Hey, I’m Hannah. Birmingham born and bred, Sheffield graduate and curious to the bone!
I’ve accepted an offer from Oxford University to study a Masters in International Development. I'll be at Wolfson College and the course starts this October. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity that I currently can’t take up because I don’t have the tuition fees.
I’m not eligible for any Oxford scholarships because of the point in the year that I was admitted, they don’t provide staff discounts, and I haven’t been able to obtain funds from charities. Honestly, I’m out of options.
I am determined to make it to Oxford because I have worked at the institution for the past 2 years, pouring my all into developing their students as leaders and bringing their ideas to life. In essence, I have invested in the education of Oxford students but am facing barriers to pursuing my own.
I am fundraising for my fees of £22,000 per year for 2 years so I would really appreciate it if you could donate £22 or more to help me get to Oxford. This is a suggestion - I would appreciate any help you can give.
If you’d like to know a bit more about me and my course…
International development is all about the socio-economic improvement of nations, communities and people. It’s a huge field but I am particularly passionate about intergenerational connections - working in communities that have experienced conflict and trauma in order to bridge generational gaps and pass on memories. This applies to countries abroad but is also relevant here at home where we are starting to lose our generation of Windrush migrants, Partition survivors and war veterans. I hope to empower young people to understand their identity and move towards a bright future by understanding their past.
My goal is to take this passion and put it to work in developing strategies, policies and programmes, but all of these jobs require a Master’s degree. Some people have tried to discourage me and suggested that I find a cheaper degree. Firstly, I shouldn’t have to lower my standards, but also studying at Oxford will position me to lead in a way that other courses won’t by creating the space to think about and challenge the colonialist approaches that still underpin Development practices.
As a black woman of Jamaican heritage, my conviction is to understand and challenge these harmful approaches rather than ignorantly perpetuate them through my career. Recent racial tensions have shown how important it is to challenge perspectives left over from slavery and colonialism. It has also shown how important it is to elevate and provide opportunities for young black people like myself to thrive in pursuit of their potential. There is really no better time to do this degree.
I am determined to make it to Oxford because for the past 2 years I have worked at Oxford University's Students’ Union and poured my all into developing their students as leaders and bringing their ideas to life. I have launched the institution’s only leadership conference for minority ethnic students (called BAME Leadership Oxford), supported students to fundraise £40k annually for charity, and helped them to find their authentic voice and confidence. In essence, I have supported the education of Oxford students but am facing barriers to pursuing my own.
Saving by myself would take 15 years, assuming that there are no personal emergencies, I don’t buy a car, take out a mortgage, take a holiday, get married or have kids. By this point I would be 40 years old and forced to start life from scratch, and most sadly forced to delay my dreams.
A quick summary of my journey since school:
After achieving 12 GCSEs A*-B (only 1 B) and AAB in my A-levels at Sutton Coldfield Grammar School for Girls in Birmingham, I went on to complete a degree in Law and Criminology at the University of Sheffield and achieve a strong 2:1. I received financial support to spend a year studying International Law at the University of Helsinki, Finland, and a scholarship to spend the summer break studying International Negotiation at Sungkyunkwan University, ranked #2 Top University in South Korea and #10 in Asia. During my degree I also worked as a pro-bono legal advisor for locals SMEs, and worked with local school pupils from low-income backgrounds to encourage them into higher education. This was all while working alongside study to make ends meet and I do wonder what more I could have achieved has this not needed to be the case.
After graduating, I interned at Sheffield SU where my institution-wide audit on internationalisation challenged and transformed the leadership’s approach to the student experience. I am a mentee under the Global Thinkers Forum, a global network of Thought Leaders seeking to develop the same potential they see in their mentees . I recently did an interview with them which you can view here. I also recently worked with a Jamaican Youth Ambassador to produce podcast conversations with Jamaican Oxford Alumni to shine a light on their experiences and I have started pursuing this further with a research project on Caribbean Oxford Alumni to change the narrative of who is 'Oxford Material'.
I really need and appreciate your help. I have 8 weeks to reach my target - I’ve been able to secure my living costs but won’t be able to start without first year's tuition.
Thanks so much!
- Federico Mita