opinionBy Ousman Njie
Mr Ebrima Sisawo, previous Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education was earlier this year successfully chosen by the UK High Commission in The Gambia to be a 'Chevening Scholar' and undertake a one year fully funded scholarship in the United Kingdom. Below, Ebrima lets us know how he is getting on in cold Scotland...
"My name is Ebrima Sisawo and I am Chevening scholar of 2012 from The Gambia. I am currently pursuing a master's degree in Economics at Edinburgh University. Being a Chevening scholar has accorded me the opportunity to be exposed to so many invaluable privileges ranging from quality education and making new friends among others.
I am grateful to the Chevening Secretariat and the British High Commission in The Gambia for making me realise my dream of access to quality education in one of the UK's leading Universities.
As a scholar and student at university in the UK, I am able to interact and make friends with many students from different cultural backgrounds. This networking provides both short and long term benefits. Such friendship has already started to yield benefits through the exchanging of views and the willingness of others to offer support when needed.
I consider myself to be very lucky for being a scholar and being a student at Edinburg University which has a good reputation in terms of academic excellence and a rich heritage. Though life at university can be challenging, we are able to take time off and break from the classroom confinement. This is possible because of the various activities going on in campus.
If you happen to be in Edinburgh, you will realise there is a lot to yearn for outside the campus. Edinburgh is a beautiful city with beautiful landscapes and lot of attractive places which are ideal for sightseeing. The castles and magnificent historic houses being just a few examples. I was also able to visit the monuments of the great Adam Smith and David Hume. It is unimaginable but true. It gave me the greatest feeling to be near these great historical figures.
I am looking forward to a cèilidh scheduled to take place very soon which is a traditional Gaelic social gathering which involves playing Gaelic folk music and dancing. This is a great opportunity to get to know more about Scottish culture.
The bad news is that Edinburg has freezing weather which can be a bit harsh. My advice to future scholars and anyone considering visiting Scotland is to come with as many warm clothes as possible. There is a saying in Scotland that "there is no such thing as bad weather but bad dressing". If you are properly dressed you don't have much to complaint about."