that the UK government had put in place that supported such establishments. As developing energy experts, and with aspirations of adding value to my country’s renewable energy sector, the feed in tariff policy and the renewable energy obligations was an area of interest to us. The director made it clear that his business would not exist were it not for the energy subsidies in place; and that all renewable energy initiatives are made to be successful with the help of such subsidies.

While responding on the challenges facing the sector, he decried an inadequate policy making process, that critically left out some key players in the whole renewable energy loop; and as a word of advise to us, he advised us to critically evaluate all the aspects of any policy to be adopted before its rolled out….back to class and something to think about home; are the subsidies in energy sector back home operational?…that was was a day to write home about……a great thinking and practical day

#surreyuniversity#wherewondeerfulthingshappen#wheretheorymeetspractice

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