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The University of Southampton

Miriam Natabo Ugandan

MSc. Energy and Sustainability: Energy Resources and Climate Change

Miriam Natabo's Photo

I would recommend the University of Southampton because it has a modest social, cultural and economic environment suitable for many Ugandans. Furthermore, the teaching method used involving brainstorming and group tasks within a lecture makes the studies more interesting other than the one way method of teaching used in Uganda.

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

The University of Southampton is among the top 20 universities in the United Kingdom and one of the few that offered a course that linked energy aspects to society and sustainability. Most energy-related courses in different universities around the world seem to focus mostly on the engineering aspects of energy but this university offered a course that linked social, economic environmental, policy and technological issues. This attracted me to the university.

What were your first impressions of the University of Southampton?

The weather was quite colder compared to the year-round warm weather I experience in Uganda which lies along the equator.
Students seemed to come from all continents of the world…a really diverse cultural community.

It was also very green which is so impressive to find in Europe. My opinion of most European countries was that since they are highly developed, there is more of the built environment (i.e. buildings, pavements, etc.) than vegetation.

It was also hard to navigate especially because we would have lectures in different buildings located all over campus.

What do you enjoy the most about living in Southampton?

I’ve loved shopping at Portswood Sainsbury's. The walk towards Boldrewood campus and the way that campus was organised including the building fabric is so elegant. Similarly the Life Sciences Building and the Highfield Interchange has such an elegant aesthetic that I could never tire of. I love the use of wood in buildings.

What is your favourite spot on campus?

The Life Sciences Building

What has been your proudest accomplishment while you were in Southampton?

Being selected to do my Masters Thesis on Electrification of Rural Off-grid Communities in Uganda (my home country). I am glad that I will be part of the solution to limited access to electricity in my own country because of the University’s Energy for Development Project (e4D).

Would you recommend the University of Southampton to students from your home country?

Yes, I would because it has a modest social, cultural and economic environment suitable for many Ugandans.

Furthermore, the teaching method used involving brainstorming and group tasks within a lecture makes the studies more interesting other than the one way method of teaching used in Uganda.

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

I have been working in the public sector under Renewable Energy Department of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, and with all that I have learnt with regarding to energy, even with my dissertation I know, I will be able to help in guiding policy development and implementation in a manner that ensures sustainability in generation and utilisation of renewable energy.

I hope to get promoted at the Ministry and also in about 3 years I hope to be employed by major international organisations.

It is my dream and vision to promote clean and energy efficient cooking solutions for Uganda and East Africa as a whole where about 90% of the local populations still use traditional smoky fuels namely firewood and charcoal, and using candles for lighting. I hope to be a part of the solution to these problems.

Do you have any stories about your time in Southampton or a happy memory you want to share?

During the orientation event by Chevening Secretariat held at Excel London on October 17th, 2015, I will never forget the Inspirational Speech by Lord Holmes, the Olympics Swimmer. I was stirred up to pursue my dreams no matter the obstacles, just like his blindness never stopped him to pursue swimming and win those medals for his country.

During my travel to London, I lost my wallet in which was my Debit card, my Unilink bus card, my Halls fob and University ID and I was devastated for most of the weekend. One of my friends Grace gave me some money to keep me going till I sort out my situation which was so wonderful and kind of her. But, I still want to thank the University of Southampton for being efficient and organised, because I replaced by all those details in less than a week without stress. It was so remarkable.

My first time at the one of the Churches in Portswood was beautiful, the warmth of the people and their humility that day touched my heart.

In London I won’t forget the travelling by cable cars across the River Thames viewing the Olympics Stadium, Excel London, etc. It was such a thrill.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

Oh yes. I wish to thank the Chevening Secretariat of the Foreign Commonwealth Office for granting me a Chevening Scholarship. I wouldn’t have been able to travel to the UK or the University of Southampton to pursue my Master’s degree.

I wish to thank Alison and the entire registration team that helped provide guidance to me as I was preparing to come to the University of Southampton. In addition, the University websites seems to be quite informative, helping many plan and successfully arrive in Southampton and pursue their studies.

Lastly I cannot forget to mention that Prof. Patrick James is one person I will never forget. He is my tutor and also the course leader for my master’s course. He has a unique teaching style which stimulates critical thinking. He makes things that are difficult simple, he is patient, kind and very approachable. He sacrifices time to ensure all this students are ok. He is wonderful. He deserves the thank you.

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