.

Student profiles from Sub Saharan Africa

Kulsum Jina
Kulsum Jina

Kulsum Jina, MPharm, Kenya

I love the friendliness of the staff and students here and the community feel there is about Aston. It has been so easy to make so many good friends. There is also a great mix of student nationalities on campus so I have met students from all over the world. The teaching method is excellent too with an interesting mix of lectures, workshops and practical work. I also like being so close to the city amenities. For me, Birmingham has everything! It is a fun city and I live in a lovely, supportive community. The cost of living is much lower in Birmingham than it is in London so going out is much cheaper. I really love it here.

Sheillah Chimungeni
Sheillah Chimungeni

My course is very good and challenging, it’s more then I had expected! There are different facilities here that I have never seen before or been exposed to. There is a very mixed group of students from a range of different countries and backgrounds and this has opened up my mind and taught me to think more extensively. The way people relate to others is really welcoming, when you walk into a room no-one is judging you which makes it really easy to fit in.

Think Aston! 1. It’s a well ranked university, both generally and in specific subject areas. 2. Birmingham is the second largest city in the UK with good living costs and transport systems within.

I have been to France on a residential trip and this was great. We worked with students from a University from Spain and the class in France and were able to see at what level we were working at compared to them. I realised that the major difference between us and them was that we had been encouraged to discuss topics much more than them, our contributions were well prepared and expected from our colleagues.

Sybil Akua Okyerewa
Sybil Akua Okyerewa

Sybil Akua Okyerewa, MSc Drug Delivery, Ghana

The main reason for choosing Aston University was because of its leading role in pioneering research and its high graduate employability rates. Aston University is also an institution which is well recognised worldwide, famous for its high quality academic staff and learning environment.

After coming to Aston, I was really excited when I realised that most of my lecturers were r1esearch scientists. The great mix of students from different countries and the ‘Highly Trusted Sponsor’ status of Aston University made me certain that it is a safe environment to study in. The location of the university (situated in Birmingham city centre) and the level of reception and help I had from the International Students Office was something that I found exceptional. Moreover, what I like about Aston University is the environment – it is very calm and interactive. I like the university’s Library and the many resources available most importantly the fact that it runs 24hours a during exam periods. There are so many facilities available and all the supports provided to Aston students make Aston graduates feel very special.

MSc Drug Delivery is a postgraduate programme under the School of Life and Health Sciences, and for me is an excellent progression of my undergraduate programme - Pharmacy. The modules under the course are Chemotherapy and Selective Toxicity, Drug delivery and Targeting, Drug Dosage Form and Design, Drug Discovery, Research Methods; Professional Development and Communication Skills, Principles of Product Analysis, Research Skills and a Research Project. Most of the  first year examinations are conducted after the Christmas vacation in January, however other modes of assessment exist which include Laboratory Practicals, Seminars, Assignments, Report Writing. The timetable is reasonably packed and the work load is manageable, there is sufficient amount of time to enable students keep up with their lectures. By the end of the course, enough practical experience would have been gained as most of the modules have a practical component.

The lecturers on the course are all very friendly and approachable; there is a certain level of care they give to their students that is admirable. Any problems that students have in class, it is easy to have them solved either through direct communication, through Black Board or by simply dropping them an email.

It is my aim for the future to move on to my PhD after graduating and after that start a career in lecturing and research. Aston is amongst the top universities on the league table of best universities in the UK and the world, getting the chance to be taught by renowned lecturers and research scientists which will give me the skills to follow in their footsteps.

Yaw Kwarteng
Yaw Kwarteng

Yaw Kwateng, MBA, Ghana 

I did not know how much pressure I was going to be under on the MBA, I do not get the time to do anything! But this teaches you to manage your time, the university supports you with this and you come to learn that nothing is impossible. Aston MBA graduates take on the world, the sky's the limit!

Claudia Halm
Claudia Halm

Claudia Halm, MSc Finance and Investments, Ghana    

Read about what I think of Aston below.

The MSc in Finance and Investment at Aston really appealed to me as certain topics in the modules are not covered at other universities. The Business School is well known and after graduating l hope to work in Banking and Finance.

I went to Education Fairs in Ghana and found them really useful. I met representatives from other UK universities but felt Aston University offered the most opportunities and experience. The staff are really helpful and supportive, I would recommend Education Fairs as they provide a lot of useful information.

As the campus is located near the city centre, you are able to walk to the main train station which can connect you to all the major cities in the UK including London, Nottingham and Manchester.

Ahmed Rufai Abdul Rahman
Ahmed Rufai Abdul Rahman

Ahmed  Rufai Abdul Rahman, MSc Biomedical Science, Commonwealth Scholar, Ghana


Deciding to come to Aston was quite an easy choice. The programme l chose has some great modules and the laboratory standards are very high. After graduating l will also be able to choose from a wide range of career prospects.

The staff during the application process, the lecturers and my personal tutor have been really helpful and approachable.  l am particularly impressed by the Blackboard software which makes studying much easier. Blackboard contains lecture notes, videos, journals, staff details and a lot more.

I am really enjoying Birmingham city too. As a football fan l will soon be going to Aston Villa’s football ground to watch a match. There are a lot of great buildings around too and the new Bullrings curved silver building is impressive.

There are also people from many countries studying at Aston and in Birmingham which has made settling into my programme easier.  This will be a very interesting and exciting year.

Perpetua Akonor-Mills
Perpetua Akonor-Mills

 Perpetua Akonor-Mills, MA Translation Studies, Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Winner, Ghana


I am passionate about Translation and really enjoy some of the more specific modules on my programme which other universities did not offer. When applying for the course, staff at the school were really helpful and always tried to give as much information as possible. The service was very high.

I prefer Birmingham to other cities I’ve visited as it is not as cold or crowded here. As the University is in the city centre getting to the shops is also really convenient.  

I’m also really enjoying staying in the new accommodation as l’m living with just girls which is nice. 

As a Commonwealth Shared Scholarship winner l will go back home when l graduate and work in the Translation industry or maybe teach at a university. The UK system of more independent learning and responsibility is a great idea.

Gbednet Theophilus Kureh, MSc Pharmacology
Gbednet Theophilus Kureh
Gbednet Theophilus Kureh, MSc Pharmacology, Nigeria

Aston University has a reputation evident from the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) ranking of the University. A student with so much enthusiasm in research like me will definitely choose Aston University. The profile of my lecturers also inspired my passion to study at Aston University. Their publications and achievements certainly made me very interested in building a research career in some of their fields of research. Aston definitely has a name that every student would love to be recognised with.

Birmingham is truly an exciting city to live in. It has a mix of people from different nationalities and is a safe place to be. The proximity of Aston University to the city centre makes studying and living in Birmingham all very interesting. Birmingham has a rich cultural heritage evident in the city’s architecture, the museum and the people’s way of life. I strongly agree with people who  call Birmingham, home away from home.

The staff in my programme are friendly and willing to help the students whenever possible. They are open to suggestions from students to improve the programme. The modules studied are interesting, they include receptor and molecular pharmacology, pharmacological basis for therapeutics, neuropharmacology, drug discovery, research and communication skills and the advanced pharmacology module which I find most interesting. The lecturers are constantly making inputs to make the course more interesting, engaging and up to date with current trends in research. The student mix is a lovely one with students from different continents of the world.

I intend to pursue a career in research. I hope to do a PhD in Pharmacology and Therapeutics, especially in Cancer Research and neuropharmacology.

Ayo Ajayi
Ayo Ajayi

Ayo Ajayi, MBA, Nigeria

The Aston experience has inspired me and if I were to do an MBA again I would come back to Aston.

 The MBA has allowed me to see things differently and to start my own business. It has given me a lot of insight. I call it a journey to knowledge, the Aston experience is inspiring. I have learnt about new ideas, innovation, corporate and social responsability and a whole host of other concepts.
The MBA team that support us have been helpful and very friendly and Birmingham is a wonderfully diverse city.
Babafemi Banjo
Babafemi Banjo

Babafemi Banjo, MBA, Nigeria 

I have learned that the reputation of Aston Business School opens a lot of doors and I am sure the name on my CV has secured me some of my recent interviews.

Before speaking to the university’s representative in Nigeria I had never heard of Aston University. After learning some more one of the major reasons I chose Aston was because it offers African students scholarships to study the MBA. I receive a 50% fee reduction and was also able to secure a further £5000 through the Ferguson Trust scholarship. I also chose Aston University because it is outside of London, where I think there can be too many distractions from studying.

I hope to start my own business within 5 years and I know that the MBA has equipped me with the tools and confidence to be able to achieve this successfully. The course has touched on every aspect of management and with a distinction in an ABS MBA the sky really is the limit for my future.

Oyankinsola Coker
Oyankinsola Coker

Oyankinsola Coker, MBA, Nigeria

I believe the Aston MBA will bring me to the attention of the right people and open up new avenues for me.

My first degree is in architecture so it was difficult to get people’s interest when I wanted to discuss IT matters with them. I believe the Aston MBA will bring me to the attention of the right people and open up new avenues for me. Because of the IGS (International Graduate Scheme) I intend to stay on for a year after I graduate and gain some valuable work experience.

If possible I would like to stay on in Birmingham after that. Eventually, my ambition is to set up my own IT Consultancy firm. I love Birmingham! I was hesitant about coming to Birmingham in the first place as I thought it was a small place in the middle of nowhere but now I totally love it. I actually prefer Birmingham much more than London and I appreciate the lower cost of living and added space that you get here. Eventually I would love to live and work here.

Pauline Osasona
Pauline Osasona

Pauline Osasona, MBA, Nigeria

My time at Aston has been amazing! I came to Aston as a raw material and I am leaving as a finished product.

I chose the Aston MBA mainly because of the duration of the programme, being 1 year long. I have a family so I didn’t want too much time away from them. I selected the Aston MBA after researching the TOP MBA website. Also, I was impressed by how quickly the MBA team responded to my email and telephone enquiries. They were always polite and prompt. So far, all my expectations have been met.

I describe Aston as being like a mini-world. You get to meet so many different people from other cultures as there is such a good, diverse mix of nationalities but you also get to meet lots of British students too. It is easy to fit in and feel part of the student body. The orientation programme helped as well. Finally, I was lucky enough to be awarded a scholarship for which I am very grateful. My time at Aston has been amazing! I came to Aston as a raw material and I am leaving as a finished product. Studying here has really broadened my outlook on life. It has helped me so much and makes me consider everything differently and not to accept only one answer. In particular, I have found studying business ethics most enlightening. I would like to stay on under the new IGS scheme which allows me to stay for one year after graduation to gain some work experience. I hope to work in a sales & marketing role and ultimately run my own business.

Ronald Ugiomoh
Ronald Ugiomoh

Ronald Ugiomoh, BSc Computer Science, Nigeria

The quality of teaching is very high; I have found good standards along with steadily available resources for learning.   I like the city centre location of Aston and from Birmingham it easy for me to travel around the country.  The diverse range of students at Aston is great.  On my course we get to work in groups with students from different backgrounds, this has been fun and has improved my social skills.  I was involved in Freshers’ fair during the student welcome week and have joined some societies, becoming the president of the African and Caribbean society.

Farrel Elliot
Farrel Elliot

Farrel Elliot, MBA, Sierra Leone

When I decided to apply for an MBA I wanted a school with accreditation. I had learnt about the importance of the AACSB accreditation when I was studying in the Netherlands. I applied to Columbia University in the United States and to Aston and another UK university. My first criterion was the accreditation and Aston had the triple accreditation. I was surprised by the reasonable price for a school with this accreditation. I visited both of the UK institutions that I had applied to and asked questions. At Aston I met with the MBA Programme Director who gave a presentation about the rankings, the school and the value for money. That was excellent. The deciding factor was when I was offered a scholarship from Aston.

The MBA has given me a very rounded perspective of the difference facets of business. My reason for doing an MBA was to put my experience in perspective. I wanted to gain an academic understanding of my previous experience and understand issues better. I can now bring this to my next job.

Andrew Ssemata Sentoogo
Andrew Ssemata Sentoogo

Andrew SsemataSentoogo, MSc Psychology of Health and Illness, Uganda

Read more about my Aston experience by clicking on the tabs below.

I did my Bachelors Psychology degree at Makerere University and then took a 1 year gap year in which I volunteered at Zion Baptist Church which also hosts Jimmy’s night shelter   in Cambridge. I have also done research work with Cerebral Malaria Research Collaboration at Mulago National Referral Hospital, now Global Health Uganda.

I wanted to do health psychology in 2008, but I didn’t have my papers ready in time. In January 2011, I went to a British Council Education Exhibition in Kampala where I met Liza who told me about Aston University and the Scholarships available. I have a great passion for psychology  and being involved in psychological research which Aston is excellent at, with staff holding a great wealth of experience. The scholarship motivated me; there were lots of incentives, and lots of interesting research on the website, which the School of Life and Health Sciences is involved in. The excellent facilities and study environment looked awesome. I used the services of UNISERV which Liza recommended; they helped me with my application.

Has Aston lived up to your expectations?

Absolutely, I have not remained the same in all spheres of life; spiritually, academically, mentally, socially. I am better equipped and prepared to go and serve the nations.  

The people here and the staff are very friendly and helpful, the resources and facilities here are excellent and there is amazing innovative research happening everywhere.

At Aston there is a lot of technology advancement, for example you can enrol online and order books from the self-service. Virtually everything is computerised. There is 24hour access to services which is a lot different from my country. The student-lecturer interaction is amazing. Having a personal tutor has been great.

The thing I have enjoyed most at Aston is being part of a small class that is more of a family, engaging in independent learning and sharing knowledge and having lots of opportunities for service both internally and externally.

I would advise future Aston students to come ready and open to learn and share their experiences. There is so much Aston has to offer.

I have been involved in a number of societies and projects while at Aston including:

  • Outreach-volunteering

  • Project Uganda

  • Aston University Christian Union

  • Aston Links, St. John Ambulance

I have 2 possible plans:

  1. I want to do a PhD, I am quite happy to do it here at Aston; I would like to get involved in  health psychology and Neurological research.

  2. I would also like to go back to Uganda and get involved in research and activities which require psychologists; I would like to help people.

Aston has equipped me to be a world class researcher and I believe the skills  and experience obtained will be a significant stepping stone in future.

Neville
Neville Mvo Ngum

Neville Mvo Ngum,  MSc Molecular Toxicology, Cameroon

Aston University is a place where you feel homeliness and it’s quite convenient for studies. 

Read more by clicking on the tabs below.

I studied a 4 year bachelor degree in Medical Laboratory Sciences at the University of BUEA. I also did a 2 year master degree in Chemical pathology which I am waiting for the final results in December 2011.

Aston University is quite small. It has a high employment rate after graduation. There is a good student to teacher ratio there is alot of communication between myself and the lecturers. It is close to the Bullring, just 10 minutes walk which is good for me. The facilities for my course here are also excellent.

Blackboard is good because you can access lecture notes before the lecture, this is not available in my home country. It is also easy to directly talk to lecturers where as at home this is a lot harder.

I want to go back home and work with cancer patients to reduce the amount of people who develop serious cancer. I also want to work with people who have metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity.
Zamina Hamza
Zamina Hamza
Zamina Hamza, MSc Biomedical Science, Tanzania


Click the tabs below to find out more about my time at Aston

Aston is a well-known university, having a great reputation. Everything is conveniently located. My study experience at Aston was completely new and different for me. Studying here gave me an excellent experience as it opened up many options which I had no idea about.

Masters programmes aren’t easy. It’s just way too stressful. The lecturers however are very helpful and the facilities provided at Aston are excellent. Examinations are never easy; just have to do your best cross your fingers to pass everything with a good grade.

Birmingham is a lively place, well organised and, of course, well developed. The cost of living is affordable as well, and everything is just so nearby.

I would like to work in the UK after graduating, gain some work experience before returning back to my hometown.

About my Scholarship: I was lucky to receive a 6,000 scholarship from LHS. The best part of getting this scholarship was that it made my parents proud of me. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. A huge thank you to Aston University.

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research