My name is Dominic Bassah and I'm a Kenyan student studying MSc Public and Environment Health Sciences at the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Birmingham.
The Public and Environmental Health Science course involves formal lectures as well as practical experience. So we have formal lectures usually between 9.30 and 4.30. Then we have speakers from the field who are renowned experts in their field, that is in the field of public and environmental health who also come to speak to us to sort of help us to draw conclusions between theory and practical. So it’s not just about auditing the books, it’s about what is actually happening on the field. So this makes this course stand distinctly among other courses. Apart from that we are involved in group works because the work is not always all alone. You're going to work with people so being able to play in a team is very crucial in being successful in our profession. So group work is a fundamental part of the Public and Environmental Health Science course. And then industrial visits are also key components of the Public and Environmental Health Science course. So we visit industries, visit landfill sites to actually look at how the theoretical aspects we are learning are being put in place to better the health of humanity.
The Public and Environmental Health Science programme is structured in a way that we combine lectures involving speakers and people in academia as well as group work, and then industrial visits as well. So we have people from the field coming to speak to us about how to make theories into practicals when you go to the field. So it’s a sort of bringing real-life situations into the classroom. And then we have the theory aspects which involve lecturers who are fulltime academics who give us the theory which are then tested through industrial visits and group works.
There a total of twelve students on my course, but usually we have lectures in conjunction with the UK students who are on the Environment Health programme, so it’s such a big class. And then I've been involved in the Guild of Students and I'm actually the course rep of the Public and Environmental Health students. I'm also an international equality and diversity advocate, so we are looking at the University where each will have a better experience irrespective of his or her race, gender or economic background. So apart that, in the May 2015 I represented the University of Birmingham at a Youth 21 summit in Chile, and I got an opportunity to present to the Vice Chancellors as to some of the distinct things that Birmingham University has been doing over the years.
I chose the University of Birmingham because it has partnership with the funding on which I am. So I'm being funded by the Tullow Group Scholarship Scheme which sponsors students to study across universities in the UK, and the University of Birmingham is one. And one of the things that also increased my interest to study at the University of Birmingham is its value placed on equality and diversity. We have about 5,000 students coming from over 120 countries, so when you come to the University of Birmingham you feel that you meet people of different culture and different ideas which can be of help during your studies and afterwards.
The main difference between the postgraduate study and undergraduate study is the fact that the postgraduate study puts you ahead to be prepared for the job ahead of you in your career. So we are looking building very strong interpersonal skills and then soft skills to be able to work on the field because each one of us is going to work in a team. Apart from that the postgraduate studies helps you bring real-life situations into the classroom or the lecture room where it’s being debated upon, dissected, and then recommendations given unlike undergraduates where it’s more of learning theories and modules.
I have consulted the career service on several occasions. First by attending seminars and then lectures as to what the global job market is like. Then one of the most important things I've got out of the career service is a guide as to what profession best suits you. In fact I had a different idea as to what I wanted to go into after graduation, but through the support of the career service I've been able to get focused more on where my strength lies. After graduation I think I have the dream of working with an NGO or a humanitarian agency where in my view my impact will be felt directly and I’ll have the fulfilment on making impacts on people’s lives.