Oluwapelumi Okuyemi from Nigeria is studying for the MSc International Development (Conflict, Security and Development) in the International Development Department at the University of Birmingham.
I wanted to take a postgraduate degree to ensure that my career didn’t stagnate. I felt it would help improve my career prospects by expanding my area of expertise beyond that of my first degree in history and international studies. I wanted to deepen my knowledge of international development and the complex spectrum of global crisis.
Prior to my postgraduate degree, I was working as a product analyst for a private firm while volunteering with two non-profit, private-sector-led organisations promoting business and entrepreneurial development among Nigerian youths.
The University of Birmingham’s international development department is one of the best practice centres for politics and international development in the United Kingdom, and its module structure fitted in perfectly with how I’d envisioned the programme to be – the fact that modules are drawn from both theoretical and practical perspectives. Another draw was that it would bring me into contact with development specialists and practitioners.
The university itself has a beautiful campus mixing historical and modern structures and offering a relaxed atmosphere that lends itself to learning.
How has the university supported you since starting your course?
Studying at the university has been a wonderful experience due to the welcome and support given by lecturers and staff in general. It also has great facilities and student provision, including the student mentor scheme that provides excellent advice and guidance to all students throughout the transition into university life. As moving away from home (especially for the first time) can be quite overwhelming, I found this to be an incredibly useful resource.
The university’s ever-willing careers service, which offers support and events ranging from CV clinics to careers seminars and careers fairs, has been very helpful and accessible throughout the course of my studies in helping me to enhance my career prospects.
What do you like about studying in the UK?
The excellent learning facilities and multicultural environment combine to create a conducive and warm atmosphere for learning that makes understanding other cultures and their ways of life interesting.
As an international student, I’ve enjoyed the UK’s wonderful sites and historical cities and been able to gain a better understanding of its various cultures – moving around has been fun and stress-free, and everyone is very friendly and willing to help.
What do you like about living in Birmingham?
Birmingham is a vibrant, multicultural city with plenty of places to relieve the stresses of academic work – great shopping, excellent nightlife and other fun places to visit. Its location and the presence of a major train station make travelling to other cities an enjoyable experience. I particularly enjoy going to the city centre, The Bullring, which, as well as having upmarket shops is a great place to find multi-ethnic delicacies at a fair price.
What advice would you give to international students considering postgraduate study at the University of Birmingham?
Firstly, consider carefully what you intend to study. Be ready for a dynamic and engaging learning atmosphere and be willing to take advantage of every opportunity to get yourself established academically. Most importantly, make the most of the university experience – enjoy, have fun and make loads of new friends
.More information about our International Development (Conflict, Security and Development) MSc/GDip.