Study Abroad Masterclass with Flora was a three weeks intensive series on Global Opportunities organized by Arolf International Consult. The goal of the masterclass was to educate Africans on global opportunities (Fellowships, Grants and Scholarships) that would facilitate their academic and professional growth, and strategic ways to stand better chances of securing these opportunities.
The series which took place on three Saturdays in August 2020, had over 670 participants from different African countries, with Flora Ikpen (Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Arolf International Consult), Samuel Adeyanju (University of British Columbia, Canada, MasterCard Foundation Scholar, 2017) and Patience Mmabatho Mganu (University of Limerick, Ireland, Kader Asmal Alumna, 2019) as facilitators.
DAY ONE: Saturday, August 15, 2020.
ACCESSING GLOBAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR UNDERGRADUATE AND POSTGRADUATE PROGRAMMES
On the first day of the masterclass, the facilitator, Flora Ikpen, educated participants on popular and unpopular fellowships, grants and scholarships, and proven ways to search for these opportunities. Discussing the different types of fully and partially funded scholarships available for both domestic and international students, like the academic-based/merit scholarship, average academic scholarship, community service scholarship, need-based scholarship, and region-focused scholarship, participants were enlightened on the objectives of the different scholarship types.
Moving on, she identified scholarship providers as institutions or individuals who provide funding opportunities for students to undertake their studies without having to bear the financial cost. These are universities, governments, international education organizations, multilateral organizations, private individuals, among others. Flora also explained strategic ways participants can discover global opportunities, especially unpopular opportunities; some of which include: directly on universities’ websites, foreign government institutions, international organizations, and platforms curating scholarship opportunities. In concluding the class, proven ways participants can identify opportunities they fit into was also discussed. Alongside, a PDF containing links to over 20 opportunities was given to participants for free.
Day 2: Saturday, August 22, 2020.
POSITIONING FOR GLOBAL OPPORTUNITIES (FELLOWSHIPS, GRANTS & SCHOLARSHIPS)
As a 2017 MasterCard Foundation Scholar and the University of British Columbia, Canada, alumnus, Samuel Adeyanju intensively taught on MasterCard Foundation Scholarship, and how to secure this opportunity, as well as other opportunities. The focus of the class was to help participants position themselves favourably for global opportunities through adequate preparation and involvement in societal development.
Samuel explained how leadership accomplishment improves the chances of securing global opportunities; he gave instances of how participants can build leadership experience and accomplishment through internships, voluntary engagements and community services. Samuel talked about the necessity of building favourable relationships with lecturers, employers, and those participants might need as referees for international opportunities. He also explained the relevance of preparing ahead of opportunities through thorough research; he advised participants to reach out to the providers of these opportunities should they have questions or concerns, and to also seek guidance from alumni. Prioritizing their studies, leveraging on social media, developing leadership capacity, engaging in community service, and building professional experience were some of the key insights of this class.
Samuel extensively guided participants on strategic ways to position themselves for global opportunities.
Day 3- Saturday, August 29, 2020.
WRITING EXCELLENT ESSAYS FOR GLOBAL OPPORTUNITIES (FELLOWSHIPS & SCHOLARSHIPS)
On the last day of the masterclass, South African born Patience Mmabatho Mganu (University of Limerick, Ireland, Kader Asmal Alumna, 2019) brought her wealth of knowledge and experience on board. Putting the final icing on the cake, Patience shared seven keys to help participants write excellent scholarship essays.
- Research about the provider
- What is your proposed programme? Will it benefit your community?
- What is the state of your community and how has this impacted you?
- How will your travel oversee help your community?
- Why should they fund you?
- What are you currently busy with?
- What are your post-study plans?
Taking the question form, Patience provided an adequate guide to enable participants to write compelling essays that put them at advantage. Patience explained the importance of applicants knowing the providers of the opportunities they’re applying to, their core values and priorities; this will help them align their core values to the providers’. This way, their essays will be tailored to the interest of the scholarship providers. Explaining the benefit of an applicant’s proposed course, Patience advised that an applicant’s proposed programme should be relevant to his/her career goals, and it should be of benefit to his/her community- the essay should show interest in improving his/her community through the knowledge gained from the proposed course. She further shared insight on how an applicant’s essay should prove investment-worthy by projecting his/her skills and knowledge, and how s/he has improved circumstances in their community through those.
By the end of the three weeks, the objective of this masterclass series was achieved. Over 670 young Africans were intensively guided on available global opportunities, how to access these opportunities, and how to strategically position themselves for these opportunities, as well as how to write excellent essays. The classes were conducted in three WhatsApp groups from 7 PM WAT to 10 PM WAT- three hours daily.
Over the course of three Saturdays, Flora’s Arolf International Consult held more than 600 of us- from all across Africa- by hand and walked us through several academic opportunities abroad for Undergraduate and Graduate studies. It wasn’t a mere talk-shop; first-hand tips and guides were dished out by two scholarship recipients who shared their stories and insights.
From application, requirements and actual scholarship opportunities and tips for application, those three weekends were one of the most impactful I’ve had in a long time, and at no cost.
Study Abroad Masterclass with Flora opened my eyes on what exactly I need to do to secure a scholarship for my Master studies abroad. During the three weeks classes, I learnt about funding opportunities for studies, how to discover these opportunities, and how to write essays that will make me compete favourably in the large pool of applicants. This has made me narrow down my thoughts and focus more on the right areas. These classes were value-packed. I am glad I attended all the classes
These classes were phenomenal! Through them, my knowledge of international opportunities expanded; I am better aware of available opportunities in different parts of the world and what I can do to secure these opportunities like others who have. Amazing insights and great perspectives were shared by the direct facilitators, and I love how practical they were with their teachings. The question and answer section was wonderful. I was enlightened by the questions asked by other participants. This masterclass is one of the best I’ve attended.
Through the course of three weeks, Flora, Samuel and Patience took us on a journey of accessing the best opportunities globally, education-wise. In all honesty, it’s a lifelong and worthwhile investment in one’s educational career. It is an experience worth relishing throughout one’s lifetime. Indeed, Flora and her team did an amazing job. Kudos to them all.
About the Facilitators:
Patience Mmbatho Mganu is a Human Resources Practitioner for an Irish medical software company. She obtained a Master degree in Human Resource Management from the University of Limerick, Ireland, as a 2018/2019 Kadar Asmal Scholar.
Born and raised in Kimberly, South Africa, Patience had a Bachelor of Honours degree in Industrial Psychology at North-West University, South Africa.
Patience is a registered Psychometrist and an active Kader Asmal Alumna.
Flora Ikpen is an International Education Consultant, Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Arolf International Consult, an international brand that seeks to promote Human Development and global connectivity through International Higher Education.
She is the organizer of Study Abroad Masterclass with Flora. A series of intensive teachings on global opportunities (Fellowships, Grants and Scholarships), and strategic ways Africans can access them. Flora is the author of How to Write an Outstanding Statement of Purpose for Admission, Scholarship and Visa Applications, Accessing Global Scholarships for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Programmes, and 100 Links to Global Opportunities (Fellowships, Grants & Scholarships)
Passionate about Sustainable Development and Human Capital Development, particularly in her continent, Africa; Flora is committed to advancing the US SDG 4: Quality Education, through Arolf International Consult, community service and development-centred projects.