Environmental Risk Management Student

Yollanda's Story

Growing up in Kenya, Yollanda has always been interested in environmental science and, specifically, natural hazards and climate change adaptation. From watching documentaries on these topics, to studying her undergraduate degree in Environmental Science at Chuka University, Yollanda has been focused on a pathway to this subject for some time.

Following her undergraduate degree, Yollanda undertook volunteer work before working in an environmental health and safety role.  Yollanda had never been out of her home country before and wanted to study in the UK to gain further experience.

Yollanda researched funding opportunities to study in the UK, and ultimately applied for the Commonwealth Shared Scholarship to study the MSc Environmental Risk Management at Dumfries Campus. Commonwealth Shared Scholarships are for candidates from the least developed and lower middle income Commonwealth countries. Funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (DFID) and the University, Commonwealth Shared Scholarships enable talented and motivated individuals to gain the knowledge and skills required for sustainable development, and are aimed at those who could not otherwise afford to study in the UK. Yollanda was successful with her application and received a full Commonwealth Shared Scholarship including a monthly stipend.

Arriving in Scotland was a little daunting, but Yollanda soon became comfortable with her new surroundings.

“I had never been out of my country, so I was definitely a little scared – I can’t lie. The first day I arrived in Dumfries, I met someone at the train station who was going to the University as well. I got to my accommodation and met new people there, everyone was so friendly.”

Yollanda was pleasantly surprised by the smaller class sizes and the number of international students at Dumfries Campus.

“I thought it was going to be large classes but it’s not, there is a closeness here. I like the way that lecturers teach, they make it all so simple and make sure you are not struggling. Whenever you don’t understand, you have the freedom to ask.”

“The campus is also very international, I have friends from all around the world including India, Kazakhstan, Brunei, Bangladesh, USA, China, and Scotland. It has not been hard making friends and I have been able to interact with people and learn different cultures.”

Yollanda is currently completing her dissertation and will then return to Kenya. She wants to find a job in disaster risk reduction, risk management or risk assessment.  She is already updating her CV to incorporate elements of her studies.

“It’s been really great studying with the University of Glasgow and studying at Dumfries Campus. Scottish people are so friendly, you meet someone out in the town, and they just say hi – even if you don’t know them! I am thankful for the scholarship and the opportunity to have this experience.”