Ramatu Umar Bako graduated from the University of Aberdeen in 2017 with a master's in Global Conflict and Peace Processes. In this blog she shares why she decided to return to the classroom as a mature student and how the skills learnt while studying in the UK helped her become Head of Influencing and Public Engagement at Oxfam Nigeria.
I went back to education while raising a family, many years after my first degree in Law and with many years of work experience. I was privileged to study as a Chevening scholar. As a mature student, I used the opportunity to learn, relearn and unlearn the prejudices and stereotypes I held about different people and cultures. It was an opportunity for me to really understand myself and what I wanted out of my life.
‘I used the opportunity to learn, relearn and unlearn the prejudices and stereotypes I held about different people and cultures.’
Before my master's course I had been a lifelong traveller to the UK, but I can assure you that visiting and living in the UK are two different experiences. As a visitor, you see things through a different lens. I am happy to say that studying in the UK has been the best experience of my life. Initially, I thought academic work would be easy having years of experience writing and reviewing reports, but I quickly realised that academic writing is different from social writing. The intense research, citations and fear of plagiarism was a lot of pressure. Gathering sources and references was a challenge.
The highlight of my UK university experience was studying and engaging with students from around the world. The opportunity to learn from a diverse team of lecturers from different countries was another advantage as their teaching styles highlighted their multiple realities. I found my volunteering experience at Alzheimer’s Scotland very enriching and rewarding too.
‘I am happy to say that studying in the UK has been the best experience of my life.’
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