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Chulani Kandage, MSc Business Management, Sri Lanka

Chulani pic Wednesday 12 February 2014

It was the end of January 2012. I knew that I was going to start entirely new chapter in my life and I wanted to make the move. From the time I arrived in Manchester airport every face that I had seen was strange to me. I arrived in Liverpool and Aigburth, St Julie's hall, was to be my new home. I will never forget the warm welcome that I received from my flatmates. I think it was a great beginning for the wonderful time I had at Liverpool Hope University. When we were a thousand miles away from home, when there was nobody to take care of us, the sincere friends in the flat could compensate many things. There wasn't any lacking of care, joy, and beautiful times. My flatmates were my new family members, so that was the beginning of my new life and it was a great foundation for a wonderful beginning for my Masters course. 

I started studies at university in the next week. Even though I had taken the decision to start my master studies in a different country and live by myself, there were times when I doubted whether I could successfully finish my studies. Because the truth was I was not perfectly normal as other students.

I started my studies at the University just six months after having brain surgery. I had had an acoustic neuroma (4cm brain tumour) in the right side of my brain. Though it had been successfully removed, there were many side-affects. I was deaf on my right side, facially paralysed and my right eyesight was slightly weak. Although I could walk, I had balance issues. But, mentally, I was courageous enough to take the challenge. 

From very first day at university I wanted to get involved in extracurricular activities. My major concerns were youth empowerment and sustainability development. As a result of those interests, I started a new student society called 'Change Makers - Liverpool Hope University Chapter'. Via this society I could make a real positive change in other international students’ lives. Because of this society I could get in touch with IOFC - Initiatives of Change Organisation and I participated in the IOFC conference and leadership training program in Caux, Switzerland. Participation at the School for Change Makers also made a big impact on me. Doing a masters degree shouldn't be limited to gaining theoretical knowledge. The internship I completed at Barclays Bank as a research assistant proved that I had the capability of working in a foreign environment and to fulfil the expectations of employers. I can't value the confidence that I have gained through this internship. Further, I contributed to the University as a mentor for the Hope Buddies programme and I organised a number of Sri Lankan cultural events at the University. However, the greatest achievement was passing my Masters with merit.

Yes, I believe that I have successfully fulfilled the purpose of coming to UK and starting my Masters at Liverpool Hope University. Even with number of difficulties I could complete the task because of a few core principles. I had clear vision, I believed in myself, I didn't rely on single definitions of society, and I was focused. In my journey at Liverpool Hope University I should be thankful to all staff members, all my friends, the Sri Lankan community of Liverpool Hope University and the Student Union for being with me.