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First days at the University | First Semester | Great Experience | Poverty Reduction

First Days at the University

Dennis Moore about his first days at the University of Twente

I am a Sierra Leonean JJ/WBGSP student studying for my MBA degree at the University of Twente in The Netherlands.

I must say I had plenty of pleasant experiences during my first few days at the University. This may be because the initial months of the study program requires students to study out of the main University campus in a small town called Franeker (in the extreme north of the Netherlands). Since we were the only students on our small 'campus', this meant that we had a lot more attention from academic and support staff of the University. For instance, we had a Secretariat that we had easy access to and who were willing and able to assist with our many inquires and problems.

Events were also further helped by the frequent number of coordination meetings we had with University authorities where we were free to speak out and discuss our various experiences - both academic and otherwise.

Furthermore, the course program had a number of 'informal' subjects such as English Communications and Management and Advisory Skills during which students were made to interact in a lot less formal way in classroom work. This made for interesting exchanges during which cultural and social differences from our different countries were listened to and active participation encouraged. These particularly helped students whose first languages were not English.

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Wui Wui Yu from Malaysia, studies Analysis, Design and Management of Information Systems at London School of Economics

When I came over to London end September this year, I was really curious to know if there were other JJ/WBGSP students here, and I'm delighted to know of this community.

Adapting to life in London initially was not easy, mainly the weather and food which I've got used to by now. Also the people here in London, who's need for personal space are very much larger than those in Asia and US. I was blessed to get a place at London House - good facilities, great talents, and lots of social events.

But it would have helped a lot if this community forum was set up earlier. Perhaps something can be arranged to support JJ/WBGSP students next year?

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Admira Onyenze about her first days at the University of Wales Swansea

I am a Sierra Leonean by Nationality studying at the University of Wales Swansea, doing development studies at postgraduate level.

My first few days at the above university was quite interesting. We had orientation from various units in the university especially that of the International student advisory unit. It gave us a holistic idea about the campus life which also includes security information work during
studies. There were welcome parties for new students to integrate with the community. For example, Swansea community did a welcome party for all postgraduate students. It was quite interesting because everyone should ensure that he/she speaks with each and everyone at the party one at a time in order to interact. We were just moving around through out the party. It was an acquaintances party.

At the university we also have an English class for student whose first language is not English. We also had simulation class, that is, foundation class which were using role play method. This was another form of interaction for the new students. There is also free computer classes for beginners to learn how to operate the computer.

We have seminars every Wednesday afternoon where students are also expected to interact with community, lecturers, people from Swansea, and outside Swansea, present papers on different topics, and after the presentation students are expected to asks questions.

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Zione Uka, found quite hard the beginning of her studies

I must say I found it quite hard at the beginning to have to work at a number of courseworks due within a short period and at the same time be ready for an exam around the corner. Actually the first coursework I did not do well. I suppose I was still getting used to the system. What made it worse was that many students in the class did better. I was angry at myself with the result, but it really got me working as harder as I could. I believed that if others could get better marks, so could I. How right I was!

The next assessments I was one of the best, and although there have been some other hiccups, generally my performance has greatly improved from that first coursework, which helped me get through the Semester...

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  First Semester

Lillian Nsubuga about her first semester at the University of Bath in UK

I am called Lillian Nsubuga, pursuing an MSc in International Development at the University of Bath in the UK. The first semester was really a tough period for me, having to get used to all that academic language with all its theories and concepts. I am glad I passed. However, I must say I was disappointed with some of my grades. I worked very hard and had expected better grades only to get a shock! But I believe the second semester will be a lot better. I am a lot wiser now. At least I have learnt to speak the academic language just like the professors here.

Word of advice. Make good use of every minute during your studies because time flies like there is no tomorrow! I can't believe that I am already in the 6th month of my studies. More advice. Be active in class, like chairing seminars, making presentations and contributing to class discussions. It makes you popular with the lecturers and other students. You also earn yourself lots of respect and recognition. Even if you are not sure that what you are going to say is right or relevant, just say it. It is better than not saying a word in class.

Also, read lots of newspapers, journals, reports and bulletins. They contain a lot of practical information. The World Development Reports and Human Development Reports have especially been helpful to me.

Examinations? Tough period. To lessen the pressure start preparing for them early enough.

Generally, I'm having lots of fun in my studies. I might do a placement/internship between July and September, which means that I will complete writing my dissertation in December. That is how it is done in Bath.

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Great Experience

Rica Bueno, the Philippines: Program opened a new horizon

I took my Masters in Development Planning at the University of Queensland in 1999-2000. I should say it was a great experience and I'm forever grateful to the Program for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime.

The experience opened a new horizon for me not only academically, but as well as personally. I cherished the new ideas, learning and friendships gained while studying and living in Australia.
Although my study was not without difficulties having to adjust to full course work study again was something I had to deal with.

Our program director, Dr. Mano Kumarasuriyar and other professors were very helpful at all times. But what carried me through most was the bond of support I got from co-international students -- helping each other with assignments, researchers, and even personal problems.

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Nguyenba Thuy: Saitama University is a very good place for studying and doing research

I have been awarded scholarship from JJ/World Bank for mater program in the Department of Civil Engineering and Environmental Engineering of Saitama University. The course started in October, 2002.

Saitama is a very good place for studying and doing research, and is many of students from. Almost forty different countries, mainly coming from Asia.

Due to its diversity in Japan culture and in many countries you have a chance to make friends and learn more about Japan and different cultures.

There is party and cultural show every year, students from each country introduce its country's culture and identity. This may be a song, a play or a dance. University also organize trip for students to learn more about Japan, a beautiful country with nice people and good foods.

Studying in Saitama, requires hard-working and well planning. You will see that there will be lots of readings, experiment, assignment, and research, etc. Good planning of your time (with balance of studying and playing) is very important since it will help you balance the workload of study and reduce stress.

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Muhammad Aftab Majeed: The degree from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK has provided me with a first hand knowledge and broaden my horizon to address the environmental issues

I have successfully completed my degree from University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK in 2003-2004.

It was a very good experience for me to get advanced education in the field of Environment. Aberdeen is one of the Scotland's important cities and is a hub of oil and gas development in the North Sea. Years of exploration in the North Sea and waste generated as a result of exploration have caused serious environmental problems in UK. Environmental Sciences department of University of Aberdeen is one of the leading departments in research on bioremediation of contaminated land and toxic waste.

Water being a precious commodity has been the main concern while dealing with contaminated land. The focus of my thesis was the development in situ remediation techniques for contaminated soil to asses the ground water quality and its potential impacts. The research which I have conducted was based on original soil samples from one of the gas work sites in UK.

According to my personal work experience in oil and gas sector in the developing world, water scarcity and its pollution is the major environmental problem, particularly in the developing countries where oil waste has been dumped in the soil for years.

The degree has provided me with a first hand knowledge and broaden my horizon to address the environmental issues and its sustainable management. I am thankful to the staff and selection committee of World Bank for providing me wit this opportunity.

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Poverty Reduction

Lillian Nsubuga: Fighting poverty requires more than just sacrifice - it requires commitment and determination

I am called Lillian from Uganda, and I am currently pursuing my Msc in International Development at Bath University with JJ/WBGSP funds.

I am a journalist and have come face to face with extreme poverty in my country. That is why I chose this course. Two months into the course, I realize the problem is actually bigger than I ever imagined (globally), and I am already making mental pictures of what I would like to do when I get back to my country. But fighting poverty requires more than just sacrifice - it requires commitment and determination, it requires insight and above all, it requires patience especially with the people whose life you are trying to change.

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Sudarshana Perera: knowledge gained at the Columbia University is helping to participate in poverty reduction programmes in Sri Lanka

I am from Sri Lanka. I did my Masters at the Columbia University, New York City. It is a JJ/WBGSP regular programme, therefore the course is well focused and organized. There are around 50 students in the course from all over the world and 15 of them whom came from developing countries were funded by the JJ/WBGSP.

We have separate office under the supervision of a very good Director and three other nice officers. This office was with us all the time.

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