Moving abroad during a pandemic

I have always wanted to be part of something significant. In mid-2020, this opportunity presented itself as a double-fold adventure. The first was the decision to be a part of the courageous cohort that was determined to pursue a full-time MSc Strategy degree during the unprecedented times of a pandemic. Subsequently, the second would be to wholly embrace the ‘new normal’ many kilometres from home.

In October 2020, I had just made the big move to pursue my Master’s. It was probably a decision that was the hardest to make. This is primarily due to the alarming news updates about infection rates, overwhelmed health systems and fatalities which were a great cause of concern given the United Kingdom (UK) was amongst the countries with the highest number of Covid-19 cases globally. However, Lancaster University kept engaging students about its commitment to offer quality education amidst Covid-19. I was determined that my desire for a challenge would assist me in navigating and cautiously overcoming uncharted territory. Thus, I took that leap of faith.

When I finally arrived in the UK, I had to self-quarantine for two weeks. I couldn’t help but beam with pride and appreciation at the heart-warming support from the societies, Graduate College and classmates. This loving support was displayed in a myriad of ways: classmates who offered to bring me fruit in quarantine and the Graduate College accommodation team responding promptly to all queries and concerns were amongst many to note. I wouldn’t be doing campus life justice if I don’t talk about the beautiful scenery on campus. It is a preternaturally beautiful landscape filled with verdant growth, home to numerous clear running/walking paths for avid runners like myself. A breath of fresh air, literally, the air is so clean and refreshing – an excellent energy booster and source of rejuvenation on my regular runs.

When Lancaster University say they are committed to giving quality education, they mean business! Three months into my course, I have been challenged and encouraged to apply myself. The intensity of the coursework has given me a run for my money, several times, which has driven me out of my comfort zone, even to solicit assistance from my classmates. Despite Covid-19, I am still able to embrace the multiculturalism offered in the city from classes, societies and networks. Being a Chevening scholar, the network has been my go-to team. This has afforded me the opportunity to embrace and learn about different cultures from a pool of global students.

Living in Lancaster has many advantages, the principal one being its proximity to most cities – roughly 1 to 2 hours away! This has and will inevitably mean many welcome opportunities for my friends and I to organise day trips to see cities. To date, we have been to Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool. All these cities are beautiful and provide a fresh perspective of the United Kingdom. So far moving to Lancaster remains a milestone and a life-changing experience. Does it fulfil my need of wanting to be a part of something big? Definitely! I have one mantra and it is to ‘MAKE IT COUNT’!!!!!!

Martha Abner

Find out more about Lancaster University’s MSc Strategy programme here: