James Wangu, Class of 2011

I left UCU strong academically, and rich socio-culturally.

Major: Social Sciences (Anthropology, Human Geography)

Further education: MSc Sustainable Development at Utrecht University

Position: PhD student at University Utrecht

Location: Utrecht, Netherlands

UCU was a challenging but rewarding experience

Joining UCU was an opportunity I never dared dreaming of, coming from a rural community where information on studying abroad is non-existent. It was a lucky coincidence. I first learnt about UCU in 2007, a few months after completing my secondary school, while working as a research assistant in the village for Canadian university researchers, who also happened to work for the UCU in Africa programme.

I would describe my experience at UCU as challenging but rewarding. Coming from different cultural background and education system, it took time for me to get used to things at UCU. The Dutch meals, particularly bread for lunch, was an unfamiliar concept for me. Class participation and regular presentation were quite challenging at the beginning, especially because I was not used to speaking English during my secondary school.

Great impact on my personal and professional life

The opportunity to study at UCU has had great impact on my personal and professional life. The combination of studying at UCU and living in the Netherlands, has significantly changed how I perceive society. I have learnt to be open, yet critical about various aspects in life especially on contentious issues such as abortion, religion, sexuality, politics, drugs etcetera. The Liberal Arts and Sciences programme offered at UCU, combining various disciplines, taught to me approach nearly all matters from a multidisciplinary angle. This was a very important asset for my Master studies.