In 2023, Soyem Osakwe graduated from Loughborough University London after completing the Global Communication and Social Change MA programme.
Before beginning a master’s degree at Loughborough University London, Soyem was pursuing her interest in media and communication by studying it at various levels. It was this interest that ultimately led her to embark on another degree in global communication.
My journey to Loughborough University London
Tell us about your journey to Loughborough University London. What were you doing before?
I always had an interest in media and communication and I had pursued that at various levels. To start with, my bachelor's degree was in Mass Communication and my first master’s degree was in Marketing Communications. In recent years, my work with non-profit organisations gave me a deeper sense of purpose and the desire to make a difference. It has shown me that communication can be a powerful tool in advocating for positive change and improving the lives of marginalised groups. My advocacy work with women and girls in Nigeria inspired me to pursue a degree in global communication with a focus on international development.
Why did you decide to go to Loughborough University London?
For me, there were three considerations. First, the faculty, and next, the ranking of the University (I found that Loughborough University London had earned a reputation for excellence and was consistently ranked among the top universities in the UK — it had garnered global recognition in research). Another consideration was the overall experience for international students. Moving to a new country can be daunting and I wanted to be sure that the university would provide a supportive environment where I could thrive.
I chose Loughborough University London because I was excited to build upon my previous experiences and expand my knowledge and skills even further. I was eager to learn from industry professionals and be part of a community that shares my passion for media and communication.
Did you have an idea of how the Loughborough University London programme would help you in your career?
I understood that the programme was bridging a gap in the development space by equipping professionals and would-be professionals with the tools you need to land a job in international development or to pursue further research in the field.
My student experience at Loughborough University London
How has the teaching in your institution at Loughborough University London helped further your knowledge of your subject?
I thoroughly enjoyed my modules and the teaching at Loughborough University London. The modules allowed me to delve deep into the various theories and approaches to international development and gave me a comprehensive understanding of the complexities involved. This helped me see the interconnectedness of different economic, social and political factors that contribute to development. I became more confident in my ability to think critically about these issues and to analyse them from multiple perspectives.
What I loved most about the teaching at Loughborough University London was the interactive and inclusive approach. The seminars were the perfect platform for me to engage in meaningful discussions with my peers and explore new ideas and concepts. So, here is a special thank you to my lecturers: Professor Thomas Tufte; Dr Jessica Noske-Turner; Dr Eric Ewoh Opu; Dr Amalia G Sabiescu; and my wonderful supervisor, Dr Ana Cristina Suzina.
Overall, I feel like the teaching has equipped me with the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to contribute positively to the field of international development and to work towards a more just and equitable world for all.
What interesting things did you learn? Was there a particularly good project that you participated in?
Working on the Collaborative Project with my team was a memorable experience. Together, we tackled a unique challenge, working towards a common goal that would not only benefit the local community, but also promote sustainability and help combat the global issue of food waste.
Our project centred around creating a strategy for a start-up based in the UK, dedicated to reducing food waste and supporting local food vendors. We spent hours brainstorming and researching potential solutions, until finally we decided to embark on some field research within the heart of Stratford.
Exploring the local community gave us a first-hand understanding of the struggles faced by food vendors and the causes of food waste. We had some fascinating conversations with various business owners and community members who offered insights. From our findings, we were able to develop a comprehensive plan that addressed the issues, promoted local businesses and reduced waste.
Please tell us about any support that you received from your institution’s mentors.
I am grateful to have had the support of Dr Jessica Noske-Turner and Dr Ana Cristina Suzina. They were available to answer my questions, provide valuable feedback and offer invaluable academic resources that helped me gain a deeper understanding of various subject areas. However, more than that, they consistently demonstrated their belief in me and my abilities.
Their support and encouragement have been instrumental in my academic achievements, but it does not stop there. They have also become my referees for work, going above and beyond their roles as mentors to advocate for me in my professional pursuits.
What did Loughborough University London’s campus offer that you were looking for?
As someone who would be leaving my home country to pursue my education, it was important to me that the University had a welcoming and supportive environment for international students. I wanted to feel like I was part of a community and that I had access to resources and programs that would help me acclimate to a new culture and make the most of my time abroad.
What was your experience of living in London?
I enjoyed the multicultural vibe of the city. London is truly a ‘melting pot’ of various cultures and I got a sense of that on the campus too.
What piece of advice would you give to prospective students looking to undertake the programme that you studied?
I would say that, regardless of where you are in your career journey, there is always something new to learn about or a new interest or passion to follow. You will gain new skills and there are transferable skills. If you have some years of experience and you are looking to upskill, this is a great programme. Be prepared to study for long periods of time.
Plans for the future
What has your career path been like so far since you graduated from Loughborough University London?
My career track currently involves driving internal communications strategy at an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) committed to combatting targeted diseases and promoting universal health coverage.
What do you plan to do in the future and how will your Loughborough University London degree help you to achieve that?
I am excited about the future. With my degree in hand and a wealth of practical experience under my belt, I am eager to continue creating successful communication strategies that support initiatives for international development. But my aspirations extend beyond simply executing successful projects; I am equally passionate about sharing my knowledge and skills with younger professionals just starting out in the field. Whether through mentoring programs or workshops, I hope to inspire and empower the next generation of communicators to create meaningful change in the world.
Of course, I will never tire of tackling large-scale projects and authoring papers that contribute to the body of knowledge in this important field. As I pursue my career in communications for development, I am confident that my skills and dedication will make a real difference in the lives of those around me.
What would be the one thing you would say to prospective students who have decided to study at Loughborough University London?
One year goes by so quickly, so learn as much as you can. Prioritise studying, but do not forget to take some time for yourself too. Secondly, be on the lookout for social activities and events that will help you meet new people and make connections. Lastly, do not forget to have fun while studying — it is possible to balance work and play!