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Mustapha Sow

BA Journalism and Media

When Mustapha Sow saw an advert for Birkbeck on a bus his attention was caught by the words 'flexible' and 'evening'. He went to the website and discovered that Birkbeck was also part of the University of London and felt that it would be the perfect place for him to study for the degree that he had always wanted.

Mustapha says: 'The evening teaching is incredibly important to me. I had always wanted a degree since I had to leave Sierra Leone nine years ago. Without the flexibility that Birkbeck offered me, I would never have had a chance of getting a degree.'

Mustapha’s employers were supportive when he said that he wanted to study at university. They changed his working hours so that he would be able to arrive at lectures on time. His family were also supportive, despite initial reservations about how he would combine full-time work with part-time study. 'When they saw how passionate I was they realised that I would manage it,' says Mustapha, 'then they supported me whole-heartedly.'

Working and studying has been a challenge, but Mustapha has found that both the students in his classes and the tutors have been very supportive.  He says: 'There is a great atmosphere in the classes. I feel very comfortable with everyone. The tutors are also very supportive. Sometimes you email a tutor at the last minute asking to meet with them, and they always make the time to meet you. You really couldn’t ask for more.'

Although he still has a year to go before graduating, Mustapha already feels that the knowledge he has gained at Birkbeck is helping him in his work. He says: 'The way I carry myself at work and the way I talk has changed. I even surprise myself sometimes. I’ve changed my style and I take more pride in my written work, even in emails to colleagues. Birkbeck has already helped me a lot.'

Mustapha comments: 'When I started at Birkbeck I was close to being academically good, then I got really good, and now I feel that I am close to being at my best. Birkbeck can match your ambition and help you to achieve your goals.'

'Back in Africa if you don’t have the right background you don’t stand a chance of going to university. People always say that Manchester United's stadium – Old Trafford – is the theatre of dreams. For me, Birkbeck is the actual theatre for realizing dreams.'

Mustapha concludes: 'I would recommend Birkbeck today, tomorrow and every time. Birkbeck has given me a chance and I am most grateful.'

Learn more about our journalism courses.

'I would recommend Birkbeck today, tomorrow and every time.'