The University of Southampton
International Voices

Behold! Southampton

I’ve had some few first ever activities these few weeks among them is this blog post. Let me introduce myself. I’m Winfred from Ghana, a postgraduate taught student in the geography and environment department, studying applied geographic information systems and remote sensing. A mouthful of a course name, isn’t it? My research interests lie in the relationship between place and health. How our environment affects health and wellbeing. This bridge between public health and geography is found in spatial and environmental epidemiology. In Ghana, I work as a public health information officer.

How did I get to the University of Southampton (SOTON)? I studied for a bachelor’s degree in public health at the University of Ghana (UG), School of Public Health, the premier university in Ghana. Through collaborations between UG and SOTON, I was privileged to have met some professors from SOTON who inspired my urge to build capacity in geospatial analysis. Hence, it was thrilling when I won the Commonwealth Scholarship sponsored by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission and SOTON to enable me to study here.

Saying goodbye to family and friends

It’s been a breath-taking journey so far with lots to learn socially and academically. Almost all my expectations about studying here have been met except the academic work intensity. I didn’t fully anticipate how tough it would be. SOTON is among the very best, hence you must guard its reputation with hard work, passion, and ambition. Although the academic work is intense, there was room for fun too. My department sent us -MSc Students- on a social trip where we had much fun bowling and eating. The bonfire night in Winchester was stupendous but too short, I was there with friends. Christmas had lots of dinners lined up, and they lived up to their hype. Christmas is a whole story on its own.

Taking a break from practical session to pose for World GIS day shot with Nic Ka Choon (Commonwealth Scholar) and Wole Ademola

There’s so much diversity to embrace here. Studying in SOTON means meeting different people from a variety of cultures. It’s just awesome how much you can learn about the rich culture of many places across the globe without ever being there. My coursemates, housemates, friends, and lecturers are exciting to interact with and are constantly giving a helping hand. The British lifestyle in itself is fantastic. Being polite is redefined and amazing, such that you’ll not be tempted to jump the bus queue.

Sunday after church with Kennedy Miah my Ghanaian brother and Commonwealth Scholar

However, I do miss home, especially my family. It’s been almost three months without waakye, Jollof, fufu or my favourite banku with grilled tilapia. I’m getting used to some of the food, but the weather is still not friendly yet. My housemate Radoslav teaches me some delicious student recipes that save time and money. As of the time I was writing this blog, the temperature in Accra was 28 degrees Celsius you can guess the temperature in SOTON.

So much to share. I’d be giving you more peeks into my life in Southampton. If you’re contemplating choosing a university, come join us!


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