Ikenna officially completed his LLB degree with a first class honors at UWE in June 2015 and had his graduation ceremony later that year in July. Ikenna stayed in Bristol until the middle of August in anticipation of undertaking training contract interviews before relocating to London. He prepared as hard as he could with the assistance of the pro-diversity recruitment organization, ‘Rare Recruitment’. Unfortunately he was unsuccessful in getting a job. As an international student in the UK on a student visa, the only available option for him was to relocate back home to Nigeria.
With two months left on his visa, he made the journey back home by the first week of September. The ultimate plan was to qualify as a Barrister in Nigeria whilst also using that time to seek for graduate study opportunities. Ikenna couldn’t immediately enroll for the Bar Qualification Course at the Nigerian Law School because having obtained an LLB abroad, he needed to do a preliminary/foundational course first, in which the period of enrollment had passed. This meant that he would have to wait for the next enrollment in June 2016.
With that much time to spare, he thought about internship opportunities and proudly got one in Accra, Ghana with an Organization known as Forum Solutions International (FSI). They were putting together an African Energy and Investment Summit. Ikenna was drafted into their communications and Content Development Unit. As the name of the role implied, the unit primarily designed the entire concept/content of the said summit. In no time at all, his people skills were recognized and he was drafted in helping to assemble resource persons and speakers for the summit. This provided him with the opportunity to reconnect with some of the lecturers at UWE who he then shared the idea of being keynote speakers at the summit (Dr. Ben Pointin, Profs. Jona Razzaque & Umut Turksen).
It was a wonderful opportunity for Ikenna to apply his planning and organizational skills he had acquired by running organizations such as the African Law Students Forum (ALSF) and Aspiring Solicitors at UWE. The presentation skills from Criminal, DRS, Prof. Dev., Prof. Ethics as well as Globalization Trade and Natural Resources Law modules at UWE were very useful in designing and pitching the summit concept to prospective sponsors.
On completion of Ikenna’s 6 months term with them in March 2016; he was offered the role of Program Manager in a newly constituted civil society/non-governmental organization in his home state of Enugu, Nigeria. It was both convenient for the impending Course at the Nigerian Law School and a fresh challenge, so he took the offer until he started his 14 month intensive course. He went onto developing, and implementing programs/events that fulfill the fundamental objectives of the organization. These are to enhance the consciousness of women and the most vulnerable members of its surrounding communities to their human, economic, social and political rights and how best to assert/apply them.
Whilst Ikenna is still gaining all these extra-curricular work experiences, he continued to seek opportunities for his postgraduate studies as that had always been the plan. He got a number of offers from Universities around the world including Westminster and London Southbank in the UK; the university of Georgia, American university – Washington College of Law, university of Maryland – Francis King Carey School of Law all in the US and the universities of Dalhousie (The Schulich School of Law), Ottawa and the Osgoode Hall Law School of the of York university all in Canada.
Remarkably, the Osgoode offer came with full a tuition scholarship plus some stipend (unlike the others that offered only part tuition scholarships or waivers). Having been granted a visa, it is safe to say that Ikenna will be starting his postgraduate study (Master of Laws – Thesis) this fall at Osgoode; two weeks after completing his exams and concluding the program at the Nigerian Law School.
Ikenna acknowledges and appreciates the remarkable role of the UWE staff members in the progress so far. Since leaving UWE, he has lost count of how many applications (both academic and non-academic) he has required references which the former lecturers at UWE stepped up and assisted him. Most prominent among them are Shilan Shah Davis, Umut Turksen, Jona Razzaque, Nicholas Ryder, Tim Angel and a host of others. There is also Clare Barber at the certificates/transcript dispatching unit who he cannot afford not to mention because of her exceptional professionalism and willingness to assist.
UWE has shown Ikenna that a university doesn’t just offer you teaching and certificate; it goes above and beyond to offer the necessary assistance and support that ensures that the purpose for which you desired the learning and certificate in the first place does not evade you. This experience should be one that all students take on board and recognise as a story that they can follow.