FOR nearly 40 years, the United Kingdom’s government has been developing global leaders through Chevening scholarships and fellowships.
This year, 17 Namibians were awarded Chevening scholarships.
Willem Petrus, a diagnostic radiographer and assistant clinical lecturer at the University of Namibia’s School of Medicine is one of the 2021 Chevening scholarship recipients.
Petrus says he has always been an academic, and is used to prize-giving ceremony invitations.
“I have really become used to being rewarded for hard work, and that just fuelled my appetite to get the next big award,” he says.
After graduating in 2017, Petrus immediately applied for the scholarship, but was rejected as he had not met the required criteria.
He then applied a second time and did not make it either, but the third time was the charm.
Inspired by the advancement of radiography in the UK, United States (US) and Australia, he sought opportunities so that he could practise to the best of his abilities.
Petrus will be pursuing a master’s of science degree in medical imaging at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.
He encourages young people to take up these opportunities to realise their full potential.
“If you fail once, try again, but change your approach to get different results,” he says.
Another applicant, Esther Nantana, was accepted to pursue a master’s degree in public health and health promotion after her second application.
She says translating her ideas into comprehensive essays was one of her challenges, but she was successful the second time around.
She holds an honours degree in economics, and once interned as a research assistant for her professor at the University of Namibia and a few years later.
Nantana also has experience working as a researcher for the African Union Youth Volunteer Corps.
To future applicants, she says: “It is your responsibility to use all the resources at your disposal to strengthen your application. Exhaust them all and give it your best.”
Similar to Petrus, Joyce Luanda says she has always had a passion to further her studies.
She says pursuing a master’s of science degree in global supply chain and logistics management feels great. Although she thought her being awarded such a prestigious scholarship was far-fetched, Luanda applied anyway.
“Insecurity and fear are some of the feelings that will appear during the application process, but they shouldn’t be the ones that prevail,” she says.
Mavis Braga Elias, a 2020/21 Chevening scholar, who is completing her master’s degree in globalisation, business and development, says her Chevening experience has been enriching.
Regarding the application process, she says timing matters.
Like Petrus, Elias applied for the Chevening scholarship and was rejected twice.
“My advice is: Bet on yourself,” she says.
Although the application process can be rigorous and time consuming, Elias advises people to go ahead.
“Be the one to believe in yourself first, and let the application speak of that self-belief,” she says.
Elias also runs a blog and mentors Namibian applicants.
The Chevening programme is the only one that offers the opportunity to complete a master’s degree in one year.
The scholarship covers all academic expenses, including travel, accommodation, and living expenses, and even refunds the visa costs upon arrival in the UK.
Charlotte Fenton, a diplomat at the British high commission, says anyone can apply, and all applicants have a choice of over 160 universities and more than 1 000 approved subjects.
Fenton says proper research ahead of answering the questions and practising interview skills are essential.
Candidates must answer essay questions on leadership and influencing, relationship building, why they want to go to the UK to study, and their career plans.
“At the interview, candidates must be able to speak to those four sections,” she advises.