In the run up to International Women’s Day, one family from Nigeria discuss their academic and professional ambitions after studying together at Bolton University.
Boluwatife, Toluwani and Abimbola Oyesola have more in common than just their surname. The mother and two daughters are all students at Bolton University Undergraduate & Postgraduate Courses | University of Bolton, having each travelled to the UK separately to pursue her individual goals. Thanks to its student-centric approach and friendly campus, Bolton University has become more than just a place to study: it has become home.
Bolton University celebrates women’s achievements year-round, but on 8th March the Bolton family will be shouting especially loudly for this inspiring trio of international students, who reflect the family values upheld at Bolton and the aspirations for women everywhere.
Paving the Way
Accountancy graduate and PhD student, Boluwatife, was the first member of the Oyesola family to arrive in Bolton from Nigeria eight years ago. As an undergraduate, Boluwatife went on to become president of the Students Union (SU), establishing herself as an inspirational female and a brilliant ambassador for the international student community.
“My role as SU president gave me the opportunity to meet like-minded people all over the United Kingdom. Personally, there was a lot of character building, and I was able to develop myself as a person and serve more people. I was able to understand the different needs of various student groups and find ways to bring them together.”
Alongside her Accountancy PhD research, Boluwatife currently works 14 hours a week as International Student Community Coordinator. This role involves the provision of academic and pastoral support to international students, ensuring they are aware of the full extent of support available to them at Bolton.
Having played such an integral part in the University family, Boluwatife’s active involvement in campus life has continued to benefit staff and students, since she decided to continue her PhD at Bolton.
Bolton’s accountancy course ranked second in the UK for teaching quality, two years running, by The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide. Courses are designed to help accountancy students gain the relevant knowledge and skills needed to succeed in a wide variety of financial and management roles.
The accountancy course at the University of Bolton also has Gold partner status with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), which means students are guaranteed the highest quality teaching support and mentoring throughout the course.
“I have always wanted to be an academic and it just made sense after my role as the Student Union President that I would pursue my academic career here. I had offers from other universities, but my heart was always in Bolton.”
International Footsteps to Follow
Toluwani came to Bolton to study Medical Biology, having been supported through the International Student application by her older sister.
The University of Bolton has several dedicated facilities in place to help students arriving from overseas to settle into UK life as quickly as possible. For prospective students from countries within Africa, Bolton’s Africa Branch Office in Nigeria is responsible for advising and supporting students through their applications, providing a speedy response to enquiries and a quick turnaround of admissions.
The contact details for the Africa Branch Office, the South Asia Branch Office, the Middle East, and the Central Asia Branch Office, can be found on the Bolton University website, along with guidance for Chinese applicants.
As well as the chance to live and study alongside her sister, Bolton’s friendly campus and smaller-than-average class sizes were attractive to Toluwani, who wanted “to be able to focus in lectures.”
Getting Clear about her Career
Toluwani’s BSc in Medical Biology is accredited by The Royal Society of Biology and offers an in-depth understanding of human biology from a medical perspective. The course is designed to equip students with the skills and understanding needed for a career in biomedical science or prepare them for further study, including graduate-level entry into Medicine or Dentistry.
In Toluwani’s case, it is dermatology that she hopes to specialise in. As a future medic, Toluwani has been following the news that a £20 million investment from the UK government’s levelling up fund will go into a new College of Medical Science in Bolton, as part of a transformation in how NHS staff are trained.
“The development of the medical school has definitely sparked my interest in continuing my studies at Bolton University. I am open to experiencing other environments, but studying at Bolton has been a great experience.”
The third member of the Oyesola family to join Bolton University was Boluwatife and Toluwani’s mother, Abimbola. A journalist in Nigeria, Abimbola is now studying for a Masters degree in Visual Journalism and Storytelling.
“I love Bolton for its quiet and serenity. One can easily move around and get whatever you need within a short walking distance. The town is also relatively safe compared to some other big cities around.”
Motivated to broaden her skillset after working in Nigeria for printed publications, Abimbola is now developing her digital capabilities through her Masters course. Combining photography, video, reporting, writing, and multimedia, the Visual Journalism and Storytelling MA course offers maximum agility for telling non-fiction stories across platforms with the greatest impact. Bolton University’s experienced and industry-engaged staff support students to gain essential skills for a career in this exciting and evolving field.
Considering her future plans, Abimbola said:
“After completing my studies at Bolton, I believe I will have more opportunities to progress my career anywhere in the world. This is a relatively new field, which means there could be more opportunities for me to broaden my horizons.”
The mum and daughters spend time together at weekends, including attending church. But – as is typical of the ambitious women at Bolton – each member of the family is deeply focused on her course and future career.
Toluwani spends any time she has left after studying, socialising with people she’s met through her course and her trampoline club.
Connecting to the Caribbean African Health Network
Inclusion at Bolton is celebrated 365 days a year. As International Women’s Day (IWD) approaches, the Students Union plans to mark the occasion with an event in partnership with the Caribbean African Health Network.
The partnership between Bolton University and CAHN is helping to address health inequalities in Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority communities, challenge race inequality and achieve cultural inclusion for students from the UK and international backgrounds.
As Toluwani sets out on her medical career, the partnership with CAHN will help to support her studies by enhancing the development and delivery of health programmes for future health professionals.
In addition to the 2023 IWD event, CAHN has previously been involved in supporting and promoting activities during Black History Month.
The University of Bolton is actively working to tackle differences in students’ lives caused by racism, poverty, and discrimination. Their mission echoes that of International Women’s Day:
“Imagine a gender-equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated.” – IWD 2023