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Florence Poku is a Ghanaian student studying MSc Economic Development and Policy Analysis as she benefited from UKEAS free counseling services. 

Why did you choose the University of Nottingham?

Whenever I am asked this question, I also ask: ‘Why not the university of Nottingham?’ The university has credentials like it is a member of the Russel group universities, among the top 100 universities in the world, among others. Aside the credentials, I chose the university of Nottingham because two of my siblings are alumni of this university and their experiences and maturity, influenced my decision. Also, the university had the course I wanted to study; not just theoretical development economics but empirical and practical development economics with policy analysis.

What is your favourite thing about the University of Nottingham?

I love nature and the University of Nottingham campuses are full of nature; I can talk of the lakes, the green environment, different kinds of trees and the fact that animals are all around the campus; squirrels, gooses, different kinds of birds……it’s just breath-taking. I also love the mixture of old and modern architectures; they are just lovely.

What is the best thing about your course?

It is intellectually challenging. Some people might see this as a disadvantage, but I see it as an advantage because it is very rewarding. Also, this is further studies and deeper knowledge is what I came to acquire, and I am getting more than what I came for. Now I can read empirical works and understand better to appreciate and even critique them. I feel like I am truly on my way to become the best me and I love it!

What do you do with your spare time, and what are your hobbies?

There are a lot of restaurants that serves cuisines from different countries, so in my spare time, I usually eat out just to try foods from different parts of the world (so far, I am obsessed with Indian and Chinese foods), I also go to the cinema but if I am to stay home, then I am either watching Netflix or playing video games with my housemates.

My hobby is photography; I am an amateur and into portrait, architectural and landscape photography.

What do you like about Nottingham as a city? 

It is a beautiful city with a mixture of both old and modern architectures and beautiful landscapes. The people are conservative and pretty nice. Most of the people are very welcoming and really nice.

What is your experience so far of the University of Nottingham?

My experience has been great so far. There is a bit of everything here. The library is well resourced that makes learning more comfortable, there are calm and serene spots for relaxation, there are mental and emotional support systems available, among others. I love this institution.

What is your experience of accommodation in Nottingham?

It is a wonderful experience made up of both good and bad events. Leaving with different people from different background and culture is a huge learning opportunity. There are some attitudes/behaviours that I do not like but it is so much fun living other international students and even home students. I have gotten the opportunity to learn the basics of some languages (I still cannot remember them though), ate some crazy funny tasting foods and gotten some unique gifts that I will never get in Ghana. It is a wonderful experience.

What are you planning to do next with your career? 

With a certificate from a prestigious school like the University of Nottingham, I plan to apply to work with the Government of Ghana or a multinational cooperation like the IMF, World Bank, African Development Bank, etc., or an NGO/Charity organisation. The opportunities are endless.

What would be your top tips for a new international student starting at the University of Nottingham in their first year?

Do not be an island, talk to people, make friends because it is easy to fall into depression if you are lonely and far from home. Also, do not pile up your work or studies. And remember all work and no play makes you, a dull you, so make time for relaxation, fun and exploration.


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