“Unity, they say, is strength”.
This is the best description of the experience of the past ten weeks has taught us. Naomi remembers sitting in her final module and receiving the email that she had got her first choice to work with the IMAGE project. The project was aimed to address waste arising from man’s basic need – food. To tackle this rising issue for an SME in Northampton, a group of five dedicated, brilliant, and culturally diverse students from Cranfield University was formed. Shittu, a Nigerian, was blessed with the company of a Spaniard, a Briton (Naomi), an Icelander, and an Indian. Five students and one challenging project; what could be more interesting?
“Though we hadn’t met three out of four of the other members of our group, we were excited at what lay ahead. It was also a joy to be part of a team, where we shared laughter, frustration and supported each other. The group project is definitely a unique part of Cranfield University’s MScs.
Over the next ten weeks, we as individuals and a team, were challenged in many ways. We hadn’t really experienced a project like this before but we all sat in our first meeting and threw ourselves at organising a project.”
Naomi laughs as she recalls the group bravely climbed into her car and she drove us to Northampton to meet the café staff, get to know them and familiarise ourselves with the new environment. The next nine weeks flew past. We’re not sure we could recall many singular events but we do remember copious amounts of laughter (apologies to everyone else in Kings Norton Library), some (inevitable) frustration but a lot of learning about different cultures and of each other.
The most amazing thing for us was how unity amidst diversity played out to be the most important factor that contributed to the success of the group project. In addition to the knowledge and soft skills gained from colleagues on other course modules, we cannot but marvel at the richness of cultural heritage of our colleagues. For instance, Shittu was enlightened that in Britain, keeping to time is considered very important; an average Indian prefers a hot spicy food to a non-spicy one; the whole population of Iceland is less than half a million; and a Spaniard loves the flamenco genre of music and dance.
“We’re not going to pretend it’s all fun and games because we all are here to get MScs, but it’s not as painful as everyone expects it to be. Maybe we got lucky with our group and had the best experience but talking to other groups, overall, they enjoyed themselves just as much. The exhibition day and barbeque is evidence of this.
Despite the rain, everyone was in high spirits as two-thirds of our MSc was complete and now we have even more friends. We will truly miss not seeing their faces every day, but they have not escaped us yet! We’re now looking forward to our next few holidays which we have not broken to them yet.”
Shittu has admitted that if he had the opportunity to do another master’s degree in the UK, he would choose Cranfield University again because of the Group Project; it has blessed us with memories and relationships that will stand the test of time.