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Aureliana Chilengue

MSc Medical Bioscience

Postgraduate student Aureliana made her journey from Mozambique to Bradford in 2020.

She is studying an MSc in Medical Bioscience. This is her story.

This is my purpose

"I got my undergraduate degree in Veterinary Medicine at the University of Eduardo Mondlane in Mozambique in 2013. When I finished the course, I had the opportunity to do an internship at the Animal Sciences Institute, where I worked on diagnosing Gastrointestinal parasites in Ruminants. My passion for the laboratory increased, and I decided to focus my career in this field.

"In 2016, I was hired by the National Institute of Health to work at the Nampula Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory, where I became focused on a clear purpose: to improve the quality of tuberculosis diagnosis in my country.

"In Mozambique, we have many TB cases, and I feel that we still need to build a more robust system to improve the quality of diagnosis and disease prevention approach. My feeling has always been that I have to do more for my country by becoming the best medical scientist I can be, to make a real difference to people suffering with this disease.

"In 2018, I moved to the Public Health Laboratory at the same institute, as Head of Laboratory. But I’m really ambitious, so I was always thinking, how can I improve my skills, my career, my future. I had to do a Master’s degree, and Bradford was the place to do it."

Bradford had everything I needed to achieve my goals

"In 2019, I decided to apply for the Chevening scholarship to pursue my Master’s degree in Medical Bioscience at the University of Bradford. This course offered me the chance to improve my already proven technical skills, and I had the opportunity to gain skills in bioinformatics, which is something fundamental to improve diagnostics and carry out massive data analyses.  We have very few bioinformaticians in Mozambique, so when I saw this was offered as part of the course at Bradford, I knew I had to get here.

"We have many results and outputs to analyse in this field, and doing it manually or using less robust programs isn't meaningful. Bioinformatics is so powerful to determine the diversity of M. tuberculosis and even to understand tuberculosis transmission and resistance cases. I will probably be one of the few people in my country with these skills."

Equipment in a Life Sciences lab

The financial support I needed

"During my interview to get on to the course, I talked about my background and my career plan. I explained that I want to improve the diagnosis of TB in my country, and I was thrilled when they gave me an unconditional offer and I won the scholarship. I’m so fortunate that the scholarship gave me all the financial support I needed.

"I arrived in September 2020, and I’m now completing my dissertation on the genomic diversity of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Lineage 4."

An amazing experience at Bradford

"Experiencing a new system of education, a new country, a new environment has been life changing. I can feel I am a different person already.

"Even though I arrived during the pandemic and a lot of my classes were online, University did everything they could and the support has been amazing.

"From the moment I applied, the admissions team were so professional; any time I called or emailed, the response was so helpful and I was soon given a lecturer who was responsible for my journey. That personal contact was invaluable, I felt supported immediately and knew all about where I’d live, the class timetable, and what to expect when I got here.

"The Language Centre is also one of the best I’ve experienced, and the Wellbeing Team is full of kind people, always taking care of the students."

A great city to study in

"The benefit is that it’s quite small and relatively quiet, so there are less distractions than a big city. Rent is cheap, food is cheap, and that’s so important for a student.

"Campus is really well organised and safe, and I live in a flat just a few minutes’ walk away so everything is really easy and accessible."

A view of the Faculty of Health Studies on the University of Bradford campus

It was hard at first

"Being far from home and arriving in a new country which was in lockdown wasn’t ideal, but I made new friends from the same cohort of the scholarship, and we immediately set up a Whatsapp group to support each other.

"We go out together now that restrictions have lifted, and we help each other through any hard times."

I would like to work for the WHO, maybe one day!

"With my Master's from Bradford, I will go back to Mozambique and use my new knowledge and skills to improve solutions to reduce the spread of TB and provide an excellent diagnostic to reduce the level of mortality due to Tuberculosis.

"My course has driven me to understand what we need to do to control and prevent the disease, and because the laboratories we study in are so much more advanced in terms of technology, I can now take the equipment knowledge and technical skills I’ve learnt and implement them in Mozambique. That’s why I’m here: to learn and improve.

"I have a clear vision of what need to do, and I’m passionate about making it happen. Having a Master's from Bradford is a giant step forward in achieving my life goals."

Scientific calculations drawn on a window