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Femi Adekoya's experience as an international student at Harper

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27 April 2020

Femi Adekoya from Nigeria is studying MSc Integrated Pest Management at Harper Adams University.

He wrote the following blog post, before the current lockdown situation, to share his experiences of the course and the University.

I can only describe the feeling of coming to the UK to study as feeling so fortunate and I’m full of enthusiasm to get the best offered here at Harper Adams University.

Before coming to the UK, something that excited me was reading that Harper Adams over 600 acres of farmland dedicated to agriculture and proving innovation from its research. For me, this signifies to me that this would be a university which is really concerned about how its innovations can impact its world – this is my idea of a university dedicated to the rural economy! I was excited that I am heading to a university with a reputation for practical-based learning for its students and I have not been disappointed.

The motivation to study integrated pest management stems majorly from my passion and experience in agriculture, especially horticultural crops. Through my seven-years of working in farming and also training smallholder and young farmers in Nigeria, I have seen the significant damage pest and disease cause on crops; thereby threatening the livelihood of rural farmers and impacting negatively on my country’s food security.

Moreover, the reality of climate change and the growing demand for safe, wholesome food produced in the most environmentally sustainable manner by the escalating population are challenges that face the grower at the present time and more so in the future. I wish to develop a career in agricultural research to provide plant health solutions and contribute to sustainable agriculture.

For my master’s research project, I am investigating the effect of chitin amendments on egg viability and root invasion of potato cyst nematode (PCN) on potato. This research seeks to know the efficacy of chitin amendments in the management of the PCN soil population and consequently protect potato crops from their infestation.

The major highlight of my course so far is the integration of industry experts into the coursework structure. With this arrangement in place, I have developed better confidence in what I have been taught by faculty members or from my independent learning. It has also provided me with foresight into current trends, gaps and future development in the field of plant health management. Another important point is how the programme provides a broad range of subjects relevant to the management of plant pests and disease necessary to develop skills to seamlessly translate into the work environment or build a research career.

I’ve really appreciated the support of faculty members and staff who are all ready to offer their help to the best of their capacity. They make seeking help easy and they do this with an attitude that they are all here to serve and for me, this is somewhat amazing.

The hospitality the student services and the Students’ Union offer in delivering their services is also great. There are lots of programmes or activities to ensure one enjoys their stay at the university and this is so welcoming for me. Through the society Harper Planet, I have visited some major cities in the UK, including Birmingham, Leeds, Bath, and Cambridge. As an international student this helps me to easily integrate into the academic and cultural system in the UK.

Lastly, I’d like to highlight the hand of fellowship I have enjoy from the folks of the Harper Adams Christian Union, they have been so loving and wonderful to a brother. Identifying with people of the same faith has made me socialise and explore more of the UK culture and helped me in lots of ways.

Through my study at Harper Adams University, my academic prowess and confidence has been greatly improved. Through feedback and tutorial sections with the faculty members and English support officers, my academic writing and presentation skills have improved and I have gained great confidence to express my thoughts clearly and in the most convincing manner. The manner in which feedback is shared with me personally has been really helpful!

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