Everybody knows how challenging combining studying and working is, as much as it is a great opportunity to get work experience and lay practical foundations for your future job. Emmanuel Mamadi’s academic career in Kenya was a successful combination of both.
Having been awarded an African Leadership Summer Scholarship at King’s College London, Emmanuel has just graduated and celebrated his achievement in the best way by travelling abroad for the first time from his hometown in Kenya – proof that hard work can pay off.
The African Leadership Summer Scholarship programme offers students from King’s select African partners the opportunity to study on the King’s Summer School in London on courses on Conflict, Security and Leadership. The scholarship programme supports the work of the African Leadership Centre (ALC) at King’s which aims to inform and influence policy change both in Africa and at a global level. The ALC runs ground-breaking Master’s programmes and a highly competitive Fellowship programme that allows those involved to work and study on several continents. This year saw seven students from Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa attend the summer scholarship programme.
Emmanuel’s scholarship included, alongside the fully funded attendance of an intensive King’s Undergraduate Summer School module, workshops on leadership, security and peace issues.
We have spoken to him to hear more about his experience.
What was your first experience of the city? London is a beautiful and astonishing city which never gets old. It was so exciting to experience London with all its cultural diversity and different dynamics. The people here are friendly and interacting with many of them is an invigorating experience. I used to just imagine what it would be like here and this being my first time to travel out of my country… it was ecstatic.
Did you face any challenges? Well, I love challenges and with all the excitement of a whole new experience I took everything positively. However, the culture shock stunned me with most people here having more private space than I am used to. It wasn’t really much of a challenge but a learning experience.
What’s been your favourite thing about London so far? The diversity stands out for me. It’s my favourite feature of London.
What did you make of the academic experience? Yes, a conversation with King’s African Leadership Centre director, Professor Funmi Olonisakin; visiting London Bridge, the London Eye, being in Whitehall and Trafalgar Square. I have yet so much more to explore.
The session with Gonzalo Vargas Llosa, the lead of the United Nations Refugee Agency in Britain, was also an eye opener. The course lessons at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) gave me new thoughts and inspired my sense of analysis and critical thinking. In a nut shell, my experience was fascinating and a learning curve.
Was there anything that amazed you? Professor Jack Spence from the War Studies department at King’s College London would tell you that a picture, i.e. art, simplifies and history complicates. Well, my time at King’s has been a time of memories made of both pictures and history. Having the chance to experience learning in an environment occupied by diversity, knowledge and skill has made me come out feeling exhilarating about studies. The experience of interacting with different professors, tutors, staff and students from the globe has built me holistically; not only in the academic sphere but life skills as well.
Can you describe London in three words? Diverse, euphoric & amazing!