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Bonolo Bonita Phinius, MSc Medical Bioscience

  • From Botswana
  • Awarded a prestigious Chevening Scholarship
  • Hopes to have a positive impact on healthcare in Botswana after graduation

I grew up in Gaborone, Botswana, and most of my early education was in schools around my hometown. Over the years, I imagined studying outside of my country, interacting with students from around the world and continuing my education at a university which would enable me to greatly impact healthcare in Botswana once I returned.

I heard about Chevening Scholarships from a friend - Chevening is the UK Government’s international scholarship scheme, which offers full funding to selected high calibre students from around the world for postgraduate studies in the UK. I decided to apply for a scholarship to study at the University of Bradford.

To learn that I had been awarded a fully-funded Chevening Scholarship, and at Bradford, was such an honour and a proud and wonderful moment for me and my family. Bradford has a long-standing relationship with Chevening, and has hosted scholarship students at the university for many years.

I was very confident of my chosen place of study to complete a one-year master’s degree course in Medical Bioscience – especially in such a specific subject area - and once I’d looked at the course structure in more detail, I fully appreciated the value it would bring in advancing my knowledge in the field

The International Student Support team were very responsive from the start, and offered a wide range of help to assist me with my university journey; processing my visa, searching for accommodation and welcoming me at the airport once I arrived. The team also organised a tour of the city centre in the opening week, so I could familiarise myself with the area, the wider community and everything it had to offer.

A key feature which attracted me to the overall programme at Bradford, was that the course allowed me to plan my programme to match my interests and experience, in combination with a diverse range of optional research modules. It gave me the confidence to explore new study areas and take responsibility for my own learning, and yet develop an extra level of knowledge and skills.

Also, the research skills module is very impressive and provided a solid and professional research base to build upon during my studies. Modules such as ‘how to apply for a grant’, ‘how to write a proposal’, ‘how to present your research’ and ‘how to write papers for academic journals’ – all disciplines I will need as a full-time scientist.

There has been the added benefit of working in a research-focused environment in labs, which are very modern and offer outstanding facilities. The well-stocked library on the University campus is open 24 hours a day and is another brilliant facility – particularly the availability of quiet rooms and specific areas for group study or discussion. I’ve really benefitted from using the library during my studies, and whilst preparing research papers and ahead of assessments.

There’s a large team of student volunteers who work closely with all international students to organise an exclusive programme of social learning events and activities and we even have our own space – Room 101. I want to tell everyone about this service as it has really enhanced my student experience! It’s managed by the Student Engagement Manager and through lots of friendly initiatives I’ve been able to meet other international scholars, share intercultural experiences such as Chinese New Year, improve my English, and chat about British culture and dealing with the unpredictable weather!

I have lived and studied in the UK for a year, and will return home once I have graduated in December. During this time I have developed both academically and professionally, and experienced Bradford’s culture with a lasting positive impression.

I have made new relationships, grown my network, feel motivated and inspired, and enjoyed the experience of a lifetime.