Tuesday, 15 January 2019

How I got the Pan African University Scholarship


Written by: Abdulsamad Yusuf

Pan African University Scholarship


My name is Abdulsamad Yusuf. I did my B.Sc in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where I studied Physical and Health Education (Human Kinetics). I’m currently undertaking an MSc in Sports Management and Policy Development at the Pan African University Institute of Earth and Life Sciences (Paulesi), University of Ibadan, Nigeria. I got the  Pan African University scholarship in the  2017/2018 academic session.

How did you hear about the Pan African University Scholarship and what is it about?

Pan African University scholarship is one that still surprises me till today, this is so because of my attitude towards the application. I got a broadcast message on Whatsapp about the scholarship from an older cousin which I didn’t pay attention to. I didn’t bother to check the details of the scholarship not until the same person called me about two (2) weeks to the application deadline to know if I had sent my application, I told him I hadn’t and he encouraged me to go through it as my proposed course of study for Master's was just introduced and he feels I stand a chance especially due to my age. I wasn’t totally impressed as the Host University was a Nigerian University (University of Ibadan); I was at that time looking for opportunities outside Africa and had put forward some applications, with a few of them resulting in a partial scholarship. I eventually submitted my application a day before the deadline and the rest they say is history.

The Pan African University is a post-graduate training and research network of university nodes in five regions (West, East, North, South and Central Africa), supported by the African Union. The University aims to provide the opportunity for advanced graduate training and post-graduate research to high-performing African Students. Among the benefits of PAU scholarship is the promotion of students’ mobility and teachers as well as harmonizing programs and degrees. The scholarship brings together students from more than 30 different African countries; this affords one the opportunity to learn about different cultures and build a network of friendship. The most interesting part is the elimination of financial burdens a typical post-graduate student experiences.

How much research did you put into understanding how the Pan African University scholarship works?




Having gone through the requirements of the scholarship which is not different from others; academic transcripts, 1st degree certificate, international passport, reference letters, personal statement and proof of English/French language proficiency. Ensuring that my Head of Department and project supervisor during my undergraduate strongly recommend me for the scholarship was of paramount importance. The scholarship board enjoined every applicant to include proof of demonstrated leadership skills and other relevant certificates in the application. I was lucky enough to have been among a group of students that attended a citizenship and leadership training programme that spanned two weeks during my final year in the University, I included this certificate. My voluntary service at the maiden edition of National Youth Games in 2014 while still an undergraduate was included in my “personal statement” as well.

How did your academic and professional background contribute to you getting the Pan African University scholarship?

I wasn’t the best student in my class as I graduated with a 2:1 (Second class upper) but was lucky enough to have been considered for the scholarship. I would later learn that points were allotted to students who have demonstrated leadership skills and other relevant experiences. Now I often encourage students (especially undergraduates) to take up volunteering jobs even if the incentives are not encouraging, the benefits don’t come immediately, it’s like a seed that takes time to germinate.

What does the Pan African University scholarship cover?

The Pan African University Scholarship is a fully funded program to all students enrolled in its programmes. It covers tuitions fees paid directly to the host university, a monthly stipend which differs between Masters and Ph.D. students; the stipend is to support the students’ living expenses and medical insurance. A single, economy return air ticket between the recipient’s city of permanent residence and the host country, the scholarship also give research grants to its students.

How have you found the experience Pan African University scholarship?


The turning point of my academic pursuit was winning this scholarship, making me realize the importance of excellence not only in academics but in all fields of human endeavour. I received lectures and enjoyed interactive sessions with more than 25 Professors who are the best at what they do across Africa. Winning the scholarship has not only made me believe in the African dream but has put me in a position where going forward academically and career-wise becomes a seamless journey. I’ll forever remain grateful to God and the African Union for this life-changing opportunity.


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