I chose to enrol in a degree at the School of Public Health and Community Medicine because it is the only school I found in Australia to have a dual degree (international public health and health management) that I wanted. After my MBBS qualification, I worked in different hospitals for a period of three years. For those periods, I saw the need for strengthening the prevention aspect of the health system. I also felt the health system cannot make effective progress without strong leadership and so, I started thinking of how to contribute to public health and the management aspect of health. I won a presidential award after my mandatory 1-year National Service where I was offered employment by the President of my country. I joined the Federal Ministry of Health in the Epidemiology Unit and in this unit, I saw the need to strengthen my research skills.
The second opportunity to fulfil my dream came when I was offered an Australian Award scholarship among many applicants. I began to search for a university in Australia that offered the degree that included Public Health, Health Management, Research, Leadership and Mentorship. UNSW was the only university that offered a degree that met my needs.
As my study was about to commence, I was partly filled with doubt, hoping that I will not be disappointed. Now that I am in my last semester of study, I look back and was grateful to God that I made the right choice. The most important thing I have learned from my studies is the ability to work as a team. I have learned to value everyone and work with different people from various countries and continents.
UNSW has brought the real world into the classroom. Most of the courses are designed to prepare you for the challenges and reality of the outside world. My program was a coursework but it was actually like the table-top simulation of the real world. I have learnt research skills, statistical packages and communication skills as well.
The most challenging thing about my studies was completing five core courses in a particular semester. It was demanding but it was a challenge that improved other skills and qualities in me. It has taught me to know that in real world situations, the challenges of life do not wait. Myriads of challenges can come at any time and life must go on. The overwhelming support from all staff of SPHCM really cushioned the effect of any challenge that one could face in the course of study.
UNSW is a typical example of a global village. I have enjoyed every part of my studies but the thing I enjoyed most is the relationship I had with both staff and colleagues. The staff (academic and non-academic) are very friendly and supportive. They are always willing and available to assist. Their assistance towards international students is tremendous. The loving relationship I enjoyed with colleagues from different background can only be described as that of a united family. The wealth of expertise and diversity of experience that were shared during the period of study is extraordinary.
My message to newly commencing students is to make the best use of the opportunity of a dual degree program offered by the school. It offers an all-inclusive package for anyone in the field of healthcare. I will especially encourage international students to take advantage of the various support services the School has to offer as soon as they arrive so as to settle in quickly because this could be challenging at the initial stage. And to everyone, don’t just pass through the school as a student, integrate yourself into the family of SPHCM.
Within the next 5 years, I see myself making an impact in the field of preventive medicine and public health as a whole in my country of Nigeria. I hope to contribute significantly in filling the gap and strengthening the weakness in the health system through the skills I have acquired in research, leadership and management. My Master’s degree is the beginning of my relationship with UNSW. Beyond the classroom, I’ve been tutored and mentored in the field of Infectious Diseases. This is still very much a challenge in developing countries like mine. This has left an indelible print on my heart and it is the highlight of my degree. I hope to be back in UNSW in the near future for a research program in the field of Infectious Diseases. I don’t think I will find anywhere in the world with the great network and opportunities that SPHCM has offered me.