The first time I ever heard about foreign scholarships was through a YouTube video in 2018. In that particular video, an Indian guy who won the prestigious Erasmus Mundus Scholarship was being interviewed. He graciously talked at great length about all the perks attached to the scholarship. I wanted that for myself, and I held that video close to my heart. However, I had a big hurdle to overcome first before I could even start applying; I was in the final year of my undergraduate studies at The Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), and my big hurdle then was to finish all my remaining exams with perfect ‘A’ scores in order to clinch my desired First-class grade. Through sheer
determination and smart work, I achieved that goal. Riding on the back of that win, I was ready to start applying for foreign scholarships.
The financial costs of the standardized tests were a serious limitation for my pursuit until I-Scholar Initiative came to my rescue. I got news about the ISI scholarship for GRE and TOEFL exams in 2020 from one of the numerous scholarship WhatsApp groups I was in. I vividly remember how I had to type my Statement of purpose essay on my phone because I was stuck in NYSC orientation camp in Rivers state. Fast forward to May 2020, when the sweet news of my win landed in my email. It turned my scholarship pursuit efforts around for the positive and gave me a solid direction towards my goal
amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. One major feature about the I-scholar initiative I’m most grateful for is the Immense mentorship and guidance I enjoyed through the course of my applications. Dr. Olufemi Nelson Fajolu was most helpful to me throughout my applications, offering me priceless advice and support at every turn of the process.
Also, the plethora of truly insightful webinars that ISI organized for my set was invaluable; the peptalks from previous scholars and expert advice from the invited guests on these webinars helped demystify the whole application process. Also, the scholars’ community helped create an atmosphere that was most conducive to achieving success on our graduate school ambitions.
In September 2020, I sat for the GRE and TOEFL exams. Afterwards, I plugged in fully on my applications to a host of graduate schools all across the continents of the world. Although the journeywas laced with a sizeable number of rejection letters, it gives me absolute pleasure to mention to the ISI community that I won the prestigious Erasmus Mundus scholarship for the Decentralised Smart Energy Systems (DENSYS) program in Europe. Same scholarship as the one that I watched on that YouTube video that first drew my attention to this “foreign scholarships” path, as I mentioned earlier in this writeup. This scholarship affords me the opportunity to study across a minimum of two countries in Europe, with a total financial package valued at about 48,000 euros.
The I-scholar Initiative played a most pivotal role in me achieving this feat. I am forever grateful for the utmost kindness that the organization and its sponsors have shown to me. Special thanks to Mr. Victor Ogunmola, the visionary behind this impactful initiative. Your generous gesture has paved the way for brilliant scholars to achieve their dreams. Thank you, and God bless you, sir.
To prospective scholars, at first, it starts as a lofty dream, but through well-thought-out strategies, you too can achieve it. It happened for me; it could be yours too. I would advise that you invest a lot of time and effort in training your mind by digesting various helpful resources as much as you can. Also, build a strong community of fellow applicants to bounce your ideas off of each other and provide support for the inevitable storm of “love letters.” Finally, I say a big thank you again to the partners and sponsors of the I-scholar Initiative. God bless you abundantly. I strongly believe that this initiative would shell out more impact over the coming years, even more than you envisioned.
/// Olugbayila Olamilekan is a First-Class Graduate of Mechanical Engineering from the Federal University of Technology, Akure. He is passionate about solving modern-day Energy and Climateissues with Smart and Renewable Technologies. He is currently an Erasmus Mundus Joint master’s degree awardee in Decentralised and Smart Energy Systems (DENSYS). He loves watching football and playing video games, and He strongly believes that Lionel Messi is the