I was born in Sofia, Bulgaria to a loving Christian family. I grew up aspiring to become a medical doctor. Unlike many of the professionals in the sector, my passion for medicine came not from the security of great career prospects but from an earnest desire to help less privileged individuals across the globe. I was determined to emigrate to a nation in sub-Saharan Africa after completing my studies, open my own practice in a rural village, and offer free health services to people in need. I honestly felt that I could change the world: I could see myself running a network of accessible medical centres and surgeries in years to come. Medicine for me was not a way of helping myself by earning money, but rather a way of helping those whom no one helped.
How I reached where I am now
I attended a foreign language high school in Bulgaria and majored in German (and French), so I was expected to study in Germany. However, I had always wanted to study in the UK and was confident that this was my spot, this was where I had to start my academic journey. I applied for a place to study medicine in three universities, as well as international development with economics and one additional course. And I prayed! Fortunately for me (now I boldly say, but then it was heartbreaking), I got rejected for medicine (despite my quite strong application). I settled for international development with economics because I genuinely saw a potential in the degree to equip me with the knowledge and experience that I needed to achieve some of my goals. And I gave it my all!
In my penultimate year of study at the University of East Anglia, I received one of seven Dissertation Support Fund Awards from my school. The reason I am privileged to write this blog today is a Highly Commended in Social Sciences Award (the top 10 per cent in my field), which was awarded by the Undergraduate Awards earlier this year. As part of the Undergraduate Awards Global Summit 2015 in Dublin, I was honoured to meet the president of the Republic of Ireland, Michael Higgins, the former minister of education and skills, Ruairi Quinn, and many other notable individuals.
My next steps
My profile bio says that I aspire to “build a career in consultancy and project management, whilst being part of the development of sub-Saharan Africa, particularly Nigeria, as strategic leader, businesswoman and investor”. So I’m hoping to go far. And God has been helping me.
I want to be relevant to my generation and to be able to provide solutions for issues that are of great concern to African people, things such as higher quality education and health services, better governance, reliable infrastructure, electricity and so on.
I was keen to be part of this blog platform because I know that embarking on the journey of tertiary education could be hectic for you.
A few things to keep in mind:
You’ll be facing numerous challenges – financial, academic, social and, perhaps, personal, as you’ll be growing as an individual. It will be hard, but you should be determined to succeed. Have a vision, turn it into a mission and hold yourself responsible for taking the right decisions. You can make it!