My Oxford Story

Sintieh is taking the MSc in Applied Digital Health at the University of Oxford as a Mastercard Foundation AfOx Scholar. A medical doctor Sintieh studied at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Buea in Cameroon, receiving the Presidential Grant in recognition of his outstanding academic excellence. In this blog, he shares his journey to the University of Oxford. 

An image of one man in his traditional attire, smiling and raising his hand

Completing medical school among the best five graduates in 2018, coupled with my leadership experience and community work, I was confident I would be the ideal candidate for any competitive scholarship. Little did I know what was ahead was almost half a decade of rejections from over a dozen scholarship bodies & Universities.

Towards the end of 2018, I started writing my applications for various scholarships. Each year I received a rejection email. The most hurtful part was that people whose applications I supported got selected, but I did not.

Each year,  I would receive the famous line 

?ℎ??? ??? ??? ???? ??????????? ??? ?ℎ?? ??ℎ?????ℎ??, ??? ??? ?ℎ? ???? ????? ?????? ?ℎ? ??????????? ??????? ?? ?????? ?? ??? ??? ???? ??? ????????. ??????? ?? ?ℎ? ??????????? ?????? ?? ?ℎ? ??ℎ?????ℎ?? ??? ??????? ?? ???????? ?ℎ??????? ?? ???????????? ?? ???? ???? ???????????? ????????…”

I had memorised this rhetoric from all of them, so much so that I felt upset when I heard the words “thank you”. Four years passed, and my application folder piled up with application documents.

Each time I got rejected, I learnt something in the process. I took courses on creative & effective writing, storytelling, and academic writing. I kept volunteering and kept working to make a community impact. I had a strong belief that one day, I would make it.

Towards the end of 2021, I started making applications for scholarships. Rejection emails started trickling in 2022. Then I got an email from the African Oxford Initiative that I have been shortlisted for scholarship interviews. I went through the interviews, and I was successful.

As you are reading, I am studying for an MSc in Applied Digital Health under the Mastercard Foundation Afox scholarship with the Nuffield Department of Primary care Science, University of Oxford.

As part of the maiden class for this multifaceted and multidisciplinary course, I look forward to a future laden with opportunities and impact. This program aims to train young leaders in the innovative field of digital health, cutting across medicine, engineering, and social sciences to create a generation of scientists who will innovatively think of the wealth of solutions technology can bring to the healthcare industry. you read more about the course here - MSc in Applied Digital Health | University of Oxford

As I conclude this blog, I want to leave you with a few things to consider.

  1. Never give up. Setbacks will come, learn from them and move.  
  2. Work to create and maintain healthy networks of people in your work and academic life. These networks are essential for your career and personal development.
  3. Build a robust support system that you lean on when pursuing your dreams.

Thank you for being here and supporting me all through! The story continues!