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Awele Eucharia Ilobah

Awele Eucharia Ilobah, MA HRM

Jesus Deliverance Ministry

MA Human Resource Management, 2008

What made you decide to study overseas?

I decided to study outside of my country because I wanted to develop a better understanding of how people and organisations from other countries operate. I also wanted to learn more about the interplay between knowledge, people, organisation and culture.

What made you choose Middlesex University?

I found out about Middlesex on one of my business trips to Dubai. During my trip, I visited the knowledge village and checked out all the schools there. Upon review of the University's brochure and following my own independent research, I saw that Middlesex was a good fit for international students as it offered a very diverse and multicultural environment. It seemed to me to be the best place for international students looking to study in a foreign country.

I also noticed that the Dubai campus offered a good learning environment and offered students access to a well-equipped, modern infrastructure. I spoke to a few students and their experience of studying at Middlesex had been good. The Administrator, Mrs. Tina Chandi, was very helpful too as she took time to find out what my career goals were and advised me on which courses would help me achieve these.

I also received a scholarship from the Middlesex so all in all, I was convinced it was the right university experience for me.

What attracted you to your course and made you apply?

I was already working full time as a minister and I wanted to learn how to share knowledge within an organisation and how to have the best impact on my community given my role working with young people.

How did you find moving to London and integrating into student life at Middlesex University?

I had friends from different countries, including China, Pakistan, Malaysia, England, America and Germany. This gave me the opportunity to learn more about their cultures and lives, which was interesting as I got to see the world through their eyes. This was a wonderful experience, especially as I have never been to many of these countries.

Are there any tips you can give international students looking to move abroad to study?

Be yourself and don't be scared. It is fun studying outside of your country, meeting new people and seeing things you never knew existed. Make the most of this opportunity and make your dreams come true.

It is worth saying that at the start it can be a bit of a cultural shock because everything is different, you are continually learning new things and it takes a bit of time to fit in. You can feel a bit lonely and far away from home to begin with but once you find your feet, it all becomes much easier and you feel more at home, so don't worry!

I would also say that just because you are a non UK/EU student, it is important to remember that you have as much of a voice as any other student studying at the University so always speak out when you are not comfortable with something. There is always someone somewhere that will listen and help. Remember you are an integral part of Middlesex's student community.

What aspects of your course did you enjoy most?

I really enjoyed the module on Creative Innovation taught by Ms. Jolanta. It was and still is one of the best areas I have learnt about to date as it brought out the best in me. It helped me acquire the ability to constantly re-invent myself and better serve my community.

What is your fondest memory of life at Middlesex?

Representing myself and a few other international students when we had some issues with accommodation. By speaking up for all of us, I managed to secure changes and ensure every one of us a place to stay.

What one piece of advice would you give to a prospective student interested in studying at Middlesex?

Be yourself, don't feel you are any different from UK/EU students and most importantly, enjoy your time at the university!

How did your course and time at Middlesex help you to get where you are professionally today?

It was an important stepping stone for me as the majority of what I have achieved today is a result of the education I got from Middlesex. My degree helped me to reach my full potential, expand my personal business interests and set up two charities. The first of these, Kid's Club International Charity, has had a positive impact on more than 20,000 children in the last seven years. The second, Wonder Youth Organization, a football club, helps young people develop their innate abilities and teaches them the life skills they require in order to be the best they can be.

I have also been actively involved in setting up an Orphanage, which is the first in our local community, as well as a Nursery and Primary School.

I hope in future it will also enable me to return home and make a positive impact on Africa.

What made you choose the industry you work in and what are its pros and cons?

Two things: my love for God, as well as my passion for helping people and making a difference.

The pros are that it is very fulfilling and satisfying when you can see the joy in a child's eyes when he/she finds hope. It is one of the best feelings in the world and hard to express in words. The main con is that I want to do so much more but we don't have enough international funding. At the moment the majority of what we do is funded by our local church, however our lack of funding doesn't quash our passion and desire to make a big difference.

How did you get your foot on the career ladder post university?

I had already embarked upon my career but I just needed to be pushed in the right direction!

My degree helped show me how far I could go with passion and determination. It also made me confident that it was possible to have a big and positive impact on the world.

What has been your defining career break or highlight to date?

Being a female Minister of the gospel in Africa, despite the institutionalization of Christian women in Ministry as being docile objects, being marginalised because of my gender in my culture and not counted as equal in society. This is something I have had to struggle with my whole life but I am grateful to God that I can read, teach and preach his word.

I am happy that I can make a difference in my Country. I would also like my passion for making a difference to expand to other parts of Africa and the World if possible. For this reason I would like to be in a position to work with UNICEF on the development issues effecting the lives of young people and children in Africa. It would be great to be able to share the methods and innovations that we have seen achieve the greatest success at Kid's Club International Charity since its foundation seven years ago. I think they are doing a good job but more needs to be done in terms of understanding children and young people as individuals, as opposed to simply looking at them 'en masse' as a statistic.

What does the future hold for you?

Whatever God has planned for me. I am always open to what life has in store for me. I am currently in a theological Seminary and conducting research into how best to help vulnerable children. My particular focus is on the psycho-behavioural aspect of their development.

I am also hoping to publish a book on leadership and my organisation has made a documentary over the past two years, so we are looking at how best to bring it to market in the West.

What are the top three career tips you would give to current students and recent graduates?

Be yourself, do what you love and always believe (and trust in God) that you can do/ be anything you want as long as you have passion, determination and work hard to acquire the necessary skills.

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