From the mountain kingdom to the world: my Chevening journey
My journey with the University of Bath began when I was about 10 years of age. I found a postcard with one of the most beautiful, nature surrounded places ever, with an abundance of green trees. I remember thinking to myself, ‘What a serene, tranquil place, I would love to go there.’ That was the University of Bath.
Fast forward a couple of years later, I was working in the development sector for different NGOs in Lesotho. Through the fellowships that I had participated in, I had heard about the Chevening Scholarship from one of the Fellows. What attracted me to the scholarship was that it was not only a great opportunity to learn from some of the best universities in the world, but also a chance to network, build my social capital, and also to travel and explore. As fate would have it, the serene, tranquil, green university I had seen during my pre-adolescence years, offered my dream course, MSc International Development, Social Justice and Sustainability. As a development practitioner who was working on social justice issues and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the pathway afforded me to combine everything I was passionate about.
Settling into the university life
Besides enjoying the vibrant international community in my class, I was also fortunate enough to make friends with some of my Commonwealth and Chevening Scholars. Because of our shared love for travel, we embarked on discovering different cities and places of interest whenever we got a chance. Some of the places we have managed to visit thus far include London, Bristol, Cardiff, Swansea, Oxford and Edinburgh. During the trips we meet and engage with other Commonwealth and Chevening Scholars. Despite seeing all these places, nothing holds a candle to Bath. I was enchanted by Bath, from the minute I saw the city, it was like walking into a long-loved story book. The city was also small and easy to navigate without getting lost. This was especially important for me, a girl from the tiny mountain kingdom with the population size of two million people.
Volunteering and networking events
During the Freshers' Fair, I met with different interesting societies. I had always admired the work done by the One Young World, and discovering that the One Young World Bath was recruiting committee members, I jumped at the opportunity and applied. I was elated to be chosen among the hopefuls and joined the Relationships team as a Partnerships Director. The OYW Bath caucus is a one-day conference convening leaders who are working to accelerate social impact and attainment of the SDGs. In addition to the volunteership with OYW Bath, I also serve as a postgraduate Student Ambassador role and landed a placement role as a research assistant as part of my practicum.
My Chevening and University of Bath journey has been amazing. I have attended numerous networking and enriching events hosted both in Bath and London. In October, I attended the Chevening Orientation meeting in London where I interacted with 1500+ Cheveners from different universities. In Bath, a small-knit community, I have been able to find a church that embraces me, join the Chaplaincy International connect meetings on Wednesdays and attend several events. I am thankful for the opportunity that Chevening and the University of Bath have given me, and I believe that I will be able to use my skills, to drive more social impact in my country.
Mantsebeng Suzan Maepe