My Chevening journey: One year on

I am Camilo Enriquez, a 2016 Chevening Scholar. I represented Colombia and my city Pasto as student of the MSc in Social Policy and Development at the London School of Economics (LSE). A year after this experience ended, I feel lucky, grateful, and honoured to be a Chevener.

I believe that God or destiny has a plan ready for each of us, and my plan was to become a Chevener. Before applying to Chevening, I was living in Hong Kong. During that time I was figuring out how to finance my next academic step. I didn´t know about this scholarship and I had no one to guide me through the process. However, when I read the application, I identified with Chevening and was still confident of being awarded. I applied with the aim of financing my master’s at a top university in the UK, understanding that this scholarship supports leaders that plan to contribute to the development of their countries.

Studying abroad with Chevening was like getting paid for doing what I love the most. From the beginning of my Chevening journey, I wanted my parents to be there on my graduation day. After I ended my degree, I stayed waiting for that important day.

Last September, I visited the south of Europe. In October, I was in London, applying for jobs and enjoying the city. Finally in November, I traveled to Portugal, Russia, and met my parents in Madrid. 

I guided the people that I love the most in a trip around Europe that ended with my graduation. Thanks to Chevening, I was fortunate to make another dream come true.

Returning to Colombia

Studying at the LSE with people from all over the world who share the idea to build a better world creates huge expectations and plans. Nonetheless, the reality was different.

I returned to my hometown in Colombia and enjoyed the Christmas holiday with my family and friends. Through the Chevening network I came across a job opportunity that I successfully applied for, and started work at the Victims Unit in Bogota as an international cooperation consultant. The Victims Unit strives to create partnerships and alliances with governments and international organisations looking to obtain financial and technical cooperation to repair more than eight million victims of the conflict in Colombia. One of our main partners is the UK Government.

To be honest, coming back to Bogota was like waking up from a beautiful dream, since I returned after five years of living abroad (in Poland, Hong Kong, and London). At the beginning, it was challenging because it was a new start and I needed to get used to the city again. However, I found a great place to live close to my job and I met up with old friends. In addition, I joined the Chevening Alumni Colombia Association, the local alumni group for Cheveners in Colombia. I was a project leader for the Chevening Alumni Latin America Conference that took place in Bogota in March, and today, I am the events manager. This experience has given me new friends who are successful Chevening leaders.

There are a lot of barriers that do not allow motivated people to contribute to society and this is a new challenge. However, there is always hope, and there are always dreamers who will persist to make the world a better place to live.

To my fellow Cheveners in the class 2017, my advice is this: show now the reasons why you were awarded this scholarship, make a difference in your future roles, continue dreaming big, and persist, even under the most difficult situations.