Last year saw the launch of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, providing fully-funded scholarships to talented scholars from Africa, and enabling Nobuhle Ndlovu to pursue a Master’s degree in Conservation Leadership at Hughes.
We spoke to Nobu about her experiences of Cambridge, her work here during and beyond her studies, and what draws her to the principles of conservation and sustainability.
Tell us about your academic passions?
I am drawn to sustainability and conservation because they are multi-dimensional concepts that touch on various aspects of our existence, from environmental concerns to economic practices and societal well-being. With the nature-positive debate and movement building momentum, the companies or corporates that are adopting sustainable practices are much more resilient.
Coming from the Global South, I believe the conservation and sustainability sector is offering opportunities for economic growth, new markets and green jobs. At a societal level, it brings an awareness of the ethical and corporate responsibility that we all have. This includes understanding how decisions and choices in our daily lives can affect other people.
And your path to Cambridge?
Ever since I was young, Cambridge has been my dream institution. Growing up in Zimbabwe, this was a possibility that became blurred because of responsibilities and the high costs of living. I did my undergraduate degree in Forest Resources and Wildlife Management with the University of Science and Technology in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Afterwards, I worked as a Forest Officer with Forestry Commission under the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change in Zimbabwe.
My work provided me with the tenacity and skills to work under pressure and make informed yet critical decisions when needed. I still wanted to be part of the Cambridge community, and the Master’s in Conservation Leadership aligned with my values as well as providing me with the skills and knowledge I needed to progress my career and become a better version of myself.
How has the College shaped your experience here?
I chose Hughes Hall because of its student diversity and mostly because of the Centre for Climate Engagement. On a lighter note Hughes Hall is strategically close to the Cambridge Centre and most areas that are worth visiting in Cambridge!
It has been really a life changing experience being part of Hughes Hall. The diversity of international students have provided unique networking skills for me and has allowed me to forge lifelong relationships. Beyond the student interactions, I have also had an opportunity to be part of the fundraising team for the College, reaching out to inspiring alumni around the world. It was a unique experience for me.
Hughes Hall has provided me a home away from home!
What is it like being an international student at Cambridge?
During the first few weeks, the culture shock was something I dealt with. However, I am thankful for the support provided by the College, like a Tutor and Nurse, which helped the adjustment to the fast-paced academic environment in Cambridge.
I had a strong support system from my course-mates too, and Cambridge offers so many platforms and opportunities for postgrad students to network, learn and showcase their skills and knowledge. Most importantly the talks and seminars offered by the Colleges have really been eye-opening and have opened a realm of possibilities for the future.
You also worked in our Front of House Team during the vacation – tell us about this experience.
This experience has really made me appreciate the hard work being put in to ensure that our lives as students are comfortable, secure and conducive for studying. Cambridge colleges are unique in the sense that they provide more than just a communal space for students. The academic support and Library Team were also pivotal to my studies.
You have recently started an internship with our Centre for Climate Engagement.
This is one of my highlights of the year! I will be working with the team to identify areas in climate change governance that would benefit from different presentation styles, such as infographics, as well as working on briefs for design agencies. I will also be drawing key messages from Climate Governance Initiative content to draft into social media messages, and supporting webinars.
Do you have any tips or advice for people wanting to study at postgraduate level at Cambridge?
Postgraduate studies in Cambridge are life changing and provide a great space for networking. Be open to new experiences, opportunities and learning new things. Postgraduate life can be fast paced and intense, take advantage of the different societies and activities around the college to relax and be part of a community.
- Learn more about the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Programme here: https://www.philanthropy.cam.ac.uk/story/a-year-in-cambridge-mastercard-foundation-scholars.
- For more on the work of Hughes Hall’s Centre for Climate ||Engagement: https://climatehughes.org.
- For more on Hughes Hall’s Climate Governance Initiative: https://climate-governance.org.