Chevening scholars share their aspirations after successful studies in UK

Chevening scholars A’Shante O’Keiffe (left) and Simone Dias (right), with Resident British Commissioner to Antigua and Barbuda Lindsy Thompson (Photo by Observer’s Gemma Handy)
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By Shermain Bique-Charles

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Two Chevening scholars who returned to Antigua in late 2021 after completing studies in the United Kingdom are sharing their year-long educational journey.

A’Shante O’Keiffe and Simone Dias are two of the three young women who returned to the twin island nation late last year after completing the fully-funded one-year Master’s programme.

O’Keiffe now has a Master’s of Science in Comparative Education and International Development from the University of Edinburgh.

She spoke about how she plans to apply what she has learnt in Antigua and Barbuda.

“I think that my approach to education philosophy, as well as my perspective of the impact of higher education, has been shifted. Having worked on projects involved in introducing higher education and having my higher education practices, I think this will be most valuable and applicable,” she told Observer.

Dias, a keen environmentalist, earned a Master’s of Science in Urban Regeneration and Development from the University of Manchester.

“I think the most important way to apply my knowledge from the UK in Antigua and Barbuda is to have that public sector experience in terms of knowing how do we plan, what do we do to make sure we are sticking to the guidelines of the Physical Planning Act,” she explained.

Both students were speaking at a reception that was hosted Wednesday night by the British High Commission.

Meanwhile, Resident British Commissioner to Antigua and Barbuda Lindsy Thompson explained that the Chevening scholarships bring together some of the brightest minds from across the world to renowned UK universities, where they are able to realise their educational aspirations and gift back to their countries.

Just two percent of applicants receive a highly coveted scholarship, she explained.

“We are looking for future leaders, so the people we select have their raw talent. They might not have a lot of experience but they have a lot of talent, so we see that by supporting them they will go to the UK, study hard, network together,” Thompson said.

As part of the agreement, Chevening scholars must commit to returning to their homelands for at least two years after they graduate.

The Chevening scholarships are available in over 160 countries around the world.

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