A year in the life at Goodenough College
Former Chevening Scholar Sibulele Ngomane tells us about her experience of living at Goodenough College and the opportunities it's afforded her
Studying in London and living in Goodenough College has been a defining experience for my personal and professional life. Beyond an enriching academic experience this opportunity showed me the value of strong communities, perseverance and pursuing one’s dreams. This experience was possible through a Chevening Scholarship Award. I completed an MSc in Development Economics at SOAS University of London as a Chevening Scholar for the class of 2019-2020.
During this time, I also had the opportunity to live in an incredible international student community, Goodenough College. Prior to pursuing my master’s I worked in strategy and product management in the technology sector. While this was an incredible experience I wanted to combine my inclination towards digital innovation with my passion for African Development.
Studying in London as a Chevening Scholar allowed me to successfully transition from working full time to studying full time as a mature student. It also allowed me to pursue my passion for African Development at the intersection of technological innovation. At SOAS I was challenged to consider African Economic Development from a pluralistic approach while taking into account the nuanced political and economic perspectives.
Through the Chevening Secretariat I had the opportunity to engage with phenomenal students who all shared the same vision: to have impactful careers and advance their respective countries. By networking with Chevening Scholars, prior to starting my studies, I also found out about Goodenough College.
Goodenough College provided me with the amenities and pastoral care to complete my studies with ease.
I had the opportunity to live in a vibrant international community, with supportive fellow students, whilst living in the heart of London.
At Goodenough College I was also empowered to engage and contribute in my immediate community.
For example, alongside my floor mate, I organised a Sustainability Evening at the College. At the Sustainability Evening we explored the future of food value chains from an economics and a neuroscience perspective. With the support of the College we were also able to offer sustainably sourced dinner options including an insect appetizer. All of these experiences broadened my horizons from both an academic and a social point of view. They taught me to think outside the box, be brave enough to move outside my comfort zone and to network with diverse people. This was even more vital as the global health pandemic hit.
During this time when all our classes switched to virtual instruction I was continually encouraged by classmates, my friends at Goodenough College and the supportive Goodenough team.
This helped me persevere through a globally difficult time and have the courage to apply the expertise I’d gained in my next career transition.
Soon after finishing my studies I transitioned into working for a Pan African economic policy institute, headquartered in Accra, which focuses on economic transformation in Africa. As a Senior Analyst for the President’s Office I work directly with the organisation’s President and Executive Vice President to drive strategic projects and policy programs for the entire organisation.
In this role I also have the opportunity to lead transformation projects whilst working with prominent stakeholders. On a daily basis I have the opportunity to apply managerial skills which I garnered in my previous experience in the technology sector. I’m also able to apply my improved understanding of African Development and work with people from diverse backgrounds due to my unique educational experience. Overall, I’m very grateful for the Chevening and Goodenough experience and would encourage any future global leaders to apply.