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The University of Southampton

Lamine Dieng Diallo Msc Transportation and Engineering (Infrastructure)

Lamine Dieng Diallo's Photo

This degree will unlock the most inaccessible opportunities including my dream career of being a transport specialist in an international organisation. I already have the chance to be bilingual and to have a master’s in civil engineering. This degree will be a testament to my specialty.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Southampton?

I chose to study at the University of Southampton because I wanted to do a career in the transportation sector and the University of Southampton had a very good MSC programme. During my internship in an international organisation, I noticed many African Transport Experts have undertaken courses in the UK and it was reflecting their values within the institution, and I wanted to be part of that network. I discovered the Chevening program which was ready to finance my master’s for one year and then I decided to choose the best Universities in the UK which was a front-runner country in the field of transport. The University of Southampton MSC transportation program fulfilled all my expectations with a strong one-year programme combining planning and Engineering.

What do you enjoy the most about living in Southampton or Winchester?

I really enjoy the green spaces in Southampton. Indeed, the University has a very nice verdure along with good shops and cafés.

Have you undertaken any work placements, collaborations with industry, internships or volunteering? How has this enhanced your experience?

I am yet to undertake a work placement although I am still looking forward to it. The course was very overwhelming, and I did not get any spare time during the academic year to work on an extracurricular activity. Hopefully, I get an internship during the summer.

Have you undertaken any extracurricular activities? How have they enhanced your experience?

I have only been able to join the Islamic Society of the University (ISOC). In the first instance, it was to play with the brothers during the football session they held the Saturday at Cantell school but during the month of Ramadan, it was helpful. Eid was celebrated with the community and that was only possible through the University’s decision to allocate the green yard to the community for the purpose of the celebration. This has so far enhanced my experience by giving me the opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds.

What do you think you have gained from your degree that you wouldn’t have developed without it?

The degree has strengthened my confidence as a transport specialist. Before the start of the Master, I was more oriented toward road transportation and the engineering calculation of bridges and structures. At the end of this programme, I can confidently say that I have gained substantive knowledge of rail transportation and engineering but most importantly the economic implication of transport projects. A wide range of transport projects have been appraised and I am able to explain to which extent the development of road, rail, or aviation projects could impact the welfare of transport users and in turn the population. This is in line with the SDG goals of improving the lives of the poor and increasing shared prosperity. The environmental component is also very present in the programme. As a matter of fact, as part of my transport, energy, and the environment module I have learned the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of transport projects as well as the different ways to reach net-zero carbon. I believe all these skills acquired would be relevant when I will go back to Senegal where large-scale infrastructure projects such as High-Speed Rail and Bus Rapid Transit projects are being implemented.

What are you most proud of from your time at the University of Southampton so far?

So far, my best memory from my time at the university is the challenge and the network expansion. From my classmates to my fellow Cheveners, my network has grown in an exponential manner. Furthermore, I have been able to stretch myself and developed a resilience that could bring a lot of success in my career.

What has been the hardest aspect of studying in another country? How has the University helped you overcome the challenges?

Studying in another country was not really easy for me, especially during the first semester. I was struggling in the beginning because the courses did not give me enough time to settle with my new life. Balancing work and life was a bit hard. Above all, the English educational system was different from the French system I came from. However, despite the steep learning curve and the daily challenges, I managed to find my way through and improve my productivity during the second semester although I had 5 modules plus my dissertation. The English teacher for international students appointed by the MSC programme leader has really helped me. I quickly learned the rudiment of essay writing and Harvard referencing style to improve my report writing skills. The facilities provided by the University such as blackboard were also very helpful as they helped catch up with the missed courses and be up to date. Indeed, the bb collaborate, and the discussion board within Blackboard allowed students to watch the recordings at their leisure and send inquiries to the professors. Overall, I believe for every courageous and persistent student regardless of their background it is possible to succeed here at the University of Southampton.

How have the people you have met at Southampton changed your life?

Lecturers are very professional and always available to clarify my concerns. They were committed to responding to all inquiries related to the courses in a swift manner through blackboard or email. They also taught me the importance of renewing knowledge by reading about the latest development in the sector. I must admit it was not my habit to read continuously papers until I started this MSC programme. I have learned how to reconcile the ‘literary’ side of transport with the ‘number’ side.

What will you do with your degree after you have finished your studies?

This degree will unlock the most inaccessible opportunities including my dream career of being a transport specialist in an international organisation. I already have the chance to be bilingual and to have a master’s in civil engineering. This degree will be a testament to my specialty.

Can you sum up your University of Southampton experience in three words?

Challenge- Resilience-Consecration

What is the name of the scholarship or bursary you have received?

Chevening Scholarship.

How has the funding enhanced your experience as a student at the University of Southampton?

I have been able to meet other people from my first days at the University thanks to the funding. We shared a University of Southampton Cheveners WhatsApp group that allowed us to share experiences and assist each other. I have also attended the international scholars’ reception which was held in November 2021. None of these networking opportunities would have been possible without the Chevening scholarship. I tried to make efficient use of these events and extended my network.

What advice do you have for future applicants who may wish to apply for this scholarship or bursary?

I think the application process is well designed. I will just advise those applying from non-English speaking countries to do their IELTS test at the earliest possible to get time to receive the results before the Chevening closing deadline.

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