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School of Public Health
College of Health Sciences, Makerere University

Beyond academics: The Experiences of Makerere University PhD students during the Erasmus+ Credit Mobility Programme at Nottingham Trent University, United Kingdom

Posted on : Friday, August 25, 2023

PhD students at NTU Erasmus+

The Erasmus+ Credit Mobility Programme at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) wasn't just about academic pursuits - it was also a journey of personal growth, cultural exchange, and memorable experiences. From the moment we arrived in the United Kingdom on 8th October 2022, to our departure on 9th January 2023, we embarked on an unforgettable adventure that enriched our lives in more ways than one. The early days of the programme were filled with uncertainty, as each of us navigated new cold weather, accommodation, schedules and unfamiliar terrain in Nottingham. Interestingly, it was these moments that united the group. Grounded by a shared pursuit of PhD academic excellence, we quickly found solace and strength in one another. United by our shared PhD objectives, we embarked on the 3 months stay at NTU journey together.

The first week of the programme had various orientation activities, including a guided tour of the NTU City campus including the library. The library, a treasure trove of knowledge, offered a wealth of resources, from books to open-access journals, fostering an environment conducive to academic growth.

The Clifton campus was not left unexplored, thanks to a team of professors and scholars who shared insights about the university's graduate programmes at this campus away from the city. As part of orientation, they were greeted by a heartwarming reception from Prof Linda Gibson. Not only did she extend a warm welcome, but she also thoughtfully provided us with warm jumpers to shield against the British winter. After the orientation, we had our first taste of British cuisine, but the longing for our Ugandan dishes remained. As the saying goes, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do," and we eventually scholars embraced new British flavours.

Some of the PhD scholars at the rooftop of the Library at NTU main campus after the guided tour.
Some of the PhD scholars at the rooftop of the Library at NTU main campus after the guided tour.

Amidst the rigorous academic schedule, we tried to balance our pursuits with leisure and exploration. As the programme unfolded, it was punctuated by cultural exchanges and celebrations that were hosted by the NTU Global Lounge. Celebrating our team members' birthdays became a joyous activity that strengthened our multidisciplinary team in an international setting. The NTU Global Lounge was not only the team’s main gathering point but also provide a platform for sharing experiences and insights with other international students at NTU. While academic progress was a cornerstone of the programme, the journey yielded achievements that transcended the scholarly domain. As such, manuscripts were submitted to peer-reviewed journals; NTU's academic mentors provided invaluable thesis support; and the scholars honed their research expertise through library courses and services. Weekly presentations and discussions fostered a collaborative environment where we learned from each other's experiences.

Roselline (centre) with her fellow PhD scholars relaxing after a busy day at NTU.
Roselline (centre) with her fellow PhD scholars relaxing after a busy day at NTU.

As the PhD scholars of the Erasmus+ 2022, we would like to extend our gratitude to the leadership of the Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility programme between the NTU-MAK partnership for orchestrating this transformative experience. The Erasmus+ programme not only provided protected time for academic progress but also paved the way for personal growth, cross-cultural connections, and unforgettable memories. Thank you, Prof Linda Gibson, Dr David Musoke and your teams for this opportunity.


Compiled by Roselline Achola

PhD Student -Makerere University School of Public Health

Erasmus+ Credit Mobility Programme

Nottingham Trent University

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