Tag Archives: Nigeria

“I would encourage anyone thinking of studying at Birkbeck to go for it!”

 

Kelvin Omuojine, an MSc Sport Management, Governance and Policy student from Nigeria, tells  us about his experience as an international student at Birkbeck.

Tell us about your education before Birkbeck.

Before Birkbeck, I did a Master’s degree in Sports Law from Nottingham Trent University, in 2008/09; prior to that, I had my undergraduate education in Nigeria, where I studied law and was called to Bar.

Could you tell us about your career before starting your study at Birkbeck?

I started my career as a practising lawyer. I have worked in commercial law firms and as a Public Prosecutor at the Delta State Ministry of Justice in Nigeria. My passion for sport led me to work with the Nigeria Professional Football League, after completing my first postgraduate programme (in sports law). So, up until I started studying at Birkbeck, I was working at the Nigeria Professional Football League.

Why did you decide to study at Birkbeck?

Working in the sport industry in Nigeria, with the benefit of my background in law, I realised that the bulk of the problems impeding the development of the industry were governance related – there are people with knowledge and skills and there are regulations that are fit for purpose, all already existing, but the governance framework just did not seem right. So I wanted to learn more about not just sport management but also about sport governance. The programme at Birkbeck is unique as it effectively covers governance and policy as it relates to sport. This option was perfect for me based on my career path and progression.

How did you find the application process?

The application process was quite simple and straightforward and the officials at Birkbeck were always helpful, with enquiries and all through the process. I successfully applied for the partial scholarship for international students and was awarded £3,000, which was helpful indeed. Despite the difficulties caused by Covid-19, there was always sufficient information to guide planning.

What’s it like living in London?  

Having lived in Lagos, Nigeria, I knew I could cope with how busy I had heard London was. I found the city to be vibrant, diverse, with lots of opportunities and attractions. It is a busy city with people constantly on the move, and fast-paced too. If the right opportunity presents itself, I would be happy to live in London.

Can you tell us about the programme you are studying?

As a result of my interest in sport governance, I opted for the Sport Management, Governance and Policy programme. I found the lecturers to be quite nice and accommodating. Quite naturally, the Sport Governance module is a major highlight for me. However, I also particularly enjoyed the Sport Economics and the Design of Competitions module, as well as the Sport Events Management module. The former because of the exposure to economics of sport and the factors that go into competition design; and the latter because I am opportune to be working at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Did you take advantages of additional support and activities?

I appreciated the support services available – from one-on-one sessions with tutors, skills workshops such as on dissertation writing, to the many learning resources available both internally within the library and externally such as LinkedIn Learning. It is impressive that students can gain a lot from these resources and even get to watch recordings of both pre-class sessions and live online classes.

What are your plans for the future?

My studies at Birkbeck have equipped me with a broader understanding of the framework of sport management and governance, as well as transferrable skills in areas such as research and analysis. I’m now looking to explore career opportunities, preferably in the sports or a related industry.

What advice would you give other people thinking of studying at Birkbeck?

I would encourage anyone thinking of studying at Birkbeck to go for it! Not only does the programme have unique specialist features and is rich in content, but it is also a plus that studies are in the evenings, offering you time to get some other things done earlier in the day.

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From finding Birkbeck on an alumni profile to studying and working in the UK

A self-taught software developer, BSc Computing student Peace Onyehanere, shares the details of life as an international student at Birkbeck and how she marries part-time work and studies. 

Peace Onyehanere by her bike

Can you tell us about your background? 
I am a self-taught software developer studying at Birkbeck to get a degree in Computing. Before joining Birkbeck, I did a diploma in Computing, and I worked as a software developer in Nigeria. 

How did you hear about Birkbeck?  
I found Birkbeck from an alumni’s LinkedIn profile. I got curious and did some research about studying at Birkbeck. I decided to choose Birkbeck as my first choice as I liked the evening studies, and I also had the best experience reaching out to lecturers for my course to ask questions. 

What is it like living in London?  
I watched a couple of YouTube videos on living in London and transportation in London so the first time I had to take public transport, I thankfully did not get lost. Google maps also came in handy. I always made sure to ask the driver when I got on the bus to be sure I am on the right bus. I shop at cheap supermarkets to save some money. There has not been any lockdown since I started studying. But there have been more cases of Covid-19 and new variants at the end of term one. I then had my classes online and I have enjoyed it.  

Peace Onyehanere at her desk

Can you tell us about your studies?   
I have honestly enjoyed online teaching over in-person teaching. With virtual learning, the classes are recorded, and you can refer back to it after the class. There are also reading material and pre-recorded videos you can go through before the class. Each of the courses I have studied so far have been three hours long. But we do have breaks in between the class. There is also a support class provided on weekends where you can ask more questions and get help. 

How is a typical day for you? 
I work as a Frontend developer at a FinTech company. I started job hunting before moving to the UK. I got a couple of offers before arriving, but I got the offer for the company I currently work at while in the UK. A typical day for me starts with work and ends with a lecture if I have one that day. As I work from home, I don’t have to go out. I try to go out and explore my environment, but I am mostly indoors all day. 

Have you used any of BBK support services?  
I have followed Birkbeck Futures and attended the last event organised. I have also had the opportunity to be mentored via the Mentorship program. 

What have you found most challenging about your time in the UK so far? 
I have had a great time in the UK. The one thing I have found challenging is the weather and the short days. I look forward to a great time at Birkbeck and meeting more people. 

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Taking on the challenges of the pandemic to embrace a world of opportunities in London

Flexibility and daytime freedom are what led Oghenemine Djebah to choose Birkbeck to study an MA/LLM Criminal Law and Criminal Justice. In this blog, the Nigerian student shares his journey so far with us.    

Oghenemine Djebah

Oghenemine Djebah

After obtaining an LLB from the Delta State University, Oghenemine Djebah enrolled at the Nigerian Law School, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Laws and was subsequently called to the Nigerian bar. Since then, he has been in active legal practice in Nigeria.

He worked for two notable law firms (Rotimi Jacobs & Co. and Zatts Law Chambers) and volunteered to give free legal services through a registered NGO (Fundamental Rights Enforcement Enlightenment and Defense).

During a 2019 visit to London, Oghenemine fell for the culture and diversity of the city. So, when his desire to gain more in-depth knowledge of the workings of the law inspired him to pursue an LLM he naturally focused his search on universities in the capital. “I started searching for an institution that would be flexible enough to let me work or volunteer while I studied. I found out about Birkbeck on the internet and the evening lectures tallied with the type of institution I was looking for, so I applied and was given admission into the School of Law.”

As the pandemic took hold around the world, Oghenemine considered deferring his admission by a year. “Because of the financial challenges caused by COVID-19 it was quite a challenge getting the initial deposit in time. The management of Birkbeck recognised this and made the concession of reducing the initial deposit by 90% for all international students, which gave me the opportunity to meet all of the requirements and enroll for the 2020 session.” In recognition of his potential Oghenemine was subsequently awarded a Birkbeck International scholarship and a School of Law Postgraduate Award.

The pandemic’s impact was not only financial as, first the Autumn, then the Spring terms were moved online. Oghenemine embraced the challenges and attended online orientation, public lectures as well as the international student’s virtual event at the beginning of the academic year. He reflected: “The international student event was really helpful for me in understanding my role as an international student, including the benefits and how to tap into them.”

Oghenemine has also been making good use of the online services available to students: “The Birkbeck Careers platform is great and enables students not only to see available jobs and apply but also to help teach them how to prepare for interviews and tailor their CVs and cover letters to meet professional standards.”

With a few months of studies under his belt, the Nigerian student assesses his time learning online. “This is actually my first time doing any course via virtual learning. It is quite challenging because I do not get to meet with other students and make good connections which is also part of the university life. However, the lectures have been going great, better than I expected because we are provided with pre-recorded videos for each lecture. The COVID-19 pandemic has made everything different, from living, to studying. Not being able to meet physically and always being indoors has made this period a bit difficult. I look forward to having the opportunity to meet physically with my fellow students and lecturers before graduating from Birkbeck.”

More than anything the Law student sees and embraces the positives studying in London and at Birkbeck can bring: “London is well known for welcoming international students globally, including from Nigeria. Being a student in London enables you to be a part of a well-integrated international and diverse community. London is a city with a lot of opportunities for everyone beyond academic programs. I advise all Nigerians who wish to study internationally to study in London and join a diverse community and tap into the available opportunities.”

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