Oluwatosin Adebanjo, i-Scholar Initiative -Scorecard Series XXVIII – Have you seen the dung beetle? They feed on dung, yeah! The beetle would usually locate the dung and then transport it to a conducive place where they can feast on it. However, this mobility is typically uphill and sometimes futile if solely done by one beetle, except by the ‘helping leg’ of an enormous dung beetle. In my pursuit of graduate studies abroad, iSI is way beyond helping hands.
I graduated from the Department of Agronomy, the University of Ibadan, with First Class Honors. While studying in the nation’s premier university was an experience I almost haven’t recovered from – seeing where I started from, I have dreamt of having graduate studies abroad – one of those dreams you think would remain a dream forever.
November 2019, I had a meeting with someone who mentioned iSI to me. I was in awe – to believe that some Nigerians would gather their resources towards making the dream of Nigerian youths become a reality. I immediately connected with the initiative on all social media platforms, where I keenly followed updates. The initiative made the call for application in February 2020, and one of the best things I have done for myself was responding to that call. Amidst about 450 highly motivated applicants from all over Nigeria, I was privileged to be one of the 50 selected for the award. A moment I can’t forget in a hurry – at exactly 12:48 am, 18th May 2020, I got a mail from iSI which in part says ‘Please be informed that you have emerged as one of the top winners of the i-Scholar Initiative (iSI) Scholarship for 2020 edition’. As a fresh graduate, that was the first mail that puts a smile on my face.
As I joined the iSI family, the award details were later revealed, and I must say that beyond the funding for GRE and TOEFL, iSI got me acquainted with graduate school applications. Maybe the money to register for the GRE and TOEFL wasn’t a big deal after all, but it was for me. The mentorship from the assigned mentor and connections made with fellow scholars in the family were next to none.
While preparing my arsenal for application to graduate schools in the USA, I decided to try other available openings where I secure an Erasmus Mundus scholarship – Plant Health in Sustainable Cropping Systems (PlantHealth). Now you see the reason why the effort and contribution of the partners and sponsors at iSI wasn’t just a helping hand for me, as it not only make my dream a reality, it made it happen even earlier than I could imagine.
As you remain persistent and tenacious towards securing a graduate program abroad, to the prospective graduate students, try to lean on the experience and strength of ‘helping legs’.
Thank you ISI Family