A lovely review- from a parent

Hello, I hope you are well and keeping safe. It has been quite a while and work has had me quite busy nevertheless, I have to share this review I got about a student and their journey! Reviews are great and positive reviews are just wonderful. In my words, a positive review is an affirmation that you did your job well enough for someone to appreciate it. That is what happened in this case here.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

In October 2018, my boss assigned me a new client- a mom inquiring for her daughter to study abroad, and they had chosen the UK. When I spoke to her on the phone, I asked if I could speak to the prospective student and the mom said she was away on a tour of the Europe to get a feel for it before she started her program in January 2019. I said okay, sounds good. I gave her a list of the required application documents and her mom sent everything quite promptly. By the following week, I had put in an application and an offer came through almost immediately. I was really excited and shared my excitement with the mom and she told me how happy she was with how quickly I got her daughter an offer. Then I explained to her that to proceed she would need to pay a course deposit to the university of accept the offer. The amount varies but is usually about a third or quarter of the universities fees. I told her that the payment instruction was on the offer letter and she should let me know when she’s made the payment so we could then start the CAS procedure.

Google

CAS is a confirmation of studies letter that universities is the UK give to a student as part of the visa requirement. This letter is obtained once the university has checked the bank statement to ensure that is has enough amount to cover the tuition fee and living expenses minus the amount that was paid for the course deposit. They also need to receive a TB test result from the student. In total, they need three documents- proof of payment for the course deposit, bank statement or letter of sponsorship and a TB test result. I thought to explain that part because it comes in handy in the next paragragh of my narration.

The following day, the mom sent me a proof of payment showing that she had paid in full! I was thrilled because I thought that meant an easy process. Was I wrong! We had discussed the whole CAS procedure and also sent her a visa pack that explains everything, what is expected of the bank statement and whose name should be on the bank statement and so forth. She told me everything is in order, they had booked for her daughter’s TB test and she would send me the result along with the bank statement when the had it. Lo and behold when she sent it, the bank statement was in her cousin’s name! That definitely would not work with the UK visa system, it had to be in either parent’s account accompanied by a birth certificate or be in the student’s account is over 18. They moved the funds into the mom’s account and we had to wait for the 28 days rule, in the meantime, I advised them to get the unabridged birth certificate that would accompany the bank statement which they applied for and received.

Photo by Osama Saeed on Unsplash

About 2 weeks into waiting, I tried to check on both mom and daughter and I could not get hold of them. For over a week, I kept checking daily, nothing! Number was unavailable. I sent emails and just kept checking. I informed by boss and he tried as well, nothing. Long story short, I only heard from the mom around August 2019 to say she, the mom, had been seriously ill and that she was fine now and ready to continue the process. Thankfully, in the months that I didn’t hear from them, I had deferred the daughter’s offer to September but I felt the time was too short. Indeed it turned out to be too short because the TB test had expired and the funds in the bank had been used up but she said she wanted to try which I did. I don’t mind trying, it’s a rule for me in any situation, I’ll know I tried so why not. I then informed the university that they were happy and ready to proceed. She sent me a letter of sponsorship that shows that her daughter’s tuition and living costs would be fully covered for her three years of study. She sent it along with the new TB test result but sadly, the letter of sponsorship was not accepted. We had to defer to January 2020. By November 2019, she sent me a bank statement which was fine but by then, her IELTS result had expired. And then they disappeared again! I couldn’t get hold of them. Then Covid happened! But it did not really deter them, however, it slowed down the process, we no longer got quicker response from the university and to book an English proficiency test became a hassle but by the end of 2020, she had everything sorted.

Long story short, we started the process again in January 2021 and this time, with funds in her account and her new TB test result, new English proficiency result, we were able to finally get the CAS! It felt so good! She had to enrol online to join in the classes while we sorted out the visa application and all. She got the visa on the 10th of March. She got her ticket and she had to be booked into a government approved hotel for a 10 days quarantine. On the 26th of March, her mom phoned to say that I should meet them at the airport, that there was no way her daughter would leave for the UK without saying good bye to me because I made it happen. I went to the airport and met with her family- they were all so grateful for my effort in the process. They thanked me for not giving up. They thanked me for pushing to make sure that everything worked out in the end. It felt good. I was just doing my job, and patience is one of my special strength, I hardly give up. And I couple this with prayers. The daughter flew out and they flew back to their city and the following day, I got a very wonderful reveiw : ) the highlight of my story!

Screenshot from my phone

Thank you for stopping by and reading this story. I felt that I had to share this story because even though I thought I was just doing my job as it were, others saw it as perseverance at its finest! Keep doing what you do, put in your best. Keep well. Until next time, bye for now.

My 33 week old preemie is now 6 years old!!

Hello, how are you doing? I hope you are well and keeping safe. This post is about my little boy’s birthday. He turned six on the 28th of February, last Sunday.

πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰Happy birthday to my Jboy! My first child!! I am super excited and happy!! Super grateful that my son that was born earlier than expected is now a healthy 6 year old. I am not even sure who was more excited last Sunday, either him, the real celebrant or me the super grateful mom!! πŸ˜ƒ Happy birthday dear son, you are blessed,your name will be great, your heart desires will come to pass, you will never lack anything good, you will be outstanding in all you do, you will continue to grow in wisdom, knowledge and stature, you will continue to be a source of joy to us and everyone you come in contact with in Jesus name!!

I was quite unsure of how to celebrate his day particularly because I knew his dad and I had to be away for work. His dad had a surprise 50th birthday event where he had been invited to provide music for the event. He needed me there to sing along every now and then and generally assist.

What I did was, take his cake to church, as it was on a Sunday. I also ordered cake for his sister whose birthday was on the first of February amd we couldn’t do much at the time. They were called out after service and prayed for. The cake was shared with everyone and we had also bought some drinks tonshare, courtesy of a dear friend, and little sweets to go along. You do as much as your pocket allows right? No matter how little, he was really happy and Jgirl was happy too. Mission accomplished!

Next, we dropped them off at a child friendly restaurant which is one of his favorite ones and usually they sing and drum for you if it’s your birthday! Their grandma graciously offered to stay with them at the restaurant rather than at home as previously agreed. So we were able to attend the function. Thank God grandma is still around, though she’s leaving by the end of this month, March. I keep wondering how I will cope when she travels back home! I will then face the reality of being a mother of two!! She’s stayed with us since Jgirl was born!! She has been so helpful and we really appreciate her. Please thank her for me in the comment section so I can show her πŸ™‚

That is how the 28th of February, 2021 went! We got back home after the gig at about 8:30pm, usually they sleep around 8pm or earlier, sometimes, they waited up till we got back and I was able to call back those who had previously called to wish him well on his birthday!

Thank you for reading this far, I am happy that despite he came earlier than planned and only weighed 1.6kgs, he is a healthy and smart boy. Super intelligent and always has a million of questions to ask every time. He has me running to google almost all the time.

Shout out if you are a mother of a preemie! I’m a mother of two preemies, one and 33 weeks and the other at 34 weeks!! I am grateful to God for His mercies. If you currently have a premature baby, please encourage yourself! He or she will grow and be okay by God’s grace. JBoy spent 4 weeks in hospital, here is the link to his birth story https://oluseungsc.biz/2020/10/11/gynaecologist-visit-or-delivery/ and an extra 10 days when he contracted Adenovirus, what’s thatπŸ€·β€β™€οΈ We are thankful and so grateful to God for keeping him.

Thank you once again for stopping by. Do have a lovely day. Keep well. Stay safe. Smile often. Take care of yourself and be happy! As much as you can. Bye for nowπŸ‘‹

Happy birthday dear daughter from mom

Hi, I hope you are well and keeping safe. I am well and am super excited today because it is my daughter’s birthday! It feels like yesterday when she came into our lives. We are so grateful and know that we are blessed because she is such a great blessing.

Picture from my device

Here is a link to my birthing experience with her that I shared a few weeks ago, you can read here How JGirl was born~ Baby #2. Like I said in the post, I spent three weeks in hospital due to high level of protein in my urine and high blood pressure and extra swollen feet and face. It was not an easy experience but here we are today!!

She is hale and hearty. She is healthy, eats almost everything we offer her with two exceptions, eggs and cake. Yes, she doesn’t like cakes, we still tried it today from the carrot cake and red velvet cupcakes we had, she refused the slightest taste of it 😊 She loves singing and dancing. She has started speaking in sentences for example she says “don’t do that” or “let’s go outside” though she’s thriving with two word sentences. She is very helpful, gets a napkin when something spills and knows how to ask for her milk, clearly. She also knows how request for chocolate milk, calls it “kaka milk”.

Photo from my device

It is a new chapter for her and for us. A new chapter where she will speak more clearly thus expressing herself better. Already, she has a way of communicating with us. I remember on Saturday, I offered her a bottle of milk from her bottle and she tried to drink and shook her head, I thought she wanted kaka milk but she didn’t say it. I turned the milk into kaka milk with the same bottle but she still didn’t want it. She would try to drink and shake her head. So I thought to myself that she wasn’t really ready for it and I went back to what I was hen she came to me, gave her bottle to me and said “mummy, drink” and when I tried to suck from the bottle, nothing came out. Apparently, the bottle was blocked. I am still amazed at how we figured out a what to make me realize what was wrong. She is very intelligent and has a great level of understanding.

You are blessed my baby girl, you are for signs and wonders and your name will be great. We had a simple day, indoors. We took lots of pictures for memories and then we look forward to the next celebration. We are very grateful and really thankful for good health, everything else will fall into place with time.

Thank you for stopping by and for reading this quick post. Keep well, be safe, smile as much as you can and be kind, the world needs more of that. Bye for now πŸ‘‹

How to write a personal statement- university application

Hello, I hope you are well and keeping safe. I am well and staying indoors as much as possible. This post will be about how to write a personal statement. I have found that students keep asking me the same questions over and over and I find myself explaining over and over again. I also find that “please ma’am, how do I write a personal statement?” and “how many pages do I need to write?” are the top two questions that they ask so I will address those two questions with this post.

What is a personal statement? A personal statement is a statement that is personal to you. Jokes. Well, not entirely a joke because a personal statement is an essay or a write up about you describing yourself to a potential employer or an admissions officer at a university. In this case, I will write about writing a personal statement to support your university application. A personal statement gives more information about you, what you have achieved so far in your academic life and how the achievements fit into the program you are applying for. It is an opportunity to give the admissions team more insight about you, your plans and explain your choice of program, university and country to them.

There are different types of personal statements and specific ones specific to a particular program such as for Law degree or Medicine, one might need to go more in depth especially at a postgraduate level where the student would need to share more about their work experience and all. However, generally, a personal statement shouldn’t be more than one page. Ideally, one page is fine. I have had some undergraduate applicants come to me with up to three pages or four pages as their personal statement. From experience, I personally don’t have the patience to read that many pages and I don’t have to go through thousands of them so I imagine that admission officers definitely won’t have that time either. So I always suggest to them to keep it short and simple! All their points should be summarised into one page with just five paragraphs. The paragraphs should answer the following questions.

Paragraph 1: Who are you?

Here, it is expected that you introduce yourself however you feel is best but in a way that allows the reader have a clear picture of who you are. After a brief introduction of yourself, you also need to share your academic achievements and highest qualification. Write about your awards and everything you can brag about. If you were a prefect, write about it, best student in your set, put in there in a well articulated format. Have you done any volunteer jobs during/after high school? Write about it. The tip is to introduce yourself and then write about the best things about your education so far and all other academic achievements and experience you have had so far.

Paragraph 2: What are you applying to study?

What are you applying to study? How does it fit into what you have previously done before? Did you volunteer at your uncle’s company and that got you interested in studying business administration or you are very good at numbers and would like to study accounting or statistics? Do you find that you enjoy taking care of people and are interested in studying nursing for that reason? Try to explain clearly why you have decided to study what you have decided to study and what you hope to achieve by getting that knowledge.

Paragraph 3: Why the particular country?

Okay, so at this point, I’m going to have to say that I’m not a geography expert but thanks to Google, I know that there are 197 countries in the world. So why are you choosing this particular country? Is it because of their education system or because they are believed to be more friendly towards international students? Do your research about your country of choice and write your findings in this paragraph. For you to want to leave your country of origin/residence to another country, you must surely know why, right?

Paragraph 4: Why the particular university?

Again, Google is my friend and it lets me know that there are about 25000 universities all around the world so again, why are you choosing this university? Just like the previous paragraph, do your research about the institution. Read about their rankings, their awards, reviews about them and make the university feel good that you have chosen them. Let them know how their course content matches exactly what you want to learn, let them know that you like their sports facility and consider it as a plus for you while making your choice, just do your research about the university/college and match the points to your study needs.

Paragraph 5: What are your plans after your study?

What do you plan to do after your studies? Do you plan to go back home after your studies and use your knowledge to develop your father’s company? Did you receive a scholarship where you need go give back to the company that sponsored your education by working there? Do you plan to apply for your postgraduate degree immediately after your undergraduate degree? Whatever your plans are, write them here. Let them see how the knowledge you plan to gain will be used once you are done with your studies. Do not forget to read over and proofread over and over again so as not to leave any errors in your write up.

With this format to guide you, I believe you will find it easier to write your personal statement and make it as perfect as possible and speak clearly to the admission officer. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or if you would like me to have a look at your personal statement. My email address is contact@oluseungsc.biz and I will be happy to go through it for you. Thank you for stopping by. Be safe. Be happy. Until next time, bye for now πŸ‘‹

Study Abroad-new visa alert story

Hello, how are you doing, I hope you are well, and keeping safe. How is work? How is business? I am okay. Just glad that another Friday is here! I get to rest and send more time with my family. I also would get a chance to write and work on some projects for my clients. This week, I got a new visa alert! This student is special to me because I had empathy for her and her situation. She applied to study an Engineering program at Postgraduate level and needed to be on campus asap! One because there were practical courses she need to be there for and two because everyone else was already on campus so she felt like she was missing out a lot by not being there.

Normally when I get a student assigned to me, I ask them how they plan to fund their studies and immediately begin to let them know the embassy requirements for their study visa in terms of financial proof. That way, they start planning to make sure all is order. However, with this one, she was referred to me, through the company I work for, by a university representative of where she applied to. She was stuck. Her bank statement didn’t meet up. So she couldn’t get her CAS letter. I then set up a meeting with her and then had a long call with her to explain what was really required and other things she needed like the TB test and all. She got the bank account sorted but we needed it to mature for 28 days! That seemed like 28 years to her but we waited. There are some situations in life where one just has to wait. When we applied for CAS, she was told that due to exchange rate, she was short by 168GBP. I am sure you can imagine how she felt! I had to think on the spot for a quick solution, we surely couldn’t wait another 28 days. I spoke to the university and suggested that she paid the difference towards her tuition fee rather than into her bank account to avoid the wait. That worked out and she got her CAS.

Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

Next was the actual visa application. She rushed and put in the application, didn’t really check with me and made some errors that could no longer be changed as she had already proceeded to the payment stage. It was either she canceled and start over or applied like that. I suggested that she write a letter, called an addendum, to explain the two mistakes to the visa officer. She did that and then we started another waiting period. After 3 weeks, she received an email to inform her that a decision had been made and she could collect. She went there and her passport couldn’t be found! Yes, missing passport. She went again after 2 days, still nothing and was told she would receive a call when the passport was found. Anyway, it took almost two weeks before she finally received her passport with her study visa!!! She was really excited. It was a “victory at last” situation. Now we still have to wait till when we get an all clear information that she can travel to the UK for her studies. There has been conflicting information and we think it’s better to wait.

That was quite an experience for me as a study advisor, never experienced anything like that but I’m really glad that we got the desired outcome. I’ve come to find out and accept that I don’t give up on anything. I prefer to keep trying until it works out. There was a visa situation where the student had been rejected twice before being referred to us. With the looks of the situation, it seemed pointless to assist and no one wanted it. I took it up and she got the visa and is now in her second year in the US.

Photo by Hello I’m Nik 🎞 on Unsplash

If you need a study advisor or know someone who does , feel free to contact me by email contact@oluseungsc.biz and I will offer a free consultation to get the process started. Thank you for stopping by. Please leave a comment of questions if you have any. Until next time, eat well, rest well, drink lots of water, smile and be happy. Bye for now

I’ve hit 50 Followers!!!

Hello, I hope you are well and keeping safe. How is the week going? How is work? How is business? Thank you for stopping by. The week is going well and there is a new visa alert that I will post about soon so I’ll say the week is going well. I have some GTE forms to assist students with this week. Never mind, this is not a work post, it is a happy postπŸ’ƒπŸ’ƒπŸ’ƒπŸ’ƒ

This is a quick one to say thank you! I’ve reached the 50 followers milestone and I couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you for stopping by, for reading my posts, for liking my posts and for following my blog! I really appreciate it. It is a great encouragement to me.

Screenshot from my phone

I started a while back but only just recently actively picked up writing more frequently. It is what I enjoy doing and wonder why I stayed away for this long. You know what they say, “when it’s time, it’s time”! (not sure whose quote that is though). I guess it’s time. If there’s anything you have been trying to do, why not give it a shot? Start somewhere, you’ll be amazed.

I will keep the posts coming, about study abroad and everything that comes with it, experiences at work and at home, though they tend to be one and the same most of the time because I work from home and maybe also post some random thoughts along the line.

Thank you once again, until next time. Keep well. Rest when you need to. Pace yourself. Eat right. Be kind. And best of all, be happy! Enjoy the rest of the week. Bye for now πŸ‘‹

7 tips for Homeschooling while working from home

Hello I hope you are well and are keeping safe. I hope you had a good weekend. I did. Mostly resting. It was an absolute necessity for my body to rest! This is a brand new week and I am grateful. The weeks seem to be flying this year or is it me? Well, like it or not, this is another week of working from home plus homeschooling the children. For some, it has been the norm for them before Covid but for some, it was brought upon us and we have to find ways to cope with it. For those of us who started homeschooling due to Covid, we definitely need to find ways to adjust and make it all work out nicely for ourselves and for the children. Working out nicely means being productive while working from home, here’s a link to my previous post about how to be productive working from home https://oluseungsc.biz/2021/01/11/how-to-be-productive-working-from-home/ and the children getting educated while studying from home. It has been close to a year since I started homeschooling my five year old son, almost six, and I find these 7 tips quite helpful.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

1. Planning ahead

Apart from planning meals for the day, which I believe most moms do, planning for homeschooling will afford you the opportunity to prepare tasks for your child/children to do. By Sunday evening, all tasks should have been assigned, on paper. This way, you would be able to assign different tasks for them to do and mix it up so that they will not get bored. Allow time for exercise as well, I feel like we need to make an extra effort to achieve that but if it has been planned ahead, then it makes if easier to fall into. This brings to my next point. Routines before actual schoolwork.

2. Routines

Routines are great for children, and adults too! Once children get used to routines, it makes things easier for them and they automatically know what next to do. For my son, once he wakes up and says his prayers, he comes to say good morning to us and then goes to do his couch chores (basically tidying up the living room~ I try to leave one or two things lying around for him). He then brushes his teeth, picks out his clothes and asks for help to take a bath. Next is breakfast. And then, school time! If he mixes any of this up, he mentions it because he has become used to a particular way of doing things. And if he plays with his sister in between, it’s okay, it’s all love.

Children will be soothed by routine, structure and normality. Getting them back to routine is typically considered good- Catherine Cooks

Photo by Laura Chouette on Unsplash

3. Schedules

In this context, schedules are the actual school work and activities cut out into different chunks of time. However, I find that flexible schedules work better for us. He starts at 8:30am and ends around 1pm. A sample of his schedule is

8:30-8:45am~ exercise (something we make up or watch on TV)

8:45-9:00am~ teachermommy shows him what he should do for the next two hours

9:00-11am~ he does his assigned work which combines using an abacus to do sums, activity books and some coloring

11:00-11:30am~ educational TV time

11:30-12:00pm~ Lunch and we squeeze in a short walk when possible

12:00-1:00pm~ reading time. It is my break time so we do his readings together.

His schedules vary slighty each day and I change the subjects or what he has to do. I found some activity books very useful because they combine spelling and math and coloring activities, all in one book! Pictures of some pages attached. One thing to note, is to pace yourself and pace your child. Everyday will not be the same.

4. Lunch/Short walks

Fitting in lunch break to the same time helps as it gives me a chance to have a quick look at his work so far and also spend time with him. If he were at his actual school, this would be the time to play with friends and interact so this time, we have a quick snack and then go for a short walk. Most times we walk for 10 minutes just for an outdoor experience. We also play ball when we can’t for go a walk. Then we do some reading. He loves reading and actually started reading before age 4 so I let him do the reading and ask him questions to make sure he comprehend the story. After the reading session, he gets to have time for free play.

Photo by Sven Brandsma on Unsplash

5. Designate work space/classroom

I mentioned this in one if my previous posts. It helps s great deal to have dedicated work spaces. He has his table and chair corner in his room for school time. And I have my office desk in my room. We currently live in a small apartment so those spaces have to work and they to! Once I’m in my space, my brain knows it’s time to work and same for him. He keeps his books and pencil case there and easily gets into school work mode once there. He calls that corner his classroom.

6. Take it easy

All these tips did not work out on day one so please take things easy. Pace yourself and encourage yourself. It is not as easy. It takes been intentional about it to actually make it work. Pat yourself on the back for your success with it, even if you think it is not much success. You will get there and will be surprised to see how easier homeschooling will become for you and your child .

7. Plan for the following day

Yes, go back to step one and plan tasks and activities for the following day. With you being the one to teach your child school work, you would have noticed where he needs extra support. Focus on that. For my son, I have found that he needs extra help with writing so I give him tasks that encourage him to write and master the skill.

These tips have proven to be helpful and I believe it should help in one way or another. Combining working from home with helping the children learn from home at the same time requires mental effort and patience. It is doable. We are in it together and have to find ways to cope and adjust. What tips help you cope better with work from home and homeschooling? Feel free to share. Thank you for stopping by. Please like, share and leave a comment. I would like to read from you. Keep well. Stay safe. Be kind. Exercise. And have a blessed week! Bye for now πŸ‘‹

Easy ideas of how to spend your weekend

Hello, I hope you are well. Thanks for stopping by. How’s the weekend going? Restful or full of activities? Well, mine has been restful. I’ve been having some headaches for the past few days and thought it might be my body telling me that I need to rest a bit. It was a busy week at work and it keeps getting busier! This makes me always grateful for weekends! Even though some students and parents reach out to me during the weekend, it’s not as much and I don’t feel that work-mode pressure. Today, being Saturday, I decided to sleep as much as I could but couldn’t sleep much. I find it difficult to sleep during the day. So I spent it relaxing and looking for some old pictures for a post I am writing about. Anyways, by 4pm, I decided to make chinchin with JBoy. Yes, chinchin πŸ™‚ So the idea for today are rest and chinchin making!

Chinchin is one of the snacks from back home. It makes me miss my sister so much because we used to make it together a lot and also sold them to university students who lived on a campus closen to where we lived at the time. Once, we had a student knock on our door at 10pm asking for chinchin because their roommate was ill and had no appetite. She hadn’t eaten anything for days and requested for our chinchin! We felt so good and actually gave it out for free that night. When she felt much better a few days later, she came to thank us for the chinchin, lol. For my final year of high school, I made chinchin as a snack on my menu for my final year exam in the Food and Nutrition subject. I have so many fond memories about chinchin over the years. I also sold it when I got here and still do, upon request. If you don’t know what chinchin is, you might be wondering what it is.

Chinchin dough being cut up

Chinchin dough rolled up

Chinchin is made of flour, sugar, margarine, eggs and milk. Some add grated or ground nutmeg to it for an authentic taste. All ingredients are mixed into a dough, rolled and cut up into tiny pieces and then fried. JBoy is used to me making it and totally loves it. So, as I couldn’t meet up with his baker baker date yesterday as my body was super tired, I made up for it today with chinchin. He was my “not so little” helper and we had fun making it. One thing is that we both don’t like mess but this was a delicious mess and we went through it, together! It is a really easy snack idea that improves bonding with children and a delicious treat at the same time.

Ready to eat chinchin

So, off I go to have family movie time with chinchin and cool juice. I am thankful that I was able to make something with JBoy, thankful for family, thankful that I feel better and thankful that I have the ability to put my thoughts, reflections and experiences into writing. How is your weekend going? Do enjoy the rest of it and relax if you need to! Take a minute and relax. Take a deep breath! Thank you once again for stopping by. Bye for nowπŸ‘‹

N.B~ pictures taken with my phone, so won’t be the quality of a professional cameraπŸ˜‡

Study Abroad- What are some of the benefits of studying abroad?

Hello, how are you doing today? I hope you are well and keeping safe. How was the work week or business week? My work week went by so quickly! I can’t believe it’s Friday already but TGIFπŸ’ƒπŸ’ƒ

Reflecting about my week at work, I noticed that we keep getting more enquiries even more than we used to! Every student still wants to study abroad and on campus! This means studying abroad is beneficial to them. I know there are many great benefits of studying abroad and the top one that comes to mind is seeing the world! Yes, you get to see the world because on campus, students get to meet other students who left their countries to study abroad, just like they did. That way, they get to meet and engage with one another and learn different cultures. That, in my view, is way better than studying in one country all your life.

Also, when students study abroad, they tend to become more independent and learn to do things for themselves. They see students who work and study at the same time and think to themselves, “I can do this too and won’t need to ask my parents for money every time.” What I normally say to parents is to have enough money tuition and living expenses for one year as required by the university and visa embassies so that their children will not feel pressured to take up a job to meet those needs. However, what I’ve realised is that students get there and get jobs that can cover some of their living expenses at the very least. Some students with rich parents use the money for extra stuff and some students use it to support their parents in order to help them reduce the cost.

One more benefit, before I go and try do baker baker with JBoy and JGirl, is learning a new language or honing a language skill. I’ve had students come to me to say they would like to go to a country where this language is spoken or that language because they would like to inprove their skills. I studied French at Diploma level many years ago and even though I’ve studied up to Master’s level, I still wish to study or maybe live in a French speaking country so I can get to actually use my language skills there. I still try to use it every now and then but it can’t be like using the language skills to actually buy something or have a conversation with others.

Would you let your child study abroad? If yes, why? If not, why not? I’ve spoken with different parents and have gotten different insights about study abroad which are all valid. I’ll like to read from you and know what you think about it.

I have to go. Do have a wonderful weekend. Keep well. Eat healthy. Drink lots of water. Exercise. Have a good time in your own way. Be kind. Thank you for stopping by. Feel free to like, share and follow to encourage me. And if you need tips about study abroad or anything or have questions, please reach out to by email, I will be very glad to read from you. Bye for now πŸ‘‹

How to be productive working from home

Hello, I hope you are doing well. How was the weekend? Was it restful? Was it busy?

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I know people are different and react to things differently and also cope in various ways. Working from home has been in existence before Covid but used to be seen as convenient jobs and doesn’t pay as much as work in the office. With Covid came hard lockdown situations in which every company that could function from home had their staff start working remotely. It was an unplanned situation in which people had to device ways to cope with working from home.

For me, when I started my current job in 2018, I started working from home but had to go out about two to three times a week to attend events such as career fairs, meetings with high school counselors, face to face consultations with parents and students and mini fairs I organized for university representatives who visited from time to time. As the agency I work for has partnership with over 250 universities, I had to attend to so many of them on a monthly basis. I sometimes had to host about three universities and take them on high school tours so students could meet with them and ask all the questions they had. All these events, combined, meant that my work from home was not 100% work from home however, I did my follow ups, university applications and everything else from home.

With Covid though, things changed. All prior scheduled physical events were cancelled and I had to work from home 100% which meant back to back meetings. All those meetings I had to go for at different schools still went on- on my laptop. University representatives who couldn’t fly down, organized several zoom sessions. At some point, it felt like my work had tripled and even though I was no longer going out, I had so much work to do that just wouldn’t end. I was constantly tired, out of breath from non stop meetings and phone conversations. I think students and their parents also felt like I was home and should be able to pick my call and answer their questions 24/7. I was also struggling to keep my home together, couldn’t keep up with meal times, couldn’t clean as frequently as I used to and knew that I had to do something. I had to take some urgent steps to put myself in a better place. Below are the steps I took.

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  1. To-Do List: I realized that I had to focus on my to do list and put only things that were really important and couldn’t be moved to the following day. It simplified my life a lot. It is easy for us to think we can do this and that but are they really important or urgent?
  2. Dedicate a work space: having a section of your home aa your office space can make such a huge difference. It did for me. I won’t lie, I used to carry my laptop with me every where and worked everywhere~ on the dining, on the couch, on my kitchen table and even on the bed. I thought that was easier and thought I was enjoying working from home by being able to work anywhere around the house. I found out that actually worsened things for me. What I did then was to bring out my study table I used during my Honors and Masters programs about 6 years ago, dust it off and polished it nicely and put it in a corner in my bedroom. Yes, bedroom as that was the most quiet place in the house- it’s a really small apartment so I don’t have a study or a spare room to use. Also, it is a room where JBoy knows that he has to knock before entering and when he opens the door, he peeks and asks if I’m in a meeting or if he can ask me something quickly. That worked for me like magic and made my life easier. When I got to that table, I knew it was work time.
  3. Pace yourself: Another thing I had to do was to pace myself. I no longer RSVP’D yes to all video meetings and conferences. Rather, I asked if they could be rescheduled or if the session would run again on another date. When I did this, I realized that those on the other side of the screen are humans like me and simply set a date that worked for us both. My calendar events became reduced and clearer. I was able to select meetings that needed me to RSVP yes to such as fixed meetings and the likes.
  4. Strictly 9-5: I kept my work hours strictly 9-5. I no longer worked outside of those hours except in some very rare occasions that I just had to assist a student after hours. I always made sure to let them know that I had closed for work but willing to assist. What I found was that if I said to a student that I had closed for the day but would assist you, they end up saying that they would contact me in the morning. So I made it a habit and believe when I say this, most have really reduced reaching out to me after 5 and when they do they start with “hi ma’am, I know you have closed for today but…..” or “sorry to bother you after work….” It worked like magic. My work is mostly done through emails and phone/whatsapp so it’s hard to ignore some messages and I prefer to send a quick reply to messages like “why don’t we talk about this at 9am tomorrow ” and they get the message. This step really helped.
  5. Break time: I no longer took my break at some point because everything got muddled up and some calls ran into another meeting and would feel lucky to get a sandwich in or some juice. I stayed being intentional about my break time and made sure to take 30-45 minutes at least on break doing something totally unrelated to work. Maybe just read a novel or drink rooibos tea or play games on my phone.
  6. To-do list again: just before 5 and before closing my laptop, I did a to-do list to help me remember the emails I wanted to start with or students that I wanted to submit their applications the following day. I made sure I was clear on what needed to be done the following day and also gave allowances for any urgent situation that may pop up.

These steps have helped me a great deal and I believe they might work for someone else too. It has made me more productive at my job and I feel less stressed than I was before. I get jobs done more efficiently and my students and parents love me for my job or more like love the work that I do for them ☺

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What has worked for you since you started working fully from home? Are there any steps you took that made you more productive or merely just simplified your work life? Please leave a comment so we can learn more from you.

Thank you for stopping by. Keep well, stay safe. Be kind. Laugh often. Until next time, bye for now πŸ‘‹