Sunday, 9 October 2016

International Student: First Lecture Week


I had my first week of lectures last week from Monday to Friday. (Henceforth, it will be only 3 days per week). A variety of teaching methods were employed including lecture slides, short videos, group exercises, class interactions and an excursion. I had thought that I would find it difficult to grasp the British accent on the first week, but for one or two lecturers, their speeches were lucid enough. On introducing ourselves the first day, it was interesting to discover that we came from diverse countries and backgrounds viz Ghana, UK, Mexico, USA, India, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Nigeria, e.t.c. I was the only one from Nigeria until Friday. We are 2 now.

Me and some of my classmates

I want fresh air

The prevalence of smoking in Nottingham is alarming. More so, it is ironical that smokers happen to be concentrated in front of a hospital: The Queens Medical Center. On a second thought, maybe it is so due to the fact that smokers are more likely to come down with illnesses for which they have to visit the hospital. The annoying part is that I get to sniff my own portion of tobacco every morning at the bus station. Yuck!

Visit to Thackray Medical Museum

On Thursday, we had an excursion to the Thackray medical museum in Leeds. During our 2 hour drive from Nottingham, I sat beside Shamiya from Bangladesh and we talked throughout the journey. I noticed a transient change in my accent at the end of our conversation. Lol

We were made to see and experience the history of medicine in the UK, the ancient practices and how scientific discoveries led to what we practice now. We passed through the Victoria street, London where houses where built back to back, environmental sanitation was zero and I don't know how, but the museum was able to replicate the stench. We were asked to pick characters and find out where our characters lived and what happened to them. My character was a Mary Holmes, shown in the picture below. She had contracted tuberculosis and was bedfast. The only person with courage to care for her was the priest, who our tour guide thought must have been a Roman Catholic priest. Mary died of tuberculosis at the age of 29.

    More pictures of the Victoria street

A butcher doing his job

A typical bedroom in 1842

                       Shared latrine


The above shows a 10yr old girl who worked in a mill on Victoria street. Her job was to crawl under the revolving machines and sweep out what fell from them. While doing this oneday, she was trapped beneath it and the machine shattered her leg and so she had to have her leg amputated. She survived the surgery without anaesthesia (pain control) but died in a few days due to infection. As you can see, surgeons wore their regular work suits in the theatre and no gloves. This was before the germ theory (that diseases are caused by microorganisms) by Loius Pasture. Different types of anaesthetics have been discovered over the years. Surgeries are now performed under anaesthesia and in aseptic (free of disease-causing microbes) conditions.

It was insightful to know that UK has gone through the same problems many developing and underdeveloped countries are passing through currently, even when there were no solutions in other parts of the world and yet they overcame. It makes me believe even more strongly that there is hope for Africa.

©Radiant ~ October 2016

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Sunday, 2 October 2016

International Student: Settling In Nottingham

By now, you guys know I'm in the UK for a Masters programme at the University of Nottingham. For my previous post on my journey to UoN click here.

Arriving at Nottingham
First thing I noticed on arrival at Nottingham was the culture of hospitality. Everyone I asked for direction went out of their way to guide me. One saw me at the top of a staircase oneday and rushed up the stairs to help me carry my small box down the stairs. Another didn't know the way to where I had asked her but instead of dismissing me, she asked for my map and helped me to interpret it. How nice! It's a gross contrariety compared to what I experienced when I arrived Lagos in 2014. Everyone was so impatient. I wouldn't have finished saying "excuse me" before they walked out on me. They were all on their guard, reacting as if I were a beggar or a swindler. Lagosians were so hostile especially the bus conductors. In contrast, the customer service here is topnotch. 

Next thing that stood out was the efficiency of their transportation system. I don't find it difficult to cross the roads no matter how busy they are because there is always a pedestrian path on the road and once I hit the button and the traffic light turns green for me, I can walk majestically across the road knowing that all cars will be on halt till I've crossed. At the bus stops are the schedules for various buses. They are so efficient that if a bus is slated to arrive at 9:07pm, at 9:06 you may not see any sign of a bus, but as soon as it's 9:07, here comes your bus, right in front of you. The distances have been calculated to the second. It's amazing.

Welcome Programme
Freshers were given 2 days free accommodation in school during which they were expected to complete their registration, do other essentials like open a bank account, register with the National Health Service, and pack into their term time accommodation. That was really considerate of UoN and it saved so many students lots of money that would have been spent on hotel fees. The package included free breakfast and dinner for those 2 days. I located a Nigerian food stand called Item 7 where I had my meals. I wasn't yet ready to explore.

I got lots of stationery, flyers, and drinks from several student groups advertising at the welcome programme.

Settling In
I packed into my term time accommodation as soon as I vacated the free accommodation. I share a 4 bedroom apartment with 2 Nigerians and 1 Kenyan, all PHD students. My landlord is a very nice man.

I stepped out on Friday morning to go to school without my jacket because it's colour didn't match the dress I was putting on. I didn't need anybody to tell me to run back into the house to get my jacket and forget fashion when I saw myself freezing. It was 9°C then. 

We had our induction into Post Graduate School of Medicine on Friday. After the lectures hammering on what plagiarism is and is not, we were told there was free lunch. I walked enthusiastically to the cafeteria only for me to find this.

Can you imagine? This is the definition of lunch here. Thank God I came prepared to cook. And why is the bottle water here carbonated? It tastes really horrible.

Happy Independence Day Nigeria! I spent most of my day watching The Platform via live stream at and If you missed it, please go back and watch it. It was phenomenal. To conclude my day, these 3 gentlemen came to visit me. 

From Left to Right- Timothy (Alhaji 4 Jesus), Dr. Ndubuisi Egwim, Dr. Sunday Ugwuoke

I had a swell time at The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Rehoboth House, Beeston. It was a welcome service for the international students. We had academic, finance and career talks by current and past students, sermon by Pastor Sam inspiring us to aim for the best because there is a Spirit of intelligence in us (Job 32: 8 AMP) and then a proper Nigerian lunch to round it off. Lectures begin tomorrow. God help me!

Have you read my journey to UoN? If not, click hereRemember to leave your comments. More Nottingham tales to come. Ciao

©Radiant~ October 2016

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Radiant's Blog Is Back Here

Hi guys. Radiant's Blog is back here. I needed some time to fix some technical issues. However, my official website still remains where you can find my songs, social media links, and other info. Blog posts will be on both sites. So really nothing's changed. See you.