My name is Lekisha Ernest and I am from Dominica. I was anxious and excited when I found out about Cranfield University and couldn’t wait to apply. I applied to Cranfield University to study the Food Chain Systems MSc as soon as I completed my undergraduate degree. I was delighted when I got accepted soon after applying. My journey getting to Cranfield was indeed a challenge.  As much as I was excited, I found myself in doubt, whether or not Cranfield was the right place for me. I needed to be sure that the modules taught would be applicable to my home country. After all, I come from a tropical region. I attended one of the Agrifood webinar sessions which was very helpful, it explained the modules, group project, thesis and what was expected. After the session, the lecturers kept communicating, addressing all my concerns. At this moment I couldn’t wait for September. I was advised by admissions about the various scholarship opportunities and thankfully I was successful with a commonwealth scholarship. The Commonwealth scholarship is highly competitive and requires you to think a lot about the chosen school and programme. I had to justify why Cranfield University was excellent for the area of study I was going into and how the course would be a benefit to my country.

Here I am today, having a blast at Cranfield! I’ve made new friends. I must admit, it is a tough journey, but the lecturers are very supportive.  They are approachable and humble. The module contents are relatable and easy to understand and all the lecturers offer further assistance for module information.

Team work, preparing Fungi samples for growing

The best part is the formative feedback for the assignments thus far, it was helpful in understanding what was required for the assignment and improvements. The topics discussed so far have been interactive. The course directors are responsive to emails and assisted immediately in solving our problems.  So far, we went on two field trips, one to G’s Farm and the other to Heygates Flour Mill. They were both interesting and informative. The goal of these field trips was to give us an idea of the various technologies implemented by these industrial companies and how they are constantly evolving. We got the opportunity to see how food is being produced on a large scale and also some of the key challenges these companies are facing. We now have a greater appreciation for the various systems in which food undergoes before it is consumed, “from farm to fork”. In my opinion all the modules were excellent, however the Agrifood innovation module was my favourite. Three days of this module was spent at McDonald’s headquarters in London. The discussions were convened by the Global Food Safety Director at McDonald’s together with staff and people involved in the industry. This was a life changing event for me. Previous Cranfield University graduates attended to share their career paths and current positions within the food industry which was very inspiring. In addition, McDonald’s allowed us to explore their breakfast and lunch menu for the three days with no limit at no cost. Strictly hard work but unlimited fun. These memories will resonate with me for life.

Finally, I am thankful and grateful to be at Cranfield University today. I am also thankful for the commonwealth commission for granting me this huge opportunity to pursue my dreams. I know that without this scholarship, I would not have been able to attend. I am currently enrolled as a student ambassador, representing my department. In this position, I tell the good news by sharing my experiences with students across the world interested in attended Cranfield University. I receive a monthly stipend in which I am grateful for. So far, the modules were as expected; challenging but rewarding. Soon, I will begin my group project, in which I will be given an opportunity to solve a real-life industrial problem. I hope that the upcoming months will be inspiring and motivating as the previous months. I also hope to continue building on my personal skills as an individual here at Cranfield University.

Left is my friend From South Korea and right is my friend from China

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