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Ayooluwatomi

Why did you choose Exeter?

I applied to quite a number of universities for my masters programme and got part scholarships to most of them, giving me a lot of options. In the end, it came down to unfamiliar Exeter and an opportunity to find something ‘new’. I trusted God that this would be the place for me, and I took the plunge. Looking through the rich course content and experienced staff profiles, I was confident that I’d be in for a ride, and it’s been a journey! 

How have you found the course?

It’s been a wholesome experience. I have been privileged to be tutored by amazing people like Professor Sam North, Dr Ellen Wiles and Professor Andy Brown. These are experienced individuals who know the craft and make learning easy. It’s hard to pick out a standout module because I am thoroughly enjoying and growing through all of it.

Creative writing stretches your writing muscle and I assure you that it’s a good experience. There are no wrong or right answers with writing, it’s all about expressing yourself and the course affords you the opportunity to do that and get better while at it. Highly recommend. 

How have you found the support services and the facilities? 

Due to the COVID situation, most of our lectures have moved online. The ELE app is an educational tool for accessing our classes on Teams and Zoom. It also has library resources to read supporting texts. It’s easy to navigate and you can always get support from the Student Desk if you find it challenging. I haven’t had to use them for it because it’s straightforward.

Tell us about the campus

My programme is situated at the main campus (Streatham). It is a fascinating structure with hills and fine greenery rolling around. The architecture is splendid. My lectures are held at the Queens Building and it’s a quick walk once on the main campus. As a student, you'll be familiar with The Forum located at the heart of the campus – you can get help here at the Student Desk and access the library.  

How is accommodation

I stay in private accommodation outside the University. It’s roughly five minutes to the city centre and fifteen minutes from the lecture halls. It is perfect! I can do my shopping easily and walk to school. If you like cycling, you may want to get a bike – it helps to keep fit. People around here cycle a lot. 

Did you find it ok settling in?

Settling in to a new country can be quite a task, but we also have a duty to be intentional about meeting people and making friends. We are encouraged by our lecturers to establish rapport with colleagues. You can also join societies and groups like the African and Caribbean family as they help with bridging that gap away from home.  It is quite a diverse campus and you meet people from different backgrounds. Not as many Africans as you’d find Asians but you’re in good company here regardless of where you’re from. Plus, like I mentioned earlier, joining societies bridges that gap. 

What are your top tips for new international students?

Come open-minded but carry your values in your heart. Be ready to make friends. Ask for help from your tutors, they’re always willing to help. I have benefitted immensely from this. Say hi to your housemates and enjoy the experience. Try to maintain a healthy academic, social, and mental life balance and you’d get a lot more out of your programme. 

What has been the biggest highlight of studying at Exeter? 

I read profiles of my lecturers and I am literally blown away by their achievements in and outside academia. I think it’s a privilege to learn from them. That is a massive pull power.

How have you found the city and the surrounding area?

Exeter is a quiet and calm city – almost the perfect spot for a writer. I have been to a few places like The Quay, The magnificent Exeter Cathedral, Exeter City Football Club and Budleigh Salterton Beach which is my favourite - it is a pebbled beach near Exmouth. It’s a good spot to build castles with rocks if you’re into that type of thing or maybe just sit and watch the rolling waves and beautiful skyline.

What advice would you give to a prospective student considering your course?

When it comes to writing, you can never go wrong. Just bring your willing heart and it’ll be met with the resilient spirit of your tutors and colleagues. Such a great energy to draw from if you ask me. School can be quite a challenge, but I like it all the same. Sometimes I’d sit in my room and I’m like ‘Omo e be thingz’ (It’s like saying ‘boy o’ boy!)

Sum up your experience at Exeter in just four words

Read. Write. Sleep. Pray.

What are you plans after finishing your course? 

I am currently in my second term and I am considering further studies. Teaching is a dream job for me, so I need to increase my knowledge ahead of this journey. This means more time in academia but I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Receiving the Global Excellence Scholarship has been one of the highlights of my studies. It fuelled my drive to come here. I have been challenged by the course and I am responding daily to it. Whenever I also consider the brilliant staff that this University has, I am grateful to learn here. If creative writing is your thing, you should be in Exeter. 

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