Award-winning alumna helps international students navigate life in the UK
Nigerian alumna, Gift Chidera Peters worked as an international Student Ambassador for the Global office during her studies and this led to a desire to help international students. She graduated from the University of Portsmouth in 2021 with a Master's degree in Crisis and Disaster Management and now works as Programme Coordinator at Future Females.
Gift also runs her own online community which helps international students navigate life in the UK. Her passion and work has been recognised by the British Council where she recently won the Study UK Alumni Award in the Culture and Creativity category.
Gift shared her story and how she felt about winning the prestigious award.
Winning the award
The award recognised the impact I have made with my online platform that supports over 11,000 international students in the UK known as the CP Community, providing students with information, resources, and a vibrant community to help them settle in to and navigate life in the UK, and ace their studies. Receiving the award felt like a much-needed pat on the back for a well-done job. It felt great to get recognition for my work with international students and motivated me to keep at it.
The UK’s educational system is wildly different from that of Nigeria and I had to deal with moving abroad, climate differences, and culture shock – it was a lot to handle. It dawned on me that if I had this struggle, then many other international students might be struggling with the same. So I decided to share my experiences. I get a handful of questions daily such as asking about how to write critically, the process of applying for a driver’s license and how to write a CV or research proposal.
Time at Portsmouth
My time at University of Portsmouth was an enlightening experience. I had the opportunity to learn in a diverse environment as I had classmates from the Caribbean, United States, Turkey and Malawi. We had intriguing conversations in class with varying perspectives which added to the whole learning experience. My lecturers were also very helpful as they were always willing to provide clarification where necessary. I also enjoyed living in the city of Portsmouth, the seafront was within walking distance and the campus was centrally located.
I worked part-time as an international student ambassador for the Global office. I got to support prospective students with information and guidance regarding studying at the University. I also picked up key skills from this role that have proven helpful in my current job, such as cross-cultural communications and collaboration.
I am wildly passionate about education and technology. I believe so many possibilities can be achieved when the two are merged into one.
Upskilling Nigerian women
As Programmes Coordinator, I coordinate the delivery of the Future Females business school in partnership with the UK-Nigeria Tech Hub, which has equipped over 300 Nigerian women with the skills they need to launch, grow and accelerate their businesses. My day-to-day role includes programmes set up, community management, report writing, email marketing and project management.
The best piece of advice I can give for my industry is to constantly invest in your personal development. Working in tech means you are working in an ever-changing industry, it’s important to stay ahead of change by continuously picking up key skills that would be relevant. This can be done via a course, webinar, or conference, for example.
Some important things I have learned along the way are that failing means you tried, it’s better to try and fail than to have not tried at all. The difference between ‘here’ and ‘there’ is time, trust your process and embrace your journey.
Fusion of education and technology
I am wildly passionate about education and technology. I believe so many possibilities can be achieved when the two are merged into one. I also have a keen interest in community building and strategy. It’s one of the best ways for brands to improve their customer loyalty, understand customers and increase brand awareness. I am passionate about content creation which I do via my YouTube channel and my other social media platforms.
I plan to grow the CP Community and increase our networks and partnerships with Universities and student-focused organisations in the UK. I also plan to open up a digital agency to help brands leverage new technologies and modern techniques to achieve their goals.