From a tiny town in South-west Somalia to numerous African countries, I spent a great deal of my adult life on the move looking for a place to call home. In 2008, I arrived in Birmingham through refugee family reunion and soon joined Dialogue Direct (a fundraising agency) as a community fundraiser, a role I cherish to this day. I spent nearly two years working with Dialogue Direct and held several posts including fundraising supervisor. In the spring of 2010 and after failing to gain further promotion, I left my job and returned to education to pursue a career in social research.
At first, it was all but daunting-I did know much about higher education in the United Kingdom; it was completely a new experience and a new beginning for me but I dreamed of achieving good grades and graduating with good Honours degree.
Although I am technically a home student, English is not my first language. I found following lectures and engaging with conversations challenging-I felt misplaced and lonely. I needed to catch up and so I spent most of my time in the library familiarising myself with concepts and theories in my subject area. Additionally, I joined the University’s Peer Mentoring Scheme and attended a few essay writing bite-size sessions. Soon, I was on the rise-I became empowered and began to interact with peers and staff more freely and all thanks to a magnificent team at Bolton University whom I remain very close to this day.
In 2014 and after completing Psychology degree and a PGCE, I was offered a PhD studentship with the School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work and Social Sciences. I was keen to revisit my previous work experience in international development and voluntarism in low income countries and explore international voluntarism and perceived impacts, bringing the views of Ugandan health workers engaging with UK professional volunteers to the fore. My PhD experience has been fantastic thus far-I acquired an in-depth knowledge in my research area through working with Professor Louise Ackers, my PhD supervisor on a number of projects aimed at improving maternal and newborn health in Uganda with volunteer placements and knowledge exchange schemes. I also acquired lots of research skills through PGR training seminars and became Hourly Paid Lecturer, mainly facilitating SPSS workshops for Criminology undergraduate students.
I am delighted to have been offered the role of PGR students’ representative and I plan to use my position to mobilise PGR students and build PGR community with focus on co-learning, co-researching and network building. One of the key areas I would like to explore with PGR students is to resurrect monthly meetings and introduce student led mentoring scheme tapping into PGR students’ knowledge and expertise, mobilising them at an individual and at a group level. Having experienced the effectiveness of student led peer mentoring scheme myself, I hope to draw on my experiences and create conducive environment for all PGR students to exchange ideas and expertise.
Ph.D. student at University of Salford,
School: Nursing, Midwifery, and Social Work & Social Sciences.